The Importance of Ethical Negotiations

What does the word “negotiation” mean? Do you think it creates a negative atmosphere? Well, some people do, and the most common reason behind it is that people only relate to what other are trying to sell (goods or services). An average person negotiates for things on a daily basis: we negotiate whenever we try to encourage our kids to do their homework or when we tell our spouses to make us a sandwich. A solid definition of a negotiation would sound like this: “when two or more people exchange ideas with the intent of changing their current nature of their relationship, they’re bargaining.”

It’s easy to see how valuable it is to improve our negotiation capabilities when we look at negotiations from this angle. It’s the only way to become more successful in achieving the goals set. A very important aspect of negotiations is making sure that both parties come out on top – not just one. If this is ensured then you can expect both parties to be eager to do business again.

The Importance of Ethical Negotiations

What role do ethics play in negotiations?

If you looked up the word “ethics” in a dictionary then you will find that it means “a system of moral principles or values; the rules or standards governing the conduct of the members of a profession; accepted principles of right or wrong.” Ethics is the basis of doing the right thing, being honest and being fair.

Anyone who has negotiated a high value deal knows very well that reputation is extremely important because it helps earn the trust of the other party. They will be less eager to do business with you if you have a bad reputation. At the same time, if you are reputable when it comes to being honest, fair and are eager to do the right thing, then it will be easy to reach a compromise so that both parties can benefit from the exact same deal.

It’s important to note that building up a reputation isn’t easy and doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a considerable amount of effort to gain the respect of others but only a few words could tarnish that completely. So, it’s important to think twice before saying something during a hard negotiation.


Honesty is the best policy

If the other party knows that you’re not being honest then it will certainly affect future negotiations; in case the other party forgets to do an invoice or makes a mistake in making one, you should definitely let them know as soon as possible. This will build a strong bond between you and the other party. Mistrust is the kiss of death in business.

Always keep your word

It’s easy to make promises but following up may not be that simple. Sometimes when you’re too eager to seal the deal, you could make promises which you cannot keep. Avoid any such promises if possible and try your best to keep your word.

Have more than one option

Things may not go exactly as you’ve planned and the other party may not like what you have to offer so going in with several options will help both you and the other party achieve your goals. It’s very important to make sure that both you and your counterpart are bringing ethical options to the table.

There are negotiators who will bring one-sided deals to the table and won’t settle for a second option. Always be prepared to walk out if necessary. You should not accept a deal which looks unethical to you.


Don’t avoid the word “no” just because it may create an adversarial relationship between you and your counterpart. Some have no problem looking at the other party in the eye and saying “no” but a lot of people try to avoid the word and end up agreeing to a decision they later regret. Don’t accept a deal that does not seem ethical to you as not having the ability to say “no” is a great weakness.

Don’t give in to unethical actions ignoring the law. If you’re unsure about a certain part of the negotiation following the law, then look it up. In business, it’s always best to be honest even if your counterpart doesn’t seem that trustworthy – you can always walk away, remember that.


About William Taylor

Experienced writer William Taylor has extensive knowledge of business strategies and negotiation. His site,, offers negotiation workshops in different languages.