The elective course on Conflict Management and Negotiations in my MBA program at GWU was a very interesting, and great educational experience. I greatly appreciated the case analyses from the textbook that we had in class, such as Capital Mortgage Insurance, or the Pacific Oil Co. cases among others. I had a few posts on this class earlier: reflections on Ridgecrest School Dispute case and some tangent thoughts born from another negotiation exercise.
Probably, the most valuable feature of the course was that we were not only going over the theoretical knowledge and concepts, but had multiple opportunities to apply the theory acquired through the lectures and the textbook to the negotiation simulations.
Also, it was beneficial that we had a broad range of simulations to try our hand at: from the private party used car haggling; to strictly business matters of real estate negotiations between the bed & breakfast owner and the national coffee shops chain; to non-profit arts world in Sally Swansong case; to the labor negotiations of the Ridgecrest School Dispute; to conflict mediation. The variety of the simulation scenarios gave a rich context for learning different approaches and trying on different negotiating styles, from extremely competitive, to rather collaborative.
As often the case in highly participatory classes, I also appreciated an opportunity to learn from my classmates, not just from the instructor. The variety of backgrounds and experiences does, in fact, enrich the overall educational experience for everyone involved.
Of course, it is hardly possible to become an effective negotiator after just going through the course. But I have learned enough basics from which I can continue enlarging my negotiating repertoire and improving my negotiating skills. Also, I now have a list of recommended books to go through, to learn some more theory and practice of negotiation.
One more thing to remember, was actually introduced in the very first lecture: our everyday life is a series of continuous negotiations and knowing the general principles and techniques of this science and art could be very beneficial in a much broader context, than just narrowly defined strict negotiating situations.
The textbook Negotiation: Readings, Exercises, and Cases by Lewicki, et al
we have used in this class is an excellent combination of theory and practical exercise. I really think it is the best textbook on Negotiation. I noticed that it is used very extensively in MBA programs throughout different Business Schools, and not only in the USA. It also has lived through the 6-th edition as of now.
Sometime I will put up the list of other recommended books on Negotiation for this class. Many of them are already classics. Once I have time to read them, I will, hopefully, have some insightful reviews of these other books.