Article | Negotiation | November 2010

Beyond the Deal: Wage a 'Negotiation Campaign'

by James K. Sebenius


While negotiation scholars primarily take the individual transaction as the "unit of analysis," this article characterizes the (new) concept of a "negotiation campaign" in which a number of individual deals must be put together, often on multiple "fronts," to realize a larger result, typically an ultimate target agreement with sufficient support to make it sustainable. When the unit of analysis shifts from the individual deal to the campaign, a new set of analytic and practical challenges arises, which this article explores via three cases: 1) a cross-border, large-dollar complex sales effort requiring interlocking financial, political, and organizational negotiations among dozens of parties; 2) building support for a major U.S. diplomatic initiative with domestic, international, and U.N. fronts; and 3) launching a new venture requiring internal, capital-raising, licensing, and industrial partnering deals. The need to negotiate multiple, related deals is not new to negotiation theory or practice; traditional concepts such as linkage, sequencing, and coalition building certainly find application in multi-deal situations. Yet beyond such concepts, negotiation analysts can find special value in thinking in terms of campaigns, with multiple interdependent fronts, that must be artfully combined in order to generate enough sufficient support for ultimate target agreements.

Keywords: Negotiation Deal; Management Practices and Processes; Value; Problems and Challenges; Business Startups; Sales; Partners and Partnerships; Venture Capital;


Sebenius, James K. "Beyond the Deal: Wage a 'Negotiation Campaign'." Negotiation 13, no. 11 (November 2010).