Yesterday's article discussed a distributive negotiation situation, in which both parties strived to get as much of the pie as possible.

It concluded that this outcome was an option if establishing or maintaining a relationship was not a priority for both parties.

Today’s article looks beyond the “I win, you lose” negotiation situation.  In contrast with distributive negotiation, you may find yourself in an integrative situation.

An integrative negotiation is one where both parties try to optimise their objectives. As people have different needs, it is possible for both to get everything they want in an integrative negotiation. A win-win is possible.

Some characteristics of an integrative negotiation are:

* Multiple issues. With several issues being discussed, there is room for give and take. You can concede more on less important issues and ask for more on the issues that matter most to you.

* An ongoing relationship. When you negotiate with someone you deal with regularly, you must maintain a good relationship. You will have other negotiations with this person, and each one has to be mutually satisfying.

You are better off making a good customer happy than taking him to the cleaners and trying to find a new customer to take his place after he stops dealing with you.

In an integrative situation, you will choose a collaborative approach. You will build trust, share information, and discuss needs.

Your demands will be more moderate and your concessions more generous. You will look for options that satisfy both parties and evaluate them based on fair standards.

You cannot play dirty with a spouse, boss, or valued client — you have to live with these people!

There is also a third type of situation, the mixed motive negotiation. This contains elements of distributive and integrative negotiating, and is the most common situation. It involves creating as much value — expanding the pie — as possible, then seeking a favourable distribution.

In a mixed motive negotiation, you begin by collaborating to create value, then shift into a more competitive posture to claim as much value as possible.

This shift should be subtle. A sudden change from amiable Dr. Jekyll to selfish Mr. Hyde can upset your counterpart and make agreement difficult.

You should also recognise that you will not get the whole pie, so be prepared to justify why you should get a favourable split. 

There are times when you will only be interested in a distributive approach. You may be in the market for a used car. Perhaps you do not have a relationship with the other party and are not so concerned about how they fare. You make not have the time to consider options that create a win-win.

However, in most negotiations you will have an ongoing relationship with your counterpart — your client, business associate, spouse, or even a rival. There is a time to win, and a time to balance winning with getting along. Understand the difference before you begin negotiating.