Negotiation: an essential tool in day-to-day management

By | 9 janvier 2018

For 4 years, IÉSEG Executive Education has worked with territorial administrators from the French Institut National des Etudes Territoriales (National Institute for Territorial Studies) in the field of negotiation. This collaboration is a good example of a project co-developed by experts from IÉSEG Executive Education, ICON (the IÉSEG Center of excellence on Negotiation), and the partner organization.

Negotiation is one of IÉSEG’s key areas of expertise. In this interview, Adrian Borbély, Mediator, Trainer and Consultant in Negotiation, Antoine Decouvelaere, Consultant for IÉSEG Executive Education, and Jimena Ramirez, Professor of International Negotiation at IÉSEG and director of the IÉSEG Center on Negotiation, look at the importance of this discipline and the school’s approach to providing training solutions.

1. What does the term “negotiation” incorporate? Why is it particularly important today?


Adrian Borbély: Every time we cannot decide on our own, or it would be inappropriate to decide on our own, we must negotiate with the concerned stakeholders. This includes sales and purchasing, team and project coordination, human resource management, social dialogue and administrative dealings. New areas of negotiation may be created in the future, since young generations tend to aspire to participative management, entrepreneurship is spreading fast, exchanges are increasingly global; this is reinforced by recent legal change (cf. response 6).

2. What is the IÉSEG Executive Education approach to negotiation?

Adrian Borbély: IÉSEG currently has a center of excellence dedicated to negotiation, with 10 permanent professors, as many external experts, and dozens of managers trained every year. The expertise of IÉSEG’s Executive Education ranges from sales/purchasing to social dialogue, the management of intercultural teams and dispute prevention (mainly through mediation). We strongly believe that, whether or not you are a natural-born negotiator, it is essential to develop your negotiation skills throughout your career. We base our pedagogy on proven theories and real-life situations in order for participants to learn by doing.

3. Who does negotiation affect?

Antoine Decouvelaere: Negotiation is one of the essential skills needed to work in a company. It concerns front-line employees and managers, their own managers, sales teams, HR teams and the personnel’s representatives. The recent rise of participative management has strengthened the need to master the fundamentals of negotiation. Regardless of a person’s role in a company, it is a much-needed skill. At IÉSEG, we develop courses tailored to specific needs and adaptable for a variety of audiences.

4. What are the tangible skills developed during the negotiation training course?

Jimena Ramirez: The main skill acquired during our courses is the ability to draft an efficient negotiation strategy and put it into practice. We help participants find solutions that respond to the fundamental needs of all parties. The result of a good negotiation strategy is mutual understanding, which has a positive impact on all stakeholders. Similarly, the strategy should be adaptable to different contexts, for example salary-related or intercultural negotiations, change management, team management, conflict resolution, etc. Creativity is also an essential skill for negotiators. When parties have difficulty coming to an agreement, it is important to be able to provide creative solutions.

5. When is negotiation valuable?


Antoine Decouvelaere: When we talk about creating value through negotiation, we are most likely to think about sales negotiation (the image of a hand grasping a pen to sign a contract comes to mind). However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Negotiation skills serve to create value in many ways, not only in one’s professional life (in a team, with our peers, with personnel representatives, with colleagues, etc.) but also in one’s personal life (in a sports club, in an association, with neighbors, etc.)

Overall, negotiation is an extremely useful tool to develop our leadership skills!

6. How does negotiation help to manage the challenge of social dialogue?

Adrian Borbély: In France, the reform of labor law recently launched by the French government will lead to the multiplication of arenas of negotiation within companies, oftentimes without the presence of union representatives. This means that we will negotiate more locally, though not necessarily with seasoned negotiators. Companies should think about their social dialogue strategy, including the opportunity to train their human resources department, along with their personnel representatives, in order to guarantee a maximum level of cooperation within the company.

7. Why choose IÉSEG?

Jimena Ramirez: One of our strengths lies in our negotiation research. For example, forty years of research in the field have showed that: if we only speak about numbers, negotiation does not work; persuasion does not give conclusive results; empathy can harm agreements; and experience and self-confidence can make a difference. Although common sense often leads to opposite conclusions, research provides clarification that theory alone cannot supply. This strength, related to the experience of our expert trainers, makes our courses unique and productive learning experiences.

Please do not hesitate to contact Antoine Decouvelaere for further information –  +33 788 673 944

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts/articles are those of the author (s) alone and do not represent those of IÉSEG School of Management /ICON. ICON welcomes all feedback and comment on articles posted on this blog:

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