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.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Joker's negotiation

“I know why do you afraid to go out at night- the Batman. The Batman has shown the true colour of Gotham unfortunately.” Although the cops and the gangsters did not welcome Joker, he managed to negotiate with them without being killed immediately. This is because Joker knew his value and values of the cops and the gangsters.

So, how to be a good negotiator and able to negotiate even when no one likes you (like Joker)?

Step 1: Negotiation preparation should be undertaken before negotiators start bargaining. The gaining of information about the potential negotiation counterparts enables negotiators to set a clearer goal by knowing their alternatives, and hence attaining a better deal (Lewicki et al. 2003). This suggests that the more you know about your alternatives, the more you know what is a good deal, and thus able to walk away when the deal is not good enough.

Step 2: Create and claim value that is within the zone of possible agreement. This means that the value should be able to motivate (e.g. maximise expected utility) and constrain the agent’s behaviour (e.g. avoid deceptive behaviour), in order to maximise the gains for each other (Rhawan et al. 2007). Regarding Young et al. (2001), negotiation strategies are especially influenced by value of maintaining one’s social identity. This reveals that placing values that mash well with the negotiator counterparts enables the reaching of agreement that, and therefore a win-win situation.

Step 3: Make the deal happen by offering the counterparts something first and hence they may offer the deal or do the concession in return. Gouldner (1960) suggested that reciprocity is a norm that provides stability within social systems and discourages exploitation in relationships between people. That means people feel more obligated when they were offered something beforehand so as to maintain a fair relationship. According to Kolyesnikova and Dodd (2009), visitors who were given free wine tasting felt more grateful towards the winery employees and were more obligated to make a purchase than those who paid for the wine tasting.

Applying these steps to Joker’s case, his sufficient understanding on the hatred of the two parties (cops and gangsters) towards Batman prior to the negotiation reveals the negotiation preparation he has done. He therefore made use of those findings and bargained, which suggested his tendency in creating a value that could reach an agreement that fits in both parties. Lastly, he offered the two parties that he could kill Batman and made the gangsters asked about what did he want for in return (i.e. reciprocity). Although both sides did not make a deal at the end of the video clip, it has clearly demonstrated Joker’s negotiation strategy matches with the above steps.
All in all, if you are able to follow the three steps in a negotiation, congratulations, you are a step further to be a good negotiator.

Ching Yiu Ng (blog 5)


Gouldner, A. W. (1960). The norm of reciprocity: A preliminary statement. American

Sociological Review, 25(2), 161-178.

Kolyesnikova, N. & Dodd, T. H. (2009). There is no such thing as a free wine tasting: The effect of a tasting fee on obligation to buy. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 26, 806-819.

Lewicki, R. J., Barry, B., Saunders, D. M., & Minton, J. W. (2003). Negotiation (4th ed). McGraw-Hill: New York.

Rahwan, I., Sonenberg, L., Jennings, N. R., & McBurney, P. (2007). Stratum: A Methodology for Designing Heuristic Agent Negotiation Strategies. Applied Artificial Intelligence, 21, 489-527.

Young, M. A. (2001). Rational Games: A Philosophy of Business Negotiation from Practical Reason. Westport,
CT: Quorum Books.

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