How Distributive and Integrative Bargaining Techniques Differ

Category: Ethics
Last Updated: 31 May 2023
Essay type: Process
Pages: 3 Views: 156
Table of contents

Negotiation is a method in which people with different ideas and ideologies settle their differences. Therefore, it's a process by which both parties compromise or reaches an agreement while avoiding escalation of the argument or dispute [ CITATION Har14 I 1033]. In the event of a dispute, both parties aim at achieving the best possible outcome for their position. That notwithstanding, the principles of fairness, trust, and integrity are essential particularly when seeking a successful outcome [ CITATION Mic15 \ 1033].

Typically, there are two main approaches to any negotiation situation; the distributive negotiation and integrative negotiation. Distributive negotiation is a competitive negotiation strategy which is often adopted when parties seek to divide fixed resources such as money, assets etc. amongst themselves. Often distributive negotiation ends up in a win-lose situation. On the contrary, integrative negotiation is a collaborative negotiation strategy in which both parties create a win-win situation when solving the dispute [ CITATION Mic15 \I 1033].

Unlike distributive negotiation where only one issue is discussed and deliberated at any given time, integrative negotiation provides a room where multiple issues are taken into account after which a solution is made forthwith. In addition, there is an open communication climate in an integrative negotiation contrary to distributive negotiation as it is characterized by controlled communication climate and the selective environment [ CITATION Har14 \ 1033].

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Finally, in distributive negotiation, every negotiator is adamant and puts emphasis on meeting his/her individual needs irrespective of the loss the other party may have to face. In contrast, the focus of integrative negotiation is based on meeting mutual interest of both parties and consequently coming up with constructive solutions that will be beneficial to all parties [ CITATION Har14 \ 1033].

Due to varied nature of integrative negotiation and distributive negotiation, they can, therefore, be used in different specific contexts. For instance, distributive negotiation is applicable when there is a fixed amount of resources and whatever the solution made, one party gains whereas the other losses [ CITATION Mic15 l 1033]. An example of distributive negotiation is what we encounter when we make a purchase. We have a tendency of asking for a discount.

On the other hand, integrative negotiation occurs when there is a prospect of producing a greater outcome collectively than could reach on your own. Often, integrative negotiation is when both parties have a relationship and the cooperation is meant to benefit all parties [ CITATION Mic15 \| 1033 ]. An example of integrative negotiation is the tendency of parents allowing their children to sleep an hour later in exchange for mowing the lawn.

Ethical Pitfalls in Negotiations

Understanding and having the knowledge of ethics and negotiation is very helpful especially during the negotiation process. However, there are some ethical pitfalls that usually come up while at the negotiating table such as deception, uncertainty's attraction and the power of the powerlessness [ CITATION Kit13 \| 1033]. As such, these ethical challenges in negotiation can be solved by building trust with both parties and strong relationships with the counterparts so as to protect and avoid a bad deal during negotiation. In addition, after a failed negotiation, it's important to be aware of the other party's biases by tempting to construct a story with regards to the irrationality of the other party which lead to an impasse. Finally, there is need to develop strategies for negotiating more rationally so as to deal with ethical pitfalls in negotiation [ CITATION Kit13 | 1033].


  1. Harvard Business School. (2014). Negotiation. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Kitty Te Riele, R. B. (2013). Negotiating Ethical Challenges in Youth Research. New York: Routledge.
  2. Papa, M. J., & Daniels, T. D. (2015). Organizational communication: perspectives and trends. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

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How Distributive and Integrative Bargaining Techniques Differ. (2023, May 12). Retrieved from

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