Does the Fisher, Ury Model Work  Dissertation

Excerpt from Dissertation :

Negotiation Skills

A High Impact Negotiations Model: An Answer to the Limitations of the Fisher, Ury Model of Principled Negotiations

This study aims to discover the ways in which blocked negotiations can be overcome by testing the Fisher, Ury model of principled negotiation against one of the researcher's own devising, crafted after studying thousands of negotiation trainees from over 100 multinational corporations on 5 continents. It attempts to discern universal applications of tools, skills, and verbal and non-verbal communication techniques that may assist the negotiator in closing deals with what have been "traditionally" perceived as "difficult people." This study concludes that there are no such "difficult people," but rather only unprepared negotiators. The study takes a phenomenological approach to negotiations, with the researcher immersing himself in the world of negotiation training from 2012-14, for several major multinational corporations, intuiting the failings of the negotiators with whom he comes in contact, drafting and testing his own model for negotiators and testing it over the years. The overwhelming amount of positive feedback encourages the researcher to conclude that the Fisher, Ury model of principled negotiation, though helpful, is flawed in its approach. The researcher asserts that a fundamental understanding of human nature and of human relationships is essential in closing blocked negotiations and elevating one's success rate, and that this fundamental or "deep" understanding can be acquired through the proper training, the avoidance of open questions, and the following of a complete or whole package negotiation model, which incorporates cues gleaned from the "deep" understanding of the ways in which people interact, the possible motives they may have for behavior, a refrain from judgment, and an insistence upon collaboration.

Table of Contents

List of Figures 7

Chapter 1: Introduction 9

Statement of Problem 9

Research Questions 10

Purpose Statement 13

Significance of Study 13

Definition of Terms 15

Limitations of Study 21

Assumptions 22

Organization of Study 23

Summary 23

Chapter 2: Review of Selected Literature 25

Literature Review Collection Procedure 25

History of Research 26

Negotiation Models 28

Objectivity vs. Subjectivity 45

What are the limits of skepticism? 45

What are the differences between the mind and the brain? 45

Importance of Negotiation 48

In Relation to this Study's Research Questions 51

Current Selection Processes 58

Recommended Selection Processes 59

Summary 60

Chapter 3: Methodology 62

Data Analysis Approach 62

Intuiting Solutions to Problems 65

No Closed Questions -- Only Open-Ended Questions 68

Educating the Trainees to Educate Their Negotiating Counterparts

Instructing Trainees on the "Principle" of High Impact Negotiating

Teaching the Principle of "High Impact Negotiations" through

Negotiation Analysis: An Illustrative Exercise 72

High Impact Model of Negotiation 85

Data Collection Method: Active Participation and Interviews

with Participants 86

Why This Approach 87

Data Source Rights of the Participants 87

Legal Issues 88

Summary 88

Chapter 4: Results 90

Overview 90

The Follow-Up Coaching Call 92

A Better Success Rate 106

Summary 107

Chapter 5: Discussion 109

Practical Application of Results 114

Suggestions 116

References 120

List of Figures

Figure 1. Location of Sessions Held


Figure 1a. The percentage of participant reactions to the phenomenon of blocked negotiations when using the Fisher, Ury model of Principled

Negotiations only 91

Figure 2. The success rate for participant negotiators using the Fisher,

Ury model of Principled Negotiations in real-world negotiations,



Figure 2a. Negotiators' reactions, part 1 95

Figure 2b. Negotiators' reactions, part 2 96

Figure 3. The percentage of participant reactions to the phenomenon of blocked negotiations when using the Fisher, Ury model of Principled

Negotiations for the first half of 2013 and the researcher's High Impact

method for the second half 103

Figure 4. The percentage of participant reactions to the phenomenon of blocked negotiations when using the researcher's High Impact

method only 104

Figure 5. The success rate for participant negotiators using the High

Impact Negotiations model in real-world negotiations,

2013-14 105

Figure 6. Comparison of the success rates for participant negotiators using the 2 models of negotiations, 2012-14 106

Chapter 1: Introduction

The Fisher, Ury model of principled negotiations has provided a framework for negotiators since its publication and popular reception more than thirty years ago. Since that time, researchers, such as this one, have questioned the effectiveness of the model.

