Ethical guidelines in negotiations


In order to assert their interests in the best possible way, negotiating partners repeatedly behave unethically. Such unethical behavior can manifest itself, for example, in the deliberate misinterpretation of information or the threatened termination of the negotiation if the other side does not give in. Often, however, negotiators are not even aware that they are behaving unethically because of uncertainty about what behaviors are considered ethical or unethical. From the company’s point of view, however, it is necessary to provide negotiators with guidance in this regard, because unethical behavior in negotiations leads to mistrust, a reduced willingness to compromise, failed negotiations and carries the risk of damaging business relationships in the long term, resulting in permanent economic disadvantages.

That is why more and more companies are recognizing the relevance of an ethical climate. A promising approach in practice and in the literature to create an ethical climate is the establishment of ethical guidelines that provide employees with an understanding of (un)ethical behavior. Although the use of ethical guidelines has increased due to the business importance of ethical behavior, there are few guidelines for the negotiation context that properly define the concept of ethics for negotiations. The NAP is therefore researching comprehensive requirements for formulating ethical guidelines in negotiations that companies can use to create their own ethical codes.