Negotiation skills are critical to gain support from diverse stakeholders so that change can be implemented. This course introduces students to the theory and practice of negotiation by emphasizing both analytical and interpersonal skills. Analysis is important because negotiators cannot develop promising strategies without a deep understanding of the context of the situation, and the incentives, interests and alternatives of the other parties. Interpersonal skills are important because negotiation is essentially a process of communication, trust building (or breaking), and mutual persuasion. With the aid of case discussions, exercises, films and guest speakers, we will develop a set of conceptual frameworks to help students diagnose barriers to agreement and develop creative strategies to address them. Through participation in negotiation simulations, students will have the opportunity to learn how to prepare effectively, to practice communication and persuasion, and to experiment with a variety of negotiation tactics and strategies to both create and claim value. Throughout the course, students will be challenged to navigate differences in expectations, ethical and cultural norms, power, status, partisan perceptions and attitudes toward risk. We will work to understand diverse perspectives, to reassess and adapt strategies, to give other parties incentives to cooperate, to negotiate effectively as a team, to set up helpful communication processes, and to build trust across boundaries. The goal of the course is to help students be better equipped to anticipate challenges in advance, to expand their conception of "what is possible" in order to develop creative and wise strategies, to build sustainable coalitions to support their goals, and to gain confidence in advocating for themselves and others.
Students must be available for weekly required negotiation simulation sessions. There is no pre-requisite for MLD-223. This course serves as a pre-requisite for MLD-280 (Advanced Workshop in Multiparty Negotiation and Conflict Resolution).