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.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Negotiating with unexpected call fron the one you were desperately chasing after.


(Phone rings)
Bartonic: (phone picked up) Nathan Bartonic.

Ruan: My son was involved in something he didn’t understand. And he paid the price…. He’s got a good heart…. Not like our hearts.
Bartonic: You killed Crown.
Ruan: You shoot my son.
Bartonic: No.
Ruan : ….
Bartonic: But I know who did.
Ruan: ….
Bartonic: Maybe we should meet tonight….
Ruan: ….
Bartonic: …Talk this through.
Ruan: …..
Bartonic: I know a place.
Ruan: Where?
Bartonic: ‘Club’.

Ruan who phone called Nathan (a police) is a serial bank rubber who never got caught. The Nathan is the police who had been striving for catching Ruan for years and years. For Nathan, nothing could be more heart bumping than this phone call. The reason Ruan called Nathan was, as shown in the clip, was because he thought Nathan made the recent death of his son. But Nathan did not kill the son but knew who did and tried to exchange the information with Ruan to come into sight. Ruan did agree the deal, which is just unfair. What did Nathan do to make it work? Nathan was actually prepared to negotiate. According to Deepak Malhotra (2008) there are five-step pre-negotiation framework which may help understand what cognitive process was going on in Nathan.
Step 1) Assessing your BATNA (best alternative to negotiated agreement). This step questions you “What will I do if the current negotiation ends in no deal?” “What other options will I pursue?” The answer to these questions for Nathan would be “staying awake every night regretting about the losing the chance that may never come again in his life.” and “Repeating to fail in chasing after Ruan and removed from any action”

 Step 2) Calculating your reservation value (RV). RV is the lowest offer you would be willing to accept which in turn sets when to walk-away in the current negotiation. RV calculation depends on your BATNA. As the Nathan’s BATNA is nowhere to go, he must do whatever it costs. Besides, there is nothing more than just a piece of information at his hand to be taken as a cost –in fact this does not cost him at all.

 Step 3) Assessing the other party’s BATNA.
When I was watching this part of the movie I thought that the deal was completely unfair because the risk for being arrested is way bigger than having the name of the killer. I may never be able to understand his decision before I experience discovering my child unreasonably killed by someone else. The mourning would never be comparable by anything in the world – presumably Ruan must have called Nathan for asking him why he has to kill his son or possibly warning for the revenge.

 Nathan on the other hand aptly made Ruan’s mournful mind in his use of negotiation. Nathan perceived that Ruan was desperate to know about and who made his son’s death. Nathan’s capture of Ruan’s desperation was the key to the successful negotiation.

Step4) Calculating the other party’s reservation value. Nathan’s level of negotiation skill is demonstrated by addressing this step. Ruan may have been thinking about other way to find out the killer without accepting such an foolhardy exchange if Nathan allowed days for considering. However Nathan prevented this by suggesting the appointment right ‘tonight’. By doing this Nathan was potentially eliciting the fixed-pie bias in Ruan’s mind by adding the time limit to make the meeting ‘tonight’.

Fixed-pie in negotiation refers to the circumstances that something which is interested by both parties can be gained only at the expense of the other. The only thing the both parties can do is to slice up the pie and try to get a big piece of it. Fixed-pie bias refers to the misperception of the negotiation as being under fixed-pie circumstance when it is in fact possible to expend the pie (Thompson, 2001). Ruan could have asked Nathan to tell the killer’s name first in the expense of his appearance at their appointment –the pie could have been expanded. However, Ruan chose to believe everything just as told by Nathan’s and that eventually appeared in the ‘club’ that night- thinking that is the best possible negotiation..

Against the agreement, Nathan brought a company to take down Ruan and tried to shoot against him right at his appearance without a moment to say hi. After all Nathan was shot by Ruan and died from the fighting that night. (Punishment!)


Malhotra, D., & Bazerman, M. (2007). Negotiation genius: How to overcome obstacles and achieve brilliant results at the bargaining table and beyond. Random House LLC.
Thompson, L. (2001). The mind and heart of the negotiator. Upper saddle river, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Blog 5
Heejae Park 

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