Course Title: Negotiation, Mediation and Advocacy Skills

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Negotiation, Mediation and Advocacy Skills

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


660H Grad School of Bus and Law


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 1 2010


Malaysia Institute of Managemt


660H Grad School of Bus and Law


Offsh 3 09

Course Coordinator: Dr Jim Lewis

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 0127

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Location: Building 158, 300 Queen Street, Melbourne

Course Coordinator Availability: Various - Please Email in the first instance to arrange mutually convenient meeting time

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

No pre-requisite courses are required, however, MBA program entry criteria & capabilities are required.  This Course does assume that students are familiar with broad business issues.   Students are advised not to schedule this course in the first year of their program.  

Whilst no formal prerequisites are required, a familiarity with rudimentary general business finance and accounting is assumed.   For those with limited exposure in these matters, reading an elementary, refresher overview text is advised.  Details of a suitable elementary text are provided in the Part B section of the Course Guide.

You will also be required to read a number of articles and extracts prior to the Course.  Details of these will be provided before the first class.  The extent of the reading is lgenerally of the order of  approximately 150 pages.  

Course Description

Negotiation is an everyday activity you engage in, whether in business or in daily life.  How well you negotiate influences many facets of your life and your success, or otherwise, in business interactions.  The ability to influence people and be presuasive are important capabilities for you as a leader and manager.   In many cases, this influence is exercised via informal process and interactions but it is also often an essential skill for successful negotiations.  .

The course seeks to develop your knowledge of what is required to be influential in personal interactions and for successful negotiations.  It also provides opportunity for you to develop the skills necessary to implement this knowledge.  The skills generally are applicable across a wide range of environments.  This course, though, has an emphasis on negotiation in the business environment.

It also aims to assist you to identify your underlying values and the unconscious assumptions that you often take into a negotiation.  It highlights the importance of differentiating  between interests and positions and of the need to identify, and then focus, on your interests in the negotiating process.

The Course also provides you with an understanding of some relevant biases, predispositions and inconsistencies in humankind at large, which render accurate communication so difficult and which complicate negotiations.  It alerts you to these traits and characteristics and assists you in developing effective responses. 

The Course also provides opportunities for you to recognize, and wrestle with, ethical issues that can arise in negotiation.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

At the end of this Course, you should have the capability to:

  • Prepare effectively for negotiations.
  • Negotiate in an intelligent and effective manner in any environment.
  • Understand and actively accommodate and adjust your behaviour to ensure that your own biases in different contexts do not compromise advancement of your interests in the negotiation.
  • Manage yourself and others in team and multiparty negotiation contexts.
  • Practice reflection as a means of improving your skill base on an ongoing basis.
  • Analyse readings on the theory and practice of negotiation and influence and have a sound experiential basis from which to make informed judgments about the propositions being advocated.
  • Identify and accommodate cultural perspectives relevant to negotiation, especially in business settings.
  • Have a heightened awareness of the ethical issues in negotiation and the need to identify and address these explicitly. Have first hand appreciation that behaviour in this area reflects reality and defines one’s ethical values, rather than assertion and protestation.

At the end of this Course, you should be able to: 

  • Understand the importance of strategic issues and in particular the imperative of focusing on one’s real interests, not just positions, in evaluating compromises and prospective settlements
  • Decide on and employ the most appropriate approach and tactics for a given negotiation
  • Recognise biases and inconsistent behaviour in participants in a negotiation and to be able to address and manage around these issues.
  • Understand and have a facility with the principles and practices involved in influence and in successful negotiation
  • Prepare intelligently and thoroughly for specific negotiations in a wide range of contexts – especially business contexts

Overview of Learning Activities

This Course is an interactive, participative, experiential based course.  In its simplest expression this means that you learn by “doing”, followed thinking intelligenting about what has been done (i.e. reflecting) and "doing" again, but with adjustments in process and behaviour as a result of the reflection.  The “doing” is via actual negotiations in class. You will participate in exercises and negotiations in each class and in one electronic negotiation outside of class.  (This latter exercise occurs over a two week period in approximately mid semester and requires daily access to the internet and participation. Given that it is electronic and internet based this interaction can be conducted from anywhere on the globe and does not require presence in Melbourne or other specific location).

Of critical importance in the learning process is your willingness to examine your own performance and experiences in these negotiation experiences by way of reflection.   You will be expected to do this regularly and to discuss your observations and conclusions in class discussions and also via written Reflections on these experiences.   In oder to reflect upon your reactions to these experiences you clearly need to have been in class to experience these activities and thus to have something upon which to reflect.   As a result, you are expected to attend all classes for the full class period.

By way of analogy, learning to negotiate has some similarity to acquistion of many other life skills that require morethan just an intellectual understanding of the mechanics.  You can’t, for example, learn to ride a bike or play the piano or debate by simply reading about how these things are done.   It is the same with negotiation.   Appropriate participation is essential and is thus a threshold issue in this course.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be supplied with slides used in lectures.   A number of classic videos, illustrative of key issues, will be shown in class and discussed. A collection of relevant reading material has been assembled and you will be expected to undertake regular reading throughout the Course.  In addition, there is a specific corpus of material that must be read prior to the Course.  Details of these readings will be provide prior to the commencement of the Course.

The Course also involves use of a case study or exercise in each class.  

Overview of Assessment

A threshold issue for passing this course is an acceptable level of participation and involvement of each student.  The course is an experiential course.   As a result, students are expected to participate actively in class activiies and discussions.   Attendance at each class, where the experiences occur, is therefore imperative.   Students are expected to attend each class, for the full class period.  You need to attend classes in order to have the basis to complete the assessment tasks at a satisfactory standard.   Students who fail to attend classes and thus do not have the class experiences upon to which to draw for assessment tasks will not be in a position to undertake assessment tasks satisfactorily and thus inevitably will receive a FAIL grade.  Students need to be aware of this participation requirement and to make the necessary personal arrangements in order to meet this requirement.

With respect to formal assessment , details are provided in the Part B for each offering of the Course.  In general, typically there are several  components.  Full details are provided in the Part B of the Course Guide for each offering of the Course.  Assessment tasks will  vary with different  modes of delivery of the Course.  In the past the following activities have been typical of assessment tasks.

  • Electronic Negotiation exercise. This will  be a blind, electronic negotiation conducted over a two week period. It will involve participation on essentially a daily basis via interactions on the internet (the RMIT Learning Hub Blackboard system) Your performance in this negotiation, in terms of objectives achieved relative to objectives defined in the case, and to performance across the class cohort, will be the principal basis of the assessment. A written reflection on this experience will also be required as part of this assessment task. 
  • Group Presentation This will generally be a  presentation on a specific aspect of negotiation as agreed in discussion with the Facilitator. The presentation will be researched, developed and presented by the CLN group to which you will be assigned mid way through the Course.  The precise weighting for this task may vary depending upon the other assessment tasks chosen for any given offering but typically this Group .  
  • A scholarly written paper . This paper will usually involve analysis of one or more class exercises and with one or more external negotiations. These experiences will be the basis of the reflection component of the assessment. Typically there will also be an analytical section that will deal with a specific aspect of negotiation relevant to the reflection component.   .  
  • Tests In-class tests my be used as assessment components.  Advice on the coverage of the test will be communicated several weeks prior to the test being taken.  Details will be provided in the Part B section of the Course Guide for the specific Course offering.   

Full details of the combination of instruments used for assessment in any Course offering and the corresponding weighting of eacxh component will be included in the Part B section of the Course Guide for that offerring

No other forms of assessment are available for this course