Responsible negotiation: exploring the forest beyond the tree
Purpose – Exploring responsible negotiation is like discovering the forest beyond the tree. The purpose of this paper is to develop seven steps that might be needed for negotiators to become more responsible. These steps take into account the people at the table, but also those behind and beyond the table, and those needed to sign, ratify and also implement the deal. A broad responsibility should also integrate legal, moral, systemic and environmental constraints, as well as the future of the next generation. Design/methodology/approach – Negotiation techniques may serve any goal, and therefore lead to irresponsible processes and outcomes. A selected review of the literature on negotiation theory is explored, and its current concepts are complemented to integrate responsibility. Findings – In total, seven levels of responsibility can be identified for negotiation: towards oneself, the other, respective principals, implementers, absentees, legal compliance, moral norms and values, and the next generation.