- Date: 1599
- 1. to confer with another so as to arrive at the settlement of some matter
- a : to deal with (some matter or affair that requires ability for its successful handling) : manage
- b : to arrange for or bring about through conference, discussion, and compromise <negotiate a treaty>
2 a : to transfer (as a bill of exchange) to another by delivery or endorsement
3 a : to successfully travel along or over <negotiate a turn>
- b : complete, accomplish <negotiate the trip in two hours>
Negotiation is a dialogue intended to resolve disputes, to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, or to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests. It is the primary method of alternative dispute resolution.
Negotiation occurs in business, non-profit organizations, government branches, legal proceedings, among nations and in personal situations such as marriage, divorce, parenting, and everyday life. The study of the subject is called negotiation theory. Professional negotiators are often specialized, such as union negotiators, leverage buyout negotiators, peace negotiators, hostage negotiators, or may work under other titles, such as diplomats, legislators or brokers.
Perhaps the most famous negotiation parable involves an argument over an orange. The most obvious approach was to simply cut it in half, each person getting a fair share. But, when the negotiators began talking to each other, exchanging information about their interests, a better solution to the problem became obvious. The person wanting the orange for juice for breakfast took that part and the person wanting the rind for making marmalade took that part. Both sides ended up with more. Neither agreement is particularly creative. The parable of the orange becomes a story about creativity when both parties decide to cooperate in planting an orange tree or even an orchard.