An integrative agreement is one in which both parties perceive that they are receiving more than they are giving up. Otherwise known as the “win-win” scenario, it is different than compromise because both parties feel they are not giving anything up in a negotiation, or that what they are getting from it is more valuable than what they concede. This is known as multiple compatible elements, and they culminate in a strong and stable agreement with a great deal of benefit for all. Sociologist Dean Pruitt identified five types of integrative agreements in his 1981 book, “Negotiation Behavior.”
Expanding the Pie
When conflicts are caused by a lack of resources, resolution can often occur by “expanding the pie,” or expanding available resources. A famous example is the following: two milk companies were vying to be the first to deliver their product on a creamery platform. Their conflict was resolved when the platform was expanded to accommodate both companies’ trucks.
In nonspecific compensation, one party gets what it wants by repaying the other party with something unrelated to the original source of conflict. The party simply “buys off” the other party’s concessions, and is able to obtain what it wants by selling something the other party has realized it wants or needs. An example of this type of integrative agreement is one of the above-mentioned milk companies paying the other one for the privilege of using the platform first.
In logrolling, one party concedes on issues it perceives as a low priority, which the other party perceives as having a high priority. Each party gets at least part of its demands it considers most important or most valuable. Logrolling has been considered a nonspecific compensation because in the milk company example, the company that gives up its right to deliver first because it considers the extra money more important than being first.
In cost cutting, one party gets what it wants but with no added cost incurred when the other party grants it. It results in high joint benefits, not because one party has changed its position, but because the other party suffers less by conceding to the demand. An example of cost cutting is when one milk company decides that being first makes no difference in how much milk it sells.
In bridging, neither party gets its original demands, but they are able to come up with new solutions that satisfy the underlying reasons for their demands. Each party’s goals have become compatible, and in the process of using this method, each party’s underlying interests and positions are discovered. An example of bridging could be the following. The milk companies discover that the assumption that delivering their milk first would give them an advantage was incorrect, but for their situations, a different delivery time would provide them with the same advantage.