Monday, October 1, 2007

The fine art of negotiating (with liars)

From the Boston Globe:

In the age of the megadeal, classes in negotiations have become the most popular electives at many business schools across the country.

Students aspiring to America's executive suites are counseled to view every staff meeting, networking cocktail hour, or chance encounter with a senior manager as a negotiating opportunity.

But too many courses overlook what Robert S. Adler, professor of law and ethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School, considers the biggest caveat of the negotiating domain: You are apt to be bargaining with a liar.

"If you read the studies from the field of psychology, you'll see that people lie all the time," Adler said. "We lie to our friends; we lie to our enemies. Sometimes people lie to avoid hurting other people's feelings. Sometimes it's more sinister than that."

While fraudulent companies like Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. were found to have lied on financial statements, violating federal securities laws, more garden-variety lying occurs daily when people prepare resumes, file insurance claims, or call in sick to work....MORE