Principled Negotiation Law and Legal Definition

Principled negotiation is a negotiation strategy that emphasizes interests, not problems. The four fundamental principles of principled negotiation include: 1) separate the people from the problem; 2) focus on interests, not positions; 3) invent options for mutual gain; and 4) insist on objective criteria.

Principled negotiation is especially crucial when an imbalance of power exists between the parties. It aims to establish common bonds and a shared effort to find solutions. It is more successful in U.S. and Western European cultures which emphasize rational cost-benefit analysis, and de-emphasize the importance of relationships and emotions. Cultures which see relationship issues as central aspects of the conflict may find principled negotiation less useful.