Examination of what is commonly referred to as the

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examination of what is commonly referred to as the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (or BATNA). The BATNA is a solution to the issues which confront your side which can be solved without agreement of the other side or sides. If your BATNA is better than a negotiated settlement, you have no need to negotiate at all. On the other hand, if your BATNA is not as good as a possible solution achieved through negotiation, then there is a reason for you to negotiate. The other sides go through essentially the same exercise. If both or all sides come to the conclusion that their BATNA is not as good as a possible negotiated solution, then the fundamentals exist for interest based or mutual gains bargaining. Sometimes it will not be clear at the onset whether or not the BATNA is inferior to a negotiated solution. In such case, either side can enter discussions, always keeping in mind its BATNA. When it becomes clear that the BATNA is superior to any negotiated solution, that side has the option to implement their BATNA. Identifying your BATNA not only provides you with an alternative to negotiation, it also provides you with a touch stone to which you can refer during the negotiating process. It is important that you not only identify your own BATNA, but that you also learn as much as you can about the other sides’ BATNA. When both sides recognize that their BATNA , as well as the BATNA of the opposite number is not as good as a negotiated settlement, the opportunity exists for both sides to build on this recognition. H OW T O B UILD THE P ROCESS In positional bargaining, each side attacks the other's proposal and attempts to convince them that their proposal is the right one. In interest based bargaining, both (or all) sides attack the problem and attempt to discover the solution which best deals with the interests of both (or all) sides. The challenge for bargainers is to assist not only your own side but also the other side to approach the problem in this manner. In this paper, I have broken down the process into a number of stages. STEP ONE: IDENTIFYING THE INTERESTS
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– 10 – The first thing you need to do before getting started with negotiations is to identify those interests which both you and the other side have in the process. This is true whatever approach to bargaining you intend to take. There are three types of interests that both sides need to consider: 1. Substantive Issues Substantive issues are those issues which are usually put on the table in positional bargaining as "positions". They deal with money, resources, benefits, or other actual issues that need to be solved during the negotiating process. Often some of these issues will involve fixed resources. Fixed resources issues can easily degenerate into win/lose situations and that realization needs to be foremost in the minds of the negotiators on both sides if the process is to be successful.
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