This negotiating method was invented in the 1970s, by Professors Roger Fisher and William Ury, who taught law at Harvard University; in 1978, they used this method for the first time for the Camp David agreements; in 1979, they founded the Harvard Negotiation Project.
This method is based on 4 principles:
- Separating personal questions from the problem to be solved,
- Negotiating on the basis of the interests at stake, and not on the starting positions,
- Coming up with solutions that provide mutual benefits,
- Using “objective” criteria.
Reasoned negotiation avoids haggling during negotiations; it allows:
- Each party’s needs and concerns to be taken into consideration,
- The use of “objective” criteria used to base the negotiations on elements that are tangible, measurable and reliable, accepted by both parties,
- The parties to go beyond emotions which enables them to negotiate thanks to a positive and constructive technique,
- The parties to come up with a range of possible solutions, among which the parties will find one which will provide both of them with a greater mutual benefit.
- The parties to reach a “win-win” negotiation,
- The parties to preserve or/and recreate relationships with each other.
Reasoned negotiation is particularly well suited to labour law since in disagreements there is often an interference with the parties’ personalities and an effect on the emotions; hence it is very difficult for them to manage overcome their emotions.
A lawyer trained in reasoned negotiation can be the person who, at the conclusion of the negotiation, will enable his/her client to have a satisfactory agreement in hand for all the parties concerned, and, accordingly, enable them to maintain good relations between each other.