Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Argo: Negotiation example

 Watch from minute: 0.30

When watching Argo this week, I encountered this moment of the movie, which it is a clear example of a negotiation.
In this scene, Less (a producer) is interested on buying the copyrights of the script of Argo from the writer, Max.
 Dobrijevic, Stanisic and Masic (2011) investigated the different sources of power use in negotiations and the most useful for each context. In this case, the context is centered on Less’s needs to buy the script. He is the interested on getting the copyrights. Dobrijevic, Stanisic and Masic (2011) found out that in negotiations where you are the interested on something the other party posses, the most useful sources of power would be: need, credibility and knowledge/information.
At the beginning of the scene it is mentioned that Less wants to run all the production and marketing in 1 month (which tells Max how much they want it and how fast they want to carry it out). Less offers 15 thousand dollars for the script at first, but Max makes clear his position and highlights how the big producer MGM is “screaming for Sci-Fi” and so they are offering him 4 times more.
Less could have increased the amount of money offered as He is in a hurry to have the script copyrights but instead of that He uses knowledge/information power he personally has about the real interests of MGM, making clear to Max that his script is not as worthy as he thinks and makes a last offer of buying it by 10 thousand pounds.
In this situation, the three factors highlighted by Dobrijevic, Stanisic and Masic(2011) are present.
Need: it is commented by the authors of the research that this category of power is related to which side needs the negotiation more. At the beginning of the scene, it looks like Less really cares about the script but he persuades Max to sell it as no one is interesting on it and pointing out the small value of it in the market at the moment.
Credibility: This power is associated to the Materials that proof your former successful work. Max mentions, against his own interests, the success of the previous work Less was involved in.
Knowledge/Information: Less uses this power as final determinant. He makes clear how he knows from first hand that the other producer company that Max mentioned was not interested at all on his script.
All this factors contributed in this conversation to the negotiation. This way, Less got the script for less amount of money than his first offer.


Dobrijevic, G., Stanisic, M., Masic, B. (2011). Sources of negotiation power: An exploratory study. Journal of Business Management. Vol 42 (2). 35-41

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