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West Point Negotiation Project : Principled Negotiation

Principled Negotiation 

​The theory of principled negotiation was developed by Harvard Professor Roger Fisher and his colleague, Dr. William Ury. During WWII, as a young officer in the U.S. Army Air Force, Fisher served as a B-17 aircrew meteorologist and later worked in Paris on the Marshall Plan. He devoted the rest of his life to work in fields related to international conflict. In 1979, Fisher founded the Harvard Negotiation Project (HNP), which exists today within the Program on Negotiation—a university consortium among Harvard, MIT, and Tufts. Fisher and Ury introduced principled negotiation to the world in 1981 with the book Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.


The theory has been developed into a methodology—a systematic approach to negotiation. Principled negotiation involves clear distinction between parties’ positions and interests, careful consideration of alternatives to agreement, effective communication, collaboration to create options for mutual gain, legitimization of options through use of objective criteria, appropriate delineation of commitments, and mitigation of relationship issues early but apart from substance. For more, see the following:


Fisher, R., Ury, W., and Patton, B., Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. New York: Penguin Books, 1991.

Hughes, J., Weiss, J., Kliman, S., Chapnick, D. (2008). Negotiation Systems and Strategies. In International Contract Manual. Thomson Reuters/West, 2008.

Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School: http://www.pon.harvard.edu/