This study is based on first-hand observations of the researcher, who has worked with thousands of people to date in over 140 multinational...
...Reflecting on these interactions as well as on the relevant studies performed on the subject of overcoming blocked negotiations, it is clear to this researcher that a fundamental problem for most negotiators is that they struggle when the counterpart is very competitive and pushy. Lack of technical knowledge, know-how, the "right" attitude, creativity, and negotiating skill contribute to forming a basis for failure in such negotiations. It is "easier" for people struggling to say that "the other is difficult" rather than to question their own approach taken. Based on the researcher's own observations, this appears to be a universal norm among struggling negotiators.

Using the Fisher, Ury model as a framework in negotiation training, this researcher has witnessed first-hand a universal need to rework the negotiation manual and base it on a more "inclusive" approach than principled negotiation offers.

Statement of Problem

The current offering in terms of negotiation theory and practice is insufficient to provide those who need them the necessary skills to overcome challenging situations. Harvard University's negotiation center offers a course on "how to deal with difficult people" but in this dissertation, the researcher aims to show that there are NO difficult people but only unprepared negotiators.

An effective negotiation is based on a deep understanding of the components of human relations. The problem for negotiators is that they fail to appreciate the importance of this deep understanding. Theories and approaches have emerged to help negotiators, but each has its limitations in terms of efficaciousness. A negotiator must be able to see "how to relate" to the "other" and not allow himself to be "derailed" by minutiae, subjective judgments, or limited scope. A negotiator must have an efficacious and "open" disposition towards negotiating. This will allow him to see beyond obstacles and to patiently develop the deep understanding needed for overcoming them.

Training in negotiation skills is currently in high demand in large corporations and solutions to the increasing demand for cost reductions and other changes are constantly sought after. The demand for negotiators across the globe suggests that the art of negotiation contains a universality that can be understood through the observation of successful negotiators. The implementation of the Fisher, Ury model of negotiation has revealed a fundamental flaw in the way negotiators approach their counterpart. Identifying a universal method that helps negotiators overcome this flaw is the goal of this study.

Research Questions

This is a phenomenological study based on observation, in-depth interviews with participants, and analysis of empirical results coupled with qualitative assessments of individual experiences of the phenomenon.

The researcher observes negotiations to identify recurring behaviors that block negotiations and behaviors that lead to agreements. Such behaviors are classified and matched with existing theories, which offer explanations for these behaviors. The researcher identifies missing components in the following areas: verbal and non-verbal communication, attitude, strategies, and tools by asking the following three, purposefully broad questions:

A. What have you experienced in terms of the phenomenon (blocked negotiation)?

B. Before receiving training with the researcher's "High Impact Negotiation" model based on collaboration, what contexts or situations have typically influenced or affected your experiences of the phenomenon?

C. Following training in the researcher's "High Impact Negotiation" model, what contexts or situations have typically influenced or affected your experiences of the phenomenon?

The purpose of these questions is to allow the researcher to gather data for a "structural description of the experiences" (Creswell, 2007, p. 61), which can be used to form a deeper, universal understanding of negotiators' experience in blocked negotiations and how they can proceed in a successful manner.

As a matter of course, the four points of principled negotiation are discussed during the training, but in such a way as to "disabuse" the trainees of whatever pre-conceived notions they may have coming into the training session. Because the researcher himself trained employees in "principled negotiations" for a number of years before adopting the current method of negotiation, he takes this opportunity to discuss with his trainees his reasons for adopting the new collaboration-based model.

The research questions are used as a way to verify the researcher's pre-existing conviction that the Harvard-celebrated, Fisher, Ury model of negotiation is flawed because it views people as having "problems," which is a negative way to view the negotiation process.

As part of the "disabusing" process, the researcher conducts his seminar with the following secondary questions in mind:

D. How does one respond to difficult negotiations?

i. Does the individual separate the people from the problem?

ii. Does the individual focus on interests, not positions?

iii. Does the individual invent options for mutual gain?

iv. Does…

Sources Used in Documents:


Allred, K., Mallozzi, J., Matsui, F., Raia, C. (1997). The influence of anger and compassion on negotiation performance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 70(3): 175-187.

Andonova, E., Taylor, H. (2012). Nodding in dis/agreement: a tale of two cultures.

Cognitive Process, 13(Suppl 1): S79-S82.

Aristotle. (1889). The Nicomachean ethics of Aristotle. (Trans R.W. Browne).

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