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Three Ethical Issues in Negotiation

NCJ Number
Negotiation Journal Volume: 2 Issue: 4 Dated: (October 1986) Pages: 363-370
D A Lax; J K Sebenitus
Date Published
8 pages
This discussion of ethical issues in negotiation pertains to appropriate tactics, the fair distribution of benefits in the agreement, and the effects of the negotiation on those not at the table.
Tactics that involve deception to gain a favorable outcome raise an ethical issue. Misrepresentations involving the substance of the negotiation clearly undermine the intent of negotiation. So long as both parties understand that some degree of misrepresentation will be used to influence outcome and both parties use the tactic, then neither party has an ethical complaint. When a tactic clearly harms the other party and the other party is not in a position to mount a defense or exit the situation, then the tactic is unethical. Ethics should also enter into the fair distribution of the benefits of an agreement. It is not sufficient to rationalize that negotiation procedures were correctly followed if the outcome creates an imbalance of benefits between the parties. Fairness, however, will always be a relative concept in any negotiation. A negotiation agreement may be mutually beneficial to the parties involved but may cause harm to parties not involved in the negotiation. This ethical issue may be resolved by having all affected parties providing input for the agreement. 12 notes and 15 references.


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