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  • Jharna Jagtiani

Ethical Considerations in Negotiation: Avoiding Malpractices

Ethical negotiation is a cornerstone of successful and sustainable business relationships, preserving reputation and preventing  consequence

Negotiation is an essential component of business and daily life, and it's often seen as a battle of wits to achieve one's goals. However, the pursuit of favourable outcomes should never compromise one's ethical standards. Unethical practices in negotiation not only tarnish your reputation but also have the potential to lead to legal consequences.

This article explores the importance of ethics in negotiation and presents a case study to illustrate the significance of avoiding malpractices.

The Essence of Ethical Negotiation

Negotiation is the process of reaching an agreement between parties with differing interests. It's a delicate balance between asserting one's position and respecting the rights and needs of the other party. Ethical considerations play a vital role in ensuring that the negotiation process is fair, transparent, and respectful.

Common Unethical Practices

Unethical practices in negotiation can take various forms, including:

  1. Deception: This involves making false statements, omitting important information, or using any form of deceit to gain an advantage.

  2. Coercion: Forcing the other party into an agreement through threats, intimidation, or manipulation.

  3. Misrepresentation: Providing false or misleading information about a product, service, or the negotiation itself.

  4. Bribery and Corruption: Offering or accepting gifts, money, or favours to influence the outcome of a negotiation.

  5. Lack of Good Faith: Entering a negotiation with no intention of reaching an agreement, wasting the other party's time.

Why Ethical Negotiation Matters

  1. Maintaining Reputation: Ethical negotiators are often trusted and respected in their industries, leading to better long-term relationships and future opportunities.

  2. Legal Consequences: Many unethical practices can lead to legal action and financial penalties.

  3. Long-term Success: Ethical negotiations are more likely to result in agreements that stand the test of time. Unethical agreements can lead to disputes, litigation, and broken relationships.

Case Study: "StarTech Electronics"

In this hypothetical case, "StarTech Electronics," an electronics manufacturer, was negotiating a supply contract with a smaller component supplier, "Reliable Components." During the negotiation, StarTech learned that Reliable was facing financial difficulties and was desperate for the contract. StarTech's negotiator, who was aware of this situation, used aggressive tactics to secure highly favourable terms.

As a result, Reliable Components accepted terms that were significantly below market rates, putting the company at risk of financial hardship. StarTech Electronics secured a lucrative deal but did so unethically. When this behaviour was discovered in the industry, it severely damaged StarTech's reputation. Reliable Components struggled financially, leading to job losses and hardship for its employees.

The Right Path: Ethical Negotiation Practices

To ensure ethical negotiations, consider the following:

  1. Transparency: Be open and honest about your goals and intentions.

  2. Fairness: Aim for a balanced agreement where both parties benefit.

  3. Respect: Treat the other party with respect and dignity.

  4. Legal Compliance: Ensure your negotiation practices adhere to all relevant laws and regulations.

  5. Long-term Perspective: Consider the potential consequences of your negotiation actions on both parties in the future.


Ethical considerations in negotiation should never be overlooked. Unethical practices may offer short-term gains but often result in long-term harm to your reputation and relationships. A successful negotiation achieves your objectives while upholding ethical standards. In the world of negotiation, ethics and success are not mutually exclusive; in fact, ethical negotiations are often the most successful in the long run.


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