Negotiating in Anger?/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on November 11, 2017


Elizabeth Bernstein, of the WSJ, penned an article entitled “To Win a Negotiation? Get Mad”. The article analyzes how the role of anger plays a role in the success or failure of a negotiation. Professor Maurice Schweitzer of the Wharton School suggests that the best time to get mad, if one perceives that something unjust has occurred, is right before or during the negotiation. However, anger that is too early in such a process can distract a person and lead to unfavorable results. It can well be consuming and a cause for a lack of focus. Displeasure is only received well when it comes about in a calm and controlled manner. How and when that displeasure is expressed has grave consequences.

If one feels a need to express anger without concern about its ultimate impact, litigation is as good as any other vehicle. On the other hand, the advantage of a mediated process, is that anger and displeasure can be discussed with an eye towards an eventual settlement. The choice is clear. Want to let the “fur fly”, do it through litigation. Want to get some result that is productive and meaningful, express your displeasure in a civil and purposeful mediated discussion. As always the advice remains the same; mediate don’t litigate.