fbpx Fundamentals of Negotiation Analysis | Harvard Kennedy School
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Brian Mandell

Mohamed Kamal Senior Lecturer in Negotiation and Public Policy

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of negotiation analysis. Being a skillful negotiator is a pre-requisite for creating public value. Analytic and interpersonal negotiation skills are essential for building operational capacity, legitimacy, and support for important policy choices and collective action. To be effective agents of social change -- especially in organizations, enterprises and networks where formal authority is insufficient for advancing policy goals -- policy entrepreneurs must mobilize coalitions across diverse interest groups to negotiate agreements that are acceptable to a broad range of stakeholders. Public managers often face strong resistance from capable and well-resourced adversaries who have a vested interest in the status quo or an outcome counter to the manager's goals. Policy analysts and managers who are able to anticipate barriers to agreement, assess no-agreement alternatives, diagnose incentives and underlying interests, engage in backward mapping and sequencing to build winning coalitions, and know the value of thinking strategically acting opportunistically to re-set the negotiation table, are better-equipped to see their ideas put into action. Through analysis of case studies, students will apply the negotiation-analytic framework to ongoing, real-world negotiation challenges. Specifically, students will examine the structure, context and the role of key stake-holders in a broad range of public policy negotiations, both domestic and international, to diagnose barriers to agreement and opportunities for crafting innovative policy solutions. In weekly negotiation exercises, students will address the challenges of creating and claiming value, managing conflict escalation, and building deal-driving coalitions to generate robust, sustainable agreements. Cumulative, experiential skill-building opportunities will allow students to practice their powers of persuasion, experiment with a variety of tactics and strategies, be exposed to situations involving a shifting mix of cooperation and competition, and face important ethical choices. The exercises will strengthen students' ability to set the negotiating table, manage trade-offs and concessions necessary for agreement, and secure commitment to favorable outcomes. There will be no exemptions, section changes, auditors or cross-registrants permitted in MLD-220M.

Open to MPP1 students only. MPP students will not be allowed to enroll in MLD-222M, which is a very similar course designed for non-MPPs. MLD-220M serves as a prerequisite for MLD-223M (Negotiating Across Differences), and MLD-280 (Advanced Workshop in Multiparty Negotiation and Conflict Resolution). MLD-220M and HLS 2195 (the HLS Negotiation Workshop) may not both be taken for credit.