What are four important tactical tasks for a negotiator in a distributive situation to consider?


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Distributive bargaining or negotiation strategy is employed in many scenarios where only one party can gain an advantage over the other as the resources are fixed and if one gains an upper hand the other automatically loses. In such a scenario, it becomes imperative for the negotiator to use a very sound negotiating strategy employing various types of strategic tactics to gain an advantage over the other party (Shonk, 2019). Some of the most important tactical tasks which negotiators have to consider and employ for gaining maximum value are:

Assessing the opposition party’s resistance point and also their BATNA if possible:

By assessing the market environment or by taking expert opinions, reviewing documentations and other literature regarding the deal, we can try to estimate what the other party’s resistance point is likely to be and find out what their best alternatives are if the negotiation falters. This helps in strategizing while negotiating with the other party (Lewicki, Saunders, & Barry, 2015).

Managing the opposition party’s evaluation of our BATNA, resistance point and overall strategy:

If we take careful steps so as to not reveal much information about our negotiating strategy, it would provide an advantage to us. By only providing relevant information and that too whenever it is absolutely necessary, we can try to conceal our resistance points and our targets (Lewicki, Saunders, & Barry, 2015).

Manage the opposition party’s own perception about their resistance points and negotiation strategy to suit our needs:

To increase the zone of possible agreement, it is crucial to increase their resistance points and also try to change their perceptions regarding the costs of termination. This will help in increasing the zone in which we can negotiate and try to gain maximum returns (Lewicki, Saunders, & Barry, 2015).

Manipulating the costs of scheduling and terminating the negotiations:

By controlling the scheduling of negotiations, like increasing the time between meetings or decreasing, we can gain an advantage by playing to our strengths and not allowing the other party any undue advantage. Another tactical task is that of trying to increase the costs of terminating the negotiation by other party with the help of outsiders or through any disruptive action (Lewicki, Saunders, & Barry, 2015).


- Lewicki, R. J., Saunders, D. M., & Barry, B. (2015). Negotiation: readings, exercises and cases. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

- Shonk, K. (2019). What is Distributive Negotiation? Program on Negotiation. Harvard Law School. USA. Accessed from https://www.pon.harvard.edu/uncategorized/what-is-distributive-negotiation/

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