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Cooperation, Conflict, and Negotiation




Admissions requirements

Introduction to Psychology and Social Psychology are recommended.


Negotiation is the art and science of creating and securing cooperative agreements between two or more interdependent parties in a conflict situation. This course is an introduction to the theory and processes of negotiation as practiced in a variety of organizational settings. It is designed to expose you to negotiation problems and give you practice in applying negotiation theory to specific managerial situations.

This is a highly interactive course premised on the idea that becoming skilled at negotiation is best achieved through hands-on experiences. These experiences will be combined with presentations, discussion and reflection, readings and assignments to enhance the overall learning in the course. You will engage in two or more negotiation simulations each week of the course. The simulations are designed to illustrate points in the readings and lectures, and to give you plenty of opportunity to experiment with various negotiation styles and integrate new negotiation skills into your "tool kit".

Course objectives

After the course, you will
1.) Possess advanced knowledge and insights about social psychological issues of negotiation and related organisational behaviour;
2.) Have gained a broad, intellectual understanding of the central concepts in negotiation, as they apply in a variety of contexts;
3.) Better understand how to prepare for negotiation, and when to negotiate, and when not to negotiate;
4.) Be familiar with multiple approaches to resolving unproductive negotiations;
5.) have acquired negotiation skills and understand how to create value and reach mutually beneficial agreements;
6.) be able to analyze and predict the behavior of others in negotiation;
7.) have more confidence in your negotiation skills.


Once available, timetables will be published in the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This class applies an experiential learning approach. This means, the class is built around a number of exercises and debriefing in class discussion. Crucial elements in this format of instruction are:

  • 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.

  • Feedback to and from Fellow Students: After each role-play, students provide a short rating of their counterpart and evtl. team mates, and provided critical yet helpful feedback about how they perceived the other persons’ behavior. You will be provided with summaries of these ratings halfway through the course and at the end, which will help you consider the effect of your behavior on your reputation and relationships.

  • Readings: It is recommended to do the week’s readings AFTER the negotiation. The concepts will be more comprehensible if you have already experienced them directly, and foreknowledge of the concepts could prevent the mistakes that you need to make in order to learn. Required reading are one book (see below) and several recent journal articles, which will be available through Blackboard after each meeting.


The following contribution by students are graded: In-class participation and class discussion, incl. debriefing of negotiation exercises (14%, throughout the entire course), one graded negotiation (6%, during week 1), preparation of short planning documents for the negotiations, and reflection reports and analysis of one role-play negotiation (one report is due in week 4, which counts 5%, and another report in week 5, which also counts 5%), development of an own negotiation exercise (a group assignment due in week 6, which counts 30%), an analysis of a real-world negotiation (due in week 7, which counts 10%), two multiple-choice exams about the required readings (one in week 4 and the other in the exam week, each counts 15%).
Note that the outcomes you achieve in the role-play negotiations are not graded (with one small exception, noted above). The role-play negotiations are meant to give you a safe environment to practice and improve various negotiation styles. In order to create this safe environment and give everyone the possibility to learn from mistakes, only quality of your reflection on your behavior is graded, but not the actual outcomes you achieve in these negotiations!

Please note:

  • In accordance with article 4.8 of the Course and Examination Regulations (OER), within 30 days after the publication of grades, the instructor will provide students the opportunity to inspect their exams/coursework.

  • There is a no re-sit policy at Leiden University College.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Besides several articles (which will be available through Blackboard), the course literature consists of a selection of chapters from this text book: Lewicki, R. J., Saunders, D. M., & Barry, B. (2015). Essentials of negotiation (6th International Edition). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. ISBN:9789814577274


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. W. Steinel, Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, email:


This course combines theoretical insights with a strong focus on acquiring skills through practice and reflection. You should be aware that, at times, the negotiations might make you uncomfortable or emotional. I urge students to be creative, practice newly learned behaviour, and experiment with tactics and strategies. You will learn most by truly engaging in the simulations, making the situations as real as possible.