Misleading in their thirst to claim value sorne

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Misleading In their thirst to claim value, sorne negotiators misIead their counter- parts. Several versions of this are especially common.
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140 Negotiation Analysis MALlGN PERSUASION AND EXPLOITING IGNORANCE Suppose that a slightly senile widower brings a Stradivarius to a violin dealer or a diamond to a jeweler. Being told that, no, one is a fiddle and the other a rock (but, even so, they can be taken off his hands for a small price) would scarcely be unheard-of. Or take that valuable Arizona "ranch" with no water for miles, that supposedly meaningless "standard" clause whose addition reverses the thrust of an agreement, or that novice writer who signs a book contract lack- ing paperback, foreign, or film rights. All bear depressing witness to the sometime effectiveness of claiming value by lying or exploiting ig- norance; we soon turn to the ethical side of tactical choice. OVERSTATING AND UNDERSTATING Recall the negotiations (from Chapter Two) over the terms of a cable television system. The mayor cared most strongly about the completion date but feigned primary interest in the subscriber price and the number of channels. By making the cable operator believe that his subsequent (modest) concession on price was very costly, the mayor hoped to induce a large concession on completion date in re- turno In other words, the mayor attempted to claim value by mislead- ing the cable operator about his relative valuation of issues. Of course, the mayor might not actively mislead; he might merely be evasive or cagey and guide the cable operator to the same erroneoUs conclusions. A more extreme example arises when the parties are not even sure about which interests their counterparts perceive to be at stake. By feigning a completely new interest, preferably annoying to the other party, the first party may hope to "concede" that interest in return for something of real value. If one side discovers, unbeknownst to the other, that an interest is shared, the first side may use this knowledge to claim value. For ex- ample, recall the mayor negotiating a contract with the police union that has asked for the removal of the police commissioner. If the mayor secretly also wants to fire the commissioner, she may be able to "offer" this firing, but only in return for large concessions on sal- ary and other issues. Even known shared interests can sometimes be manipulated this way. For example, two countries may be known to value a pleasant working relationship. Yet, one country may feign a lack of concern for it or even proclaim relations "damaged" hoping the other will "repair" it with concessions elsewhere.
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('/lliming Value 141 Probabilities may also be distorted in order to claim value. To si imulate a high price, the seller of a small business may wax much lIlore optimistic on its prospects than he actually believes to be the l'ase. (We discuss appropriate countertactics in the next chapter.) :\Ild to get low tax rates, the sponsors of a zinc mine in a Third World nHlntry may go on and on to the local authorities about how modest profits are likely to be.
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