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Negotiation to Solve Conflict
Dave Carlson - February 21, 2013

Acuff (2008) proposed six stages of negotiation: orientation and fact-finding, resistance, reformulation of strategies, hard bargaining and decision making, agreement, and follow-up. The most painful, yet predictable, part of any negotiation is resistance. Acuff (2008) urged his readers to not be upset by resistance during negotiations. “In fact, if you encounter no resistance, this could be a signal that there is little genuine interest in meaningful negotiations” (p. 10). The key to successfully overcoming resistance in a negotiation is to discover, understand, and fulfill what Acuff (2008) referred to as WIIFT (“what’s in it for them”) (p. 10).

Task (or Content) Issues      Relationship (or Process) Issues

1) Orientation and Fact-Finding
  • Introductions
  • Opening statements
  • Overview of the situation
  • Defining issues
  • Prioritizing
  • Setting the climate
  • Building rapport
  • Defining roles
  • Asking more questions
2) Resistance
  • Position taking
  • Logical points of view
  • Debating / arguing
  • Speech making
  • WIIFM (What's in it for me?)
  • Protecting turf
3) Reformulation of Strategies
  • Introduction of new data
  • Redefinition of issues
  • Reassessment of original strategies
  • Problem solving
  • Trying another approach
4) Hard Bargaining and Decision Making
  • Determination of real objectives
  • Problem alternatives
  • Creating options for both parties
  • Determining what it will take to close this deal
  • WIIFT (What's in it for them?)
  • Collaboration
  • Mutual problem solving
5) Agreement
  • Finding areas of agreement
  • Ensuring understanding
  • Drafting and reviewing the agreement
  • Ratification
  • Recapping
  • Little ambiguity
  • Getting a done deal
  • Noting that it's good doing business together
6) Follow-Up
  • Checking the implementation of the negotiated agreement
  • Setting the stage for future negotiations
  • Agreeing that you made a good deal
Source: Acuff, 2008, p. 12.


Acuff, F. L. (2008). How to negotiate anything with anyone anywhere around the world (3rd ed.). New York: American Management Association.


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