Garbage In, Garbage Out: Don’t Apply Research on Haggling to Your Negotiations

Last week I received a number of emails, texts, and calls from colleagues and students sharing this Wall Street Journal article titled “To Win a Negotiation? Get Mad.” Many people wanted to know my thoughts about this headline article.

We read information in reputable publications. Acclaimed academic institutions reference research studies. Is this enough reason to believe the outcome? Not necessarily.

Everything is fine until you realize the base premiss of the whole article and referenced researches are on shaky ground because the author or the researchers did not distinguish the difference between haggling and negotiation.

For those of you who have been following my work and my recent blogs, you know the whole premiss of my work starts from distinguishing haggling and negotiating (see my blog video about the difference between haggling and negotiating).

The WSJ article and the research it references touch on haggling not negotiation.

Following my trend of food-related analogies I came up with this comparison: What if I tell you that as the result of my research I have concluded that in order to get crispy vegetables and juicy meat in a pan you must increase the oil temperature to 375 before submerging the vegetable/meat. Of course you end up with deep-fried foods. However, just because you can cook something fast, efficiently, and make it taste ok does not mean you should eat it. As we all hopefully know, fried foods (like haggling) are incredibly terrible for your health (see my video on Why Proper Negotiation is Important).

If every time we go into a negotiation with a haggling mindset, our fried-food style of human interactions will be eating away at our relationships and health. Haggling is fast and easy, but it isn’t good for much. Eat the chicken sparingly: use haggling techniques at the market, but don’t haggle at the negotiating table. Or better yet, don’t eat the fried chicken at all 🙂