INTEGRATIVE NEGOTIATION: Definition,Tips and Examples

integrative negotiation
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Integrative negotiation in a business simply means an interest-based negotiation in a workplace. Most people refer to it as a win-win negotiation for both parties involved in it. However, there are steps to achieving this ‘win-win’ feature, which is basically what we will be discussing in this post, and the opposite of this negotiation, which is the distributive negotiation—placing them side by side as (distributive vs. integrative) negotiation for the purpose of comparison. Aside from discussing the distributive vs integrative type, we will also look at an example or examples of this type of negotiation.

Integrative Negotiation

Before we dive into the comprehensive definition of integrative negotiation, let’s take a look at the basic meaning of “integrative’’ and “negotiation’’ separately before putting them together. This will help broaden our knowledge of the topic moving on.

Integrative, according to the oxford Learners’ dictionary, means bringing together several components that are interconnecting and function well together. Then, negotiation, on the other hand, means a formal debate between parties trying to come to an understanding.

Integrative negotiation, also known as integrative bargaining, interest-based negotiation, or win-win negotiation. This negotiation is a tactic where the parties involved cooperate to find a solution that addresses their respective needs and concerns. This procedure frequently incorporates group brainstorming and individual creative thinking. Most especially, for people to propose various ideas that are advantageous to both parties. 

The interests or goals of each negotiator are not mutually exclusive during an integrative negotiation. There are multiple interests and goals present in these conversations. The interests may frequently be complex and just partially comparable. Hence, there is room for both sides to simultaneously advance their positions. This is because the resources claimed by or the source of conflict between the parties are neither unique nor finite.

Distributive vs. Integrative Negotiation

Integrative negotiation means that both parties benefit from the improvement of each other’s position. Simply because it does not prevent the counterparty from enhancing her position. The opposite is a distributive negotiation, also known as single-issue negotiation. This entails attempting to take as much of the pre-existing value off the table from the other party.

Parties compete in distributive negotiations on how to divide a fixed pool of value. Therefore, any benefit for one party entails a cost for the other. The terms “win-lose negotiation” or “zero-sum negotiation” can also be used to describe this situation. Haggling is a term that describes the back-and-forth exchange of proposals, usually financial ones.

Negotiation in general is a decision-making process where two parties that have divergent requirements, interests, and preferences debate a problem in order to find a resolution that is acceptable to both of them. When there is a core disagreement between the parties, distributive negotiation is the best. However, if this is not the case, integrative negotiation is the choice.

The Differences Between Distributive and Integrative Negotiation 

The key differences between distributive vs integrative negotiation include the following; 

#1. Meaning

The negotiating tactic known as distributive negotiation divides a set amount of resources among the parties. However, integrative negotiation is a style of negotiation where parties employ a cooperative problem-solving approach to increase the assets that they will distribute among themselves.

#2. Resources

When there is a fixed or finite resources, integrative bargaining is appropriate. When resources are plentiful, it is advisable to employ an integrative negotiation strategy. Meanwhile, distributive negotiation refers to a negotiating strategy in which the parties seek to maximize their own benefits from limited resources.

#3. Strategy

Distributive negotiation seeks to maximize individual benefits, while integrative negotiation works for mutual benefit. Distributive negotiations always result in a win-lose situation, whereas integrative negotiations always result in a win-win situation.

#4. Motivation

In a distributive negotiation, each party gets their motivation on the account of their own self-interest and personal gain. In contrast, mutual interest and gain serve as an incentive for the parties involved in integrative negotiation.

#5. Relationship

Distributive negotiation seeks to maximize individual benefits, while integrative negotiation works for mutual benefit.

#6. Issue

In a distributive negotiation, often price, there is only likely to be the major issue. As for integrative negotiation, there is none. This is why integrative negotiation is often referred to as “win-win.”

#7. Orientation

Integrative negotiation uses a collaborative tactic, whereas distributive negotiation employs a competitive strategy. A win-lose orientation characterizes the orientation of distributive negotiation. Integrative negotiation, on the other hand, is built on the orientation of a win-win perspective. Distributive negotiation is more effective when resources are restricted.

#8. Communication Climate

An integrated negotiation has an open and productive communication environment. In contrast, a distributive negotiation takes place in a controlled and selective context. Distributive negotiation is utilized when maintaining the relationship between the parties is not of the utmost importance.

An Example of Integrative Negotiation

You can see an example of the impact of an integrative negotiation in a business transaction in the following examples below: 

Example 1

This example of integrative negotiation is in a case where a real estate agent says the lowest price they will offer a company for a property is $100,000, and the client says the highest they will pay is $98,000. If the client happens to convince the agent to lower the price to $98,000, then, both parties compromise by giving up their original price to make a deal. The act of giving up both parties’ original prices to make a deal is known as an integrative negotiation.

Example 2

Another instance includes a scenario where the graphics department and the production department of the film industry are debating on what data they should include about their company in a conference presentation. Production wants to brag about their progress, whereas graphics wants to talk about all the recent successes they have had. However, they can only talk about a few things because of the time constraints for their particular slot. Meanwhile, if they decide to integrate all the talking points they have written for each department, and the presentation includes a graphics effort that demonstrates how the production department was beneficial in resolving a few problems at the organization, it automatically becomes an example of an integrative negotiation.  

