OFOI Tim Hedeen described the following class exercise about the nature of negotiation, which can easily be adapted in many ways. (If you want to give students even more of a run for their money, you might assign students to read the short piece on the definition of negotiation that Andrea Schneider, Noam Ebner, David Matz, and I wrote).
This will likely be of most interest to scholars writing in this area. In the final analysis, I think John’s original complaint that we are using BATNA “wrong” may be better directed at WATNA. I do think that many of us—myself included—have not been particularly clear about what we mean by WATNA, and in this sense may be using the term incorrectly.
In this post, I explain how I was led astray. Part of the reason is that I have come to believe – and still believe – that much of the cherished jargon in our field is misleading and confusing, as I describe below. So I was primed to believe that this was the case for BATNA too. I now realize that there is some confusion about BATNA, but not in the way I previously thought.
Counting passes of a basketball. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But there is a famous experiment which shows that many people get so engrossed in a simple task such as counting passes by a group of basketball players that they completely fail to notice the guy in the gorilla suit who walks through the room.