Toward a Taxonomy of Negotiation Gambits

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2010


Gambits as it relates to negotiation are simply mechanisms and strategies used by those engaged in negotiation to gain an upper hand of some sort. What is classified as an upper hand will evolve depending upon the situation, the individuals, and the level of stakes considered. This paper analyzes why taxonomies or a categorical delineation of these strategies can prove to help negotiators. It also shows how they can be created in order to aid in future negotiations. The benefits of premeditated negotiation gambits could be decrease stress, provide organizations a more readily available psychological bandwidth due to preset parameters which can serve as an aid in negotiation. Negotiation demands a good amount of of memory in order to be effective. In an analysis of business school courses and which are highly desired, at the top or near the top are classes in negotiation. This is because whether we are consciously aware or not, it is going on both in and around us. It is worth noting that the awareness of gambits goes far beyond choosing which tactics to deploy, but also to becoming aware of which gambits are being used on the negotiators themselves, tactics being used on those engaged in negotiation.

Data Results

With the creation of taxonomies, we can create a common communication language for those engaged in negotiation, as well as a more systematic approach. With a systematic approach, this now provides clarity and distinction among gambits. Generally speaking, it allows negotiators to elevate their level of communication providing greater effectiveness and a larger pool of tactics and tools to draw from while negotiating. One potential difficulty or drawback is that with several categories which exist, several gambits can be potentially fitted to several categories. Nevertheless, taxonomies of these negotiation gambits can aid in removal of repetition in the terminology of negotiation gambits. There are diverse mechanisms for creating taxonomies such as factor analyses, multidimensional scaling, content analysis, survey, votes and consensus. There are various negotiation gambit examples including dividing into the categories of logos, pathos, and ethos. Future research can discover which gambits are linked with the logos, pathos, and ethics tables. Future research can also be deployed to categorize previous research that analyzed the perception of respondents related to rating of ethical levels of negotiation gambits. Future research can sort gambits via empirical methodologies, seek to discover more relative taxonomies of gambits, and further research dimensions of gambits previously not described.

Thanks to Steve Silva, Graduate Assistant, Boise State University, for writing this original abstract/summary of the paper.

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