What Is Integrative Negotiation? (How to Use It at Work)

Updated November 21, 2022

Negotiation skills are the knowledge required to assist people on opposing sides of an issue to achieve a compromise or agreement. You can adopt a negotiation style that guarantees the satisfaction of everyone. Learning about integrative negotiation can help to improve your professional relationships. In this article, we explain what integrative negotiation is, highlight its importance, describe how to use it at work, provide tips for using it at work, and present its techniques.

What is integrative negotiation?

Integrative negotiation, also called integrative bargaining, is a negotiation method in which the people involved collaborate to develop a solution that addresses each person's concerns and needs. This method incorporates each person in the decision-making and problem-solving process. It can assist negotiators with different goals to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. You can adopt this method by using creative thinking and active listening skills to obtain favourable solutions. Honesty can also support the success of this negotiation style, as it involves full knowledge of the problem and each person's demands for a satisfactory outcome.

Why is integrative bargaining important?

Here's the importance of applying integrative bargaining in your workplace:

  • Increases professional relationships. At the end of a successful negotiation, you successfully achieve the interests of the people involved. This deepens the relationship between you and your colleagues and might result in future business success and opportunities.

  • Improves the negotiation process. If you adopt integrative bargaining, it helps you to consider the needs of others to create a mutually acceptable agreement. This helps to facilitate the decision-making process and reduce misunderstandings between negotiators.

  • Enables agreement. Integrative bargaining aligns the needs of everyone involved, which helps to make them pleased with the solution provided. It also helps to ensure that everyone complies with the agreement in the future.

Related: Why Collaboration Is Important in the Workplace (With Tips)

How to use integrative bargaining at work

You can adopt integrative bargaining in your workplace by following these steps:

1. Identify and define the issue

Identifying and defining the issue requires recognizing the interests of both parties and finding a strategy to resolve the problem so that both sides can agree. This process of integrative bargaining requires that each side clearly defines and communicates its interests. It requires you to analyze the situation, identify the issue, evaluate why the issue is occurring, and determine whom the issue is affecting. You can do this by listening actively to all parties involved without interrupting and considering all factors that can affect the issue.

2. Understand the other party's interest

This step entails knowing what each party wants to accomplish in the discussion, their major concerns, and demands. Understanding people's motives can significantly impact the results of your negotiations. To learn how to do this, consider the other party's situation, values, and goals. This may persuade people to see you as a reputable and trustworthy person with good ideas, which might lead to an acceptable compromise for all parties.

3. Find common goals

Identifying common goals during negotiations can facilitate solution development. Collaborating with the parties involved to identify common objectives can help to promote collective decision-making. You can do this by highlighting the goals of the parties involved and goals that differ from those of all parties involved. Consider building your problem-solving skills and adjusting your views to find a goal that benefits everyone.

Related: How to Problem-Solve in the Workplace

4. Create alternative solutions

This step entails generating several potential solutions to the issue. It's essential to develop various alternatives so that all parties have choices. This step involves creative thinking and predicting the possible outcomes for each solution before presenting them to others. You can also ask the other parties to generate a list of every possible solution they can create. This list can contain ideas beneficial to all the parties involved. By accomplishing this step, your chances of persuading the opposing party to agree may increase.

Related: 7 Steps to Improve Your Creative Thinking Skills

5. Evaluate and select mutually beneficial solutions

After generating various alternative solutions that might fix the issue, you can carefully evaluate each option and choose the most suitable one. You can cooperate with the other negotiators to obtain a conclusion on the issue that's beneficial to all parties. Consider building your decision-making skills to help you select a solution that satisfies the needs of every party involved.

Related: How to Make a Difficult Decision in 8 Simple Steps

Tips for using integrative bargaining at work

Here are tips you can utilize if you're using integrative bargaining at work:

Focus on your goals

Remaining focused is one method for achieving your desired outcomes in negotiations. You can successfully negotiate if you have an idea of your goal. Consider defining the goals you hope to attain when negotiating to help you achieve them. You can also analyze the goals of your opponent. Doing this can allow you to suggest solutions that benefit everyone. You might develop the ability to remain focused by eliminating distractions during the negotiation process.

Identify and acknowledge your areas of improvement

Identifying and recognizing your areas of improvement can help you achieve a better result. This allows you to concentrate your time and effort on developing that area. Before attending a negotiating meeting, the ability to do a self-assessment enables you to understand your strengths and areas of improvement. Knowing this can help you realize which approach best suits your personality and skills. You might prefer assessing a problem and formulating a plan before negotiating or improvising during the negotiation. To determine your areas of improvement, you can highlight your previous negotiation experiences and what you want to change about them.

Related: 13 Areas of Improvement for You and Your Team

Improve your communication skills

Integrative bargaining requires strong communication skills as the goal is to establish an agreement that benefits both parties. Possessing effective communication skills can help guarantee that you comprehend the demands of the other parties and that they comprehend yours. Speaking clearly and concisely can help you during negotiations. You can develop this skill by improving your active listening skills and focusing on your voice tone and facial expressions during the negotiation process.

Related: 15 Communication Skills for Professionals to Develop

Be persuasive

Persuasiveness entails convincing others to comprehend and accept your argument. This skill can help demonstrate how your choice benefits all parties involved. You can explain how your solution can benefit them and satisfy their demands. Doing this can help you reach an agreement with the parties involved during the negotiation process without anyone feeling dissatisfied. Building trust with everyone in your organization increases the likelihood of your persuasive efforts succeeding.

Related: How to Develop Persuasiveness Skills in the Workplace

Build your confidence

It's important for you to build your confidence level before a negotiation process. By demonstrating confidence in your negotiations, the other parties trust you to create a solution that benefits everyone. It can also enable you to convey your interests clearly and concisely. You can build your confidence by managing your emotions and planning the steps you can take before a negotiation process.

Related: How to Build More Self-Confidence (And Why It's Important)

Integrative bargaining techniques

Here are examples of integrative bargaining techniques that you can practise at work:

Equal compromising

Equal compromising occurs when both sides sacrifice the same amount and compromise fairly to achieve a solution. The agreement considers the goals and needs of each party. For example, a seller states that the lowest price they can give a customer for a product is $4,000 and the customer said that the maximum price they're willing to spend is $3,800. The customer persuades the seller to reduce the price to $3,900, and both sides reach an agreement by giving up their initial prices.


Logrolling is an integrative bargaining strategy in which parties in a disagreement with several problems alternate who receives the most favourable outcome. This strategy entails offering each negotiator alternative turns to attain their preferred goal and an alternate turn to forego their preferences in favour of the opposite side. People typically use this style of integrative bargaining if there are many different issues.

For example, an employee desires severance compensation and promotion, but the company chooses not to provide severance pay and has no openings for promotions. Logrolling is when both parties agree to a severance compensation deal and postpone the promotion.

Bridge solutions

Bridge solutions is a technique that involves both parties developing new concepts to which they can agree instead of the ones they originally proposed. Both parties might collaborate to find a mutually beneficial solution by expressing their needs and desires. To achieve a compromise, negotiators with opposite perspectives collaborate to develop new positions that resolve their differences.

For example, departments A and B discuss the material they can give at a conference to represent their organization. Department A wants to discuss the company's development, while department B desires to discuss the company's current achievements. They can decide to discuss their future goals and current finances for a presentation for the conference instead. This agreement differs from each party's initial suggestions and satisfies their needs.

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