Example 3

This example of applying an integrative negotiation involves a number of workers who have raised concerns with their employer about four distinct matters, such as absence from work policies, lunch breaks, mental and physical health policies, and leave policies. As a compromise, they rotate who receives the chosen solution. As a result, the employer will continue to only provide 15-minute breaks, although employees may take up to 45 minutes off from work for lunch. They keep exchanging recommended options until they have discussed every issue.

Examples of Integrative Negotiation

Having used different examples to discuss how integrative negotiation works in different businesses, let’s look into the different techniques of integrative negotiation, which include 

#1. Logrolling

When there are several topics at stake in a negotiation, logrolling allows parties to alternate who receives the more advantageous outcome. The group may determine that the chosen outcome for the first issue will go to the first party, the second issue will go to the other party, and so on until all issues have been resolved.

#2. Bridge remedies

When two parties cannot come to an agreement on the initial ideas they offered, they must come up with new ones. Both parties express their needs and wants as part of this process, and then everyone comes up with suggestions that satisfy each side’s demands in turn. This might give both parties the impression that they are working together to find a solution.

#3. Fair compromise

Fair or equal compromise is one of the examples of techniques used in integrative negotiation which involves when both parties fairly compromise and give up the same amount in order to get to an agreement. The agreement takes into account the needs of each party.

You should note that achieving mutual profits through trade across many topics is attainable when the parties have some common interests or chances. This is because multiple issues can be discussed during integrative negotiation. Also, some other examples of negotiation discussions between an employee and a third party include:

  • Begin with the negotiation of the terms of a sale and the purchase price with a customer.
  • Negotiating a legal settlement with the lawyer representing the other side.
  • Then negotiate contracts for services or supplies with suppliers.
  • Negotiating lesson plan objectives with the children.

Basic Steps to Ensure a Good Negotiation

Integrative negotiation can seem difficult or stressful most of the time. However, there are basic steps you can take to make it stress-free and easy for you, especially if you are using it in the workplace. Some of these steps include:

#1. List the Requirements of Each Side

Recognize the individual hopes and concerns of each party before offering solutions. Consider asking the opposing party to talk about what they need and desire from the negotiation if you are one of the parties. As the mediator, you can ask either side to exchange a list of one item at a time. This step enables everyone concerned to obtain a variety of viewpoints on the problem in order to better develop creative solutions that cater to everyone’s needs.

#2. Identify Shared Objectives

Next, talk about the parties’ objectives. You could compile a list of objectives that are distinct from those desired by other parties and objectives that both parties agree upon. Working toward a solution might be made simpler by identifying shared objectives.

#3.Think of Several Options

When you employ integrative negotiation strategies, you can generate as many ideas as you can. Every possible answer may be listed by either side and then shared with the other. Ideas that are advantageous to both you and the other party should be on this list. You might improve your chances of persuading the opposite side to concur by completing this stage. 

What is the main difference between distributive and integrative negotiations?

Distributive negotiation seeks to maximize individual benefits, while integrative negotiation works for mutual benefit. Distributive negotiation always results in a win-lose situation, whereas integrative negotiation always results in a win-win situation.

Why is integrative negotiation important?

Since integrative negotiation fosters long-lasting relationships and makes future collaboration easier, it is generally preferred to distributive negotiation. It enables each negotiator to leave the table feeling as though they have won.

What are the 4 types of negotiations?

Distributive negotiation, integrative negotiation, team negotiation, and multiparty negotiation are some of the most popular.

What is the major step of the integrative negotiation process?

Identification of the issue is the first and most important step in integrative talks. In this step, all parties work together to identify the problem in a form that is acceptable to all.

What are the five 5 stages of negotiation?

The five stages of negotiation are investigation, figuring out your BATNA, presentation, bargaining, and close.

What are the 5 P’s of negotiation?

But Mullett offers what he calls the “Five P’s” method, which stands for prepare, probe, possibilities, propose, and partner.


Integration negotiation is a profitable skill and value to a business, especially for businesses that rely on the maximum cooperation of one another for the best result. Use the examples of integrative negotiation you find in this post as well as the different examples of basic negotiations and techniques to checkmate the activities among employees and employers in your workplace. Also, as you already figured out, placing side by side distributive vs integrative negotiation means they are typically opposite of each other.


What is a characteristic of integrative negotiations?

The key characteristic of integrative negotiation is that the parties work collaboratively with a win-win solution in mind. Instead of viewing the other party as a competitor, the negotiation can be approached from a teamwork view and can help the parties find common ground that they would not normally find

Why is Integrative negotiation different?

Integrative negotiation. In contrast to the distributive negotiation strategy, the integrative negotiation strategy involves a mutually beneficial approach to negotiations, looking for results that are agreeable for all the negotiating parties. This kind of negotiation seeks to create value, rather than claim it

Why is integrative negotiation difficult?

Integrative negotiation is difficult because you have to focus on the interest of the other party as well. Since you’re also aiming for your own personal targets this will cause a conflict of interest. If you’re planning to work with your partner in the future, it’s extremely important to keep both parties happy

What is an integrative negotiator?

Integrative negotiation is often referred to as “win-win” and typically entails two or more issues to be negotiated. It often involves an agreement process that better integrates the aims and goals of all the involved negotiation participants through creative and collaborative problem-solving.

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