14 Affiliate 1 (1988-1989)

handle is hein.journals/aff14 and id is 1 raw text is: Roger Fisher

Getting to Yes and Beyond
BY SANDRA J.P. DENNIS
Roger Fisher is the co-author of Getting to
Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (with
William Ury; Houghton Mifflin 1981), the most
popular book ever written on negotiation techniques.
His latest book, Getting Together: Building a
Relationship that Gets to Yes (with Scott Brown;
Houghton Mifflin 1988), recently hit the bookstore
shelves. Fisher has over twenty-five years of
experience in the theory and practice of negotiation
and resolving disputes. He is the Samuel Williston
Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where he
teaches negotiation and directs the Harvard
Negotiation Project. Fisher is a senior advisor to
Conflict Management, Inc. (See accompanying
sidebar.) He is also the originator and executive
editor of The Advocates public television series,
and the co-originator and executive editor of the
public television series Arabs and Israelis. Fisher
has practiced law in Washington, DC, and consulted
on negotiations with several governments.

The Affiliate: What first inter-
ested you in negotiation and its the-
ory?
Fisher: Basically, I was concerned
with international theories. I taught
international law and then civil
procedure; clearly, most interna-
tional cases must be settled by ne-
gotiation, not by a court. You can't
solve South Africa or the Middle
East without negotiation. Then I re-
alized that most domestic cases are
settled the same way. Over the last
twenty or thirty years., I've been
working on the process for dealing
with differences.
Heretofore, most people have di-
vided the field of negotiation into
diplomacy, personal injury, labor
relations, contract negotiation, and
so forth. We looked across the board
for common elements-whatever
the subject, whether it's divorce or
diplomacy, business, or labor-we
looked for common ingredients. The
theory is that just as scientists do
better to look for the nature of mat-
ter, the atom, rather than look for

the nature of, for example, lino-
leum, we do better if we look at the
nature of conflict and how to deal
with it.
The Affiliate: Why do you think
Getting to Yes has been so success-
ful?
Fisher: It rings true to experience.
I had one businessman call me up
and say, I knew everything in the
book already; I just didn't know I
knew it. A lot of people find it rings
true to their experience; it makes
sense to them and yet it organizes
the ideas in a basic way they would
never have time to really think
about.
The Affiliate: Why did you write
the second book, Getting Together?
Fisher: Basically, Getting to Yes
was concerned with transactions,
with settling disputes and making
deals. Although there's a section
there that says we separate the
people from the problem and don't
negotiate in a way that damages the
relationship, there's nothing in

there about what is meant by a good
relationship. Most important nego-
tiations are with people we've met
before and are going to see again. It
makes all the difference in the world
if I'm negotiating with someone in
whom I have confidence and feel
fair about, not someone whom I
treat as an enemy. Everyone wants
a good relationship, whether it is an
international relationship for secu-
rity and trade, a business relation-
ship for profit, or a personal
relationship for companionship,
pleasure, or sex. A small but crucial
part of every relationship is an abil-
ity to handle differences. If you
have a successful relationship, it's
one that can deal with differences
when they come along. There's
bound to be differences whether
you're discussing what color to
paint the legs of the kitchen table
or where to go for vacation. If we
can't handle a small difference, our
relationship is in trouble. On the
other hand, if we're able to deal
(continued on page 13)

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