Juan R Labrada

Three sources of power

First, power is often defined as a lack of dependence on others. This kind of power in negotiation corresponds to one’s BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. When an individual has a strong BATNA going into a negotiation, she is less dependent on the opposing party to reach her needs than she would be if she had a weak alternative or no alternative at all. Second, some positions, roles, and titles grant power simply due to the authority or control they exert over a wide range of important outcomes. This type of power, referred to as role power, is often found in organizational hierarchies. There is a third form of power that you can bring to your negotiations: psychological power. In fact, it’s possible for you to have a psychological sense of power even when you lack objective power. Although people differ in the degree to which they feel psychologically powerful in the world, they can create a temporary sense of power. When your confidence is low, you can give it a boost by thinking about a time in your life when you had power. Interestingly, being powerful and feeling powerful have essentially the same consequence for negotiations. Regardless of its source, power has consistent and predictable effects – both positive and negative – on negotiations.

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