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Cooperation, Conflict, and Negotiation



[BSc], PSY

Admission Requirements

Similarly-tagged 200- and 300-level courses.
Please note this course is only available to students of the Leiden University College The Hague.


Humans are social animals, and groups and organisations are important parts of our lives. Being in a group is advantageous because it enables you to do things you could not do alone. The problem of a group however, is that cooperation and conflict often go hand in hand; while pursuing your own goals, you may hinder someone else’s goals. People can negotiate to resolve their conflict. We negotiate every day – with employers, coworkers, roommates, landlords, parents, bosses, merchants, service providers, and others. Determining what price we will pay, how much we will get paid, what movie we will watch, and who will clean the kitchen: all of these are negotiations.

Negotiation is a constructive way to solve conflicts, and in this course we will focus on negotiation processes. We pay attention to the differences between two-party and multi-party negotiation, but also to cultural differences, emotions and cognitions.

This course provides the opportunity to develop your negotiation skills in a series of simulations and feedback sessions. Together, we will engage in a variety of bargaining processes that span the contexts of deal-making and dispute resolution. Each simulation has been chosen to highlight the central concepts that underlie negotiation strategy. You should be aware that, at times, the negotiations might make you uncomfortable or emotional. I urge students to be creative, practice newly learned behaviors, and experiment with tactics and strategies. You will learn most by truly engaging in the simulations, making the situations as real as possible.

Course Objectives

  • Students acquire advanced knowledge and insights about social psychological issues of negotiation and related organisational behaviour.

  • Students gain a broad, intellectual understanding of the central concepts in negotiation, as they apply in a variety of contexts

  • Students acquire negotiation skills and understand how to create value and reach mutually beneficial agreements.

  • Students build confidence in their negotiation skills.

  • Students improve their ability to analyze and predict the behavior of others in negotiation.

Mode of Instruction

  • Negotiation Exercises: The course is built around a series of negotiation exercises. You will conduct several negotiations with other students. Some of the negotiations are “one-on-one;” others are “group-on-group.” I will occasionally observe the negotiations to provide tailored feedback.

  • Preparation for Negotiations: Your classmates expect you to be fully prepared for each negotiation exercise. Prior to most negotiations, you are required to submit a planning document. Also, note that some exercises require you to prepare outside of class as a team – by phone, email, or in-person. Students should be prepared to stay a few minutes after class to arrange meetings with other members of the class.

  • Negotiation Debrief: We will debrief the negotiations in class. You are expected to participate in these class discussions. Your agreements will be revealed so that the class can analyze the relationship between different negotiation strategies and outcomes, learning from everyone’s experience.

  • Learning: You are encouraged to experiment with alternative styles in this “safe” environment. This is where you can lose a “million” euro and, in retrospect, be happy because you learned a critical lesson! Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and track your individual progress.


Besides several articles (to be announced), the course literature consists of a selection of chapters from this text book: Lewicki, R. J., Saunders, D. M., & Barry, B. (2011). Essentials of Negotiation (Fifth Edition, International Edition 2011). McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 978-007-126773-1

Contact Information

Dr. Wolfgang Steinel
Leiden University, Social & Organizational Psychology
Wassenaarse Weg 52, 2333 RB Leiden
Office: Pieter de la Court Building, 2A17