Finding best alternative to a negotiated settlement (BATNA)

  • How good agreements are framed?

BATNA helps in closing a good agreement which would mean a win-win situation for all concerned. Developing a best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) involves the process of principled negotiation, which can produce good agreements. Taking positions, or, starting the negotiations, where each party opens with a set position, do not result in good agreements. For example, positional bargaining can be best explained when two parties take their rigid position on the price of any good or service. As the positional negotiations results in stubbornness, it ultimately brings harm to the relationship between the parties. Hence principled negotiation is the better way as the principles involved in the same include separating people from the problem, while focusing on the issues of interests instead of positions. In addition, the principled negotiation should aim at creating an agreement which is based on objective criteria, while a number of options should be generated before reaching for the final settlement.(Glaser, Conflict Research Consortium)

Negotiating BATNA way

  • Determining my BATNA

While the first principle in determining my BATNA would be to identify the terms that one can use for protecting one’s interests. This could be related to finding a job with the department of social services, or selling a house. Although the two cases are entirely different; as one involves negotiating a price for the property, the other is about negotiating the price for services. However, both have the common issue of establishing a bottom line, which can form the base of the negotiations. In case of selling the house, the bottom line for price fixation may be the highest price which any family member opts, before going for the negotiations. However, knowing my BATNA would involve more than that, as its aim should be to reach an amicable and realistic agreement. Hence, several factors could be considered, which include the immediate use of property, various investment proposals available for the same. In the process, any alternate investment proposal may prove better than selling the house.

  • Entering into an agreement

Since entering into an agreement, with an objective of getting a better deal, involves the task of negotiations, knowing BATNA- best alternative to a negotiated agreement, can prove more gainful in certain cases. Therefore, this should be made as the basic standard while negotiating any settlement, as doing so would protect us from accepting unfavorable terms, while it can save us from rejecting the terms which serve our interests.

Working through BATNA can be refreshing

Readers must also go through books like, “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In” by Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton to understand the intricacies of BATNA, while we will continue this information in future entries on these pages. Meanwhile, viewers can go through topics for gaining knowledge on other issues.