13How Interests and Creativity Overcame a Negotiation Gap

Based on an interview with Mark Young

In some negotiations the gap between the needs of the respective negotiators is simply too large to overcome, both financially and with other issues. When this realization sets in on the parties, it is common for all involved to determine that nothing more can be done, and they decide they have no choice but to go their separate ways. This is particularly the case when there is a lack of crossover within the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA).

Such was the scenario in this case, until the parties involved altered their way of thinking by removing themselves directly from the negotiation process and designating an informal working group to take over and to determine what they could create that might satisfy the different needs the parties had. Ultimately when the parties involved set up such a group, they came to realize that other factors they had not previously considered were driving the deal. With that insight, they were able to overcome the perceived gaps and find a creative solution that worked for all the parties.

Background and the Negotiation Challenge

In 1993, as part of the reunification of East and West Germany and the subsequent privatization of many industries, the Agency in Trust (AT) decided to sell the famous Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft (DEFA) Studio. DEFA was the birthplace of the German film industry and where Fritz Lang and Marlene Dietrich, among many others, ...

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