Behaviour Change

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

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Sword from Game of Thrones: A Hamilton Real State’s Case

“Value is whatever people find useful or desirable” (Malhotra & Bazerman, 2007). This statement gives us the first issue to take into account when referring to negotiation. In any persuasive conversation, you can find common elements that create the deal: Al least two parties, an object of negotiation, a price and conditions of the contract (Kennedy, 2007).

In a typical contract “the basic goal is getting the best possible deal for yourself”. This is what Malhotra and Bazerman show us in their “Negotiation Genius” through the example of Hamilton real State. In this situation, you lead a holding company, Pear Investments, specialized in real-estate investments, which posses a territory in the town of Hamilton. The main circumstances are the following: There are more companies interested in buying the property for residential use for law reasons, you can get almost twice the price if the final use is commercial and the best offer you have so far is the one made by Quincy Developments for $38 millions. Later on, another premier-state company, State One, shows interest in the property for building luxury condominiums. You this offer could increase the price of the property even in a 20%, and that you could increase the other one in a 10-15% at most. This is when you have to take your options and think carefully about the deal: what words to use for each company, choose the correct moment to make your move and so on.

In this example from the TV series “The Big Bang Theory”, a similar situation can be seen. There’s a potential buyer (Leonard and Sheldon) and the seller man, Stuart. The combination of knowledge Leonard has about selling rates of Stuart, the product to be sold and the relation between them makes Leonard being in advantage, even with Sheldon’s complete ignorance about negotiation world. When Stuart first asks about their interest on the sword, Leonard lets him see less than half of the opinion they have about it, keeping from him to know they could pay anything for it, despite that’s the real truth. Then he asks for the price, and makes Stuart know that the price he poses is still too high, and then he starts haggling. When he sees that that is working he tries to take advantage on the fact that they are most potential buyers of that sword and that Stuart is desperate for selling it and tries to “add the helmet to the basket”. Stuart does not accept that proposition, but that makes him see the preceding offer as a better one (the best alternative to negotiated agreement for Leonard and Sheldon, this is, their BATNA), finally selling the sword for 210$, 40$ less than the first established price, even with the “friends and family discount”. Even when the object was not a very special one, Leonard and Sheldon got it for the cheapest price they could have done.


Kennedy, G. (2007) Strategic Negotiation (pp. 31-40) Great Britain, UK: Gower
Malhotra, D & Bazerman, M. H. (2007) Negotiation Genius (pp. 15-24) New York, USA: Bantam

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