Distributive Bargaining Law and Legal Definition

Distributive bargaining the approach to bargaining or negotiation that is used when the parties are in conflict over an issue, and the outcome represents a gain for one party and a loss for the other. It usually occurs over items such as wages and premium pay. Distributive bargaining implies a closed system where one party’s gain demands a loss for the other.

The goal in distributive bargaining is not to assure both sides win, but rather that one side wins as much as it can, which generally means that the other side will lose, or at least get less than it had wanted. Distributive bargaining tactics rarely assume the pie will divided in half. Distributive bargaining is also called "claiming value," "zero-sum," or "win-lose" bargaining.