Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 31023
Ethics in Negotiations: The Confrontation between Representation and Practices

Authors: Claude Alavoine


While in practice negotiation is always a mix of cooperation and competition, these two elements correspond to different approaches of the relationship and also different orientations in term of strategy, techniques, tactics and arguments employed by the negotiators with related effects and in the end leading to different outcomes. The levels of honesty, trust and therefore cooperation are influenced not only by the uncertainty of the situation, the objectives, stakes or power but also by the orientation given from the very beginning of the relationship. When negotiation is reduced to a confrontation of power, participants rely on coercive measures, using different kinds of threats or make false promises and bluff in order to establish a more acceptable balance of power. Most of the negotiators have a tendency to complain about the unethical aspects of the tactics used by their counterparts while, as the same time, they are mostly unaware of the sources of influence of their own vision and practices. In this article, our intention is to clarify these sources and try to understand what can lead negotiators to unethical practices.

Keywords: Power, Ethics, Competition, cooperation, Negotiation

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 3005


[1] C. Dupont, "A model of the negotiation process with different strategies", in P. Ghauri, J. C. Usunier (eds), International Business Negotiations, Pergamon / Elsevier Science, 1996, pp. 39-67.
[2] G-O. Faure, G. Sjöstedt, "Culture and negotiation: An introduction" in G-O. Faure, J. Z. Rubin (ed.), Culture and Negotiation, Sage Publications, 1993, pp.1-13.
[3] L. L. Putnam, , "Reframing integrative and distributive bargaining: A process perspective", in R. J. Lewicki, B. H. Sheppard, M.H. Bazerman (eds.), Research on negotiation in organizations, JAI series annual, Greenwich CT: JAI, 1990.
[4] L. L. Putnam, M. E. Roloff, Communication and Negotiation, Sage Publications, Newbury Park. CA. 1992.
[5] R. E. Walton, R. B. McKersie, A behavioral theory of labor negotiations: An analysis of a social interaction system. New York: Mc Graw Hill, 1965.
[6] D. A. Lax, J. K. Sebenius, The manager as negotiator, New York: Free Press. 1986.
[7] R. E. Walton, R. B. McKersie, "A retrospective on the behavioral theory of labor negotiations", Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 13, pp. 277-285, 1992.
[8] W. I. Zartman, "Resolving the toughness dilemma", in G-O. Faure, La négociation : Regards sur sa diversité, Première biennale internationale de la négociation, Paris: Editions Publibook, 2005, pp. 45-59
[9] D. Nelson, M. Wheeler, "Rocks and hard places: managing two tensions in negotiation", Negotiation Journal, vol. 20, n┬░. 1, pp.113-128, 2004.
[10] J. K. Sebenius, "Six habits of merely effective negotiators", Harvard Business Review, vol. 79, n┬░. 4, April, pp. 87-95, 2001.
[11] K. G. Allred, "Distinguishing best and strategic practices: A framework for managing the dilemma between creating and claiming value", Negotiation Journal, vol. 16, n┬░. 4, pp. 387−397, 2000.
[12] I. W. Zartman, "The structure of negotiation", in V. A. Kremenyuk (ed.), International Negotiation: Analysis, Approaches, Issues, Jossey Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1991, pp. 65-77.
[13] R. J. Lewicki, D. M. Saunders, J. W. Minton, Essentials of Negotiation, Mc Graw Hill, 2nd edition, 2001.
[14] M. Deutsch, The Resolution of Conflict, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1973.
[15] K. Boulding, "The nature of power", in Lewicki Roy J., Saunders David M., Minton John W., Negotiation: readings, exercises and cases, Mc Graw Hill, 3rd edition, 1999, pp. 180-192.
[16] T. C. Schelling, Arms and Influence, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1966.
[17] R. Fisher, "Negotiating power: Getting and using influence", in W. J. Breslin, J. Z. Rubin, Negotiation Theory and Practice, The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Mass., 5th edition. 1999, pp. 127-140.
[18] M. Leroux, Les dimensions cachées de la négociation, Paris, Insep Editions, 1992.
[19] J. A.Wall, R. Roberts Callister, "Conflict and its management", Journal of management, vol. 21, n┬░ 3, pp. 515-558, 1995.
[20] A. Z. Carr, "Is business bluffing ethical?", Harvard Business Review, 46, Jan-Feb, pp. 143-153, 1968.
[21] F. Allhoff, "Business bluffing reconsidered", Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 45, n┬░. 4, pp. 283−289, 2003.
[22] J. Varelius, "Allhoff on business bluffing", Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 65, n┬░. 2, pp. 163-171, 2006.
[23] C. Provis, "Ethics, deception and labor negotiation", Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 28, n┬░. 2, pp. 145-158, 2000.
[24] I. Smithey Fulmer, B. Barry, D. A. Long, "Lying and smiling: Informational and emotional deception in negotiation", Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 65, n┬░. 2, pp. 691-709, 2009.
[25] M. Olekalns, P. L. Smith, "Mutually dependent: power, trust, affect and the use of deception in negotiation", Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 85, n┬░. 3, pp. 347−365, 2009.
[26] H. C. Triandis, P. Carnevale & al), "Culture and Deception in Business Negotiations: A Multilevel Analysis", International journal of Cross Cultural Management, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp.73-90, 2001.
[27] F.R. Kluckhohn, F.L. Strodbeck, Variations in value orientations, Greenwood Press, 1961.
[28] M. Olekalns, P. L. Smith, "Loose with the Truth: Predicting Deception in Negotiation", Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 76, n┬░. 2, pp.225−238, 2007.
[29] C. Rivers, A. L. Lytle, "Lying, cheating foreigners!! Negotiation ethics across cultures", International Negotiation, vol. 12, n┬░. 1, pp.1-28, 2007.
[30] P. Watzlawick, How real is real? Communication, Disinformation, Confusion, New-York: Random House, 1976.
[31] M. Sinaceur, A. M. Neale, "Not All Threats are Created Equal: How Implicitness and Timing Affect the Effectiveness of Threats in Negotiations", Group Decision and Negotiation, vol. 14, n┬░. 1, pp.63−85, 2005.
[32] R. J. Lewicki., R. J. Robinson, "Ethical and unethical bargaining tactics: An empirical study", Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 17, n┬░. 6, pp. 665- 682, 1998.
[33] T. R. Cohen, "Moral emotions and unethical bargaining: The differential effects of empathy and perspective taking in deterring deceitful negotiation", Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 94, n┬░. 4, pp. 569-579, 2010.