Monday, February 24, 2014

Life of Brian: Negotiation Strategies Illustrated in Film










Culture 
and the 
Length of the Negotiation Dance

Culture can dictate the length of the negotiation dance by determining the number of rounds of concessions and the amount of each expected concession.

In cultures in which the parties expect more haggling, parties will make 12-15 offers/counter-offers.  A clip from  Montey Python's Life of Brian, starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, illustrates haggling in a way we'd expect from this group.

Brian Cohen, played by Chapman, is trying to escape the pursuit of Roman Centurions by buying a beard as a disguise.  The frightened consumer, however, cannot buy it at the sticker price.  He is forced to haggle.  

In sharp contrast, a U.S. consumer has a low tolerance for the negotiation dance.  He or she typically will make only 2 or 3 rounds of offers. 

As a result, U.S. negotiators:

  • Avoid negotiation, in general, by paying posted prices;
  • Pay more;
  • Move too quickly to the bottom line and short-circuit the dance; and
  • Get to impasse more frequently.

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