CPG Series Post: Role as a Pillar of Negotiation

The final pillar of negotiation is Role. Role is a shorthand way of describing a number of activities and places one fills in life. Everyone fills more than one, be it multiple roles within the workplace or community presence and family-life.

Roles can be strict or fluid, but we have a certain degree of autonomy of defining our roles. The rigidity in our roles can be defined by responsibility assigned to them, but there are a myriad of other things we do in our roles that are not so rigid. The attitude with which one goes about accomplishing the task laid out for them, or the efficiency with which the task is performed are good examples of defining your role within the parameters of responsibility. These differences in people not only open up room for a pivot point in negotiation, but also change how people are perceived in their roles.

In the case of the Warfighter, chain of command has a large influence on defining specific responsibilities, but individual differences are important in defining one’s role. How we work as a team is important in theater and roles within the team are crucial to fostering success.

For temporary roles, Fisher and Shapiro note the lack of care that is often assigned. “People often pay too little attention to temporary roles. Yet these are the easiest roles you can choose to play. No one needs to assign them. You can choose to play them on your own. In the course of a one-minute conversation, a manager may play the temporary role of problem solver, listener, advisor, and advocate. Meanwhile, the conventional role of manager remains the same.”

Satisfaction with the role you fulfill is extremely important  as a precursor to successful negotiations. Awareness of the roles that others fill will also give you, as a negotiator, an edge for knowing what kind of things may be important to someone else. This, in turn, lets you suggest and propose deals that are more likely to be accepted by all parties.

Thank you for joining us in this 5 part series on the Pillars of Negotiation. Feel free to look back at our other posts: Affiliation, Appreciation, Autonomy, and Status.


Fisher, Roger; Shapiro, Daniel (2005-10-06). Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate (p. 128). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Photo Credit: William Walsh


About the Author:


Cognitive Performance Group, LLC is a woman-owned small business with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Cleveland, Ohio. It was founded by Dr. Karol G. Ross, Jennifer K. Phillips, and William A. Ross. The three CPG Principals developed the concept for a company to support cognitive performance improvement in industry and government. (more...)

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