Organizational Behavior

Start Free Trial

What is the difference between distributive and integrative bargaining?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Distributive bargaining is a negotiation strategy that leads to a win-lose situation. For instance, when bargaining for the cost of a service or product, one party tends to gain more than the other. Therefore, people use this strategy to ensure that they do not give up more than the other party. The main objective of distributive bargaining is to win as much as possible at the expense of the other party. The strategy is mostly used when negotiating prices.

On the other hand, integrative bargaining is a strategy that leads to a win-win situation. Therefore, both parties take each other’s needs into consideration. For instance, when negotiating the price of a product or service, both parties must gain or lose equally.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Integrative and distributive bargaining are both essential to business transactions. The basic difference between the two types of bargaining is that one is ongoing and one is a time-time event.  Distributive bargaining is what you do when you make a one-time negotiation, but integrative bargaining is an ongoing transaction adapted over time.

We encounter distributive negotiation every time we buy a car or ask for a discount on an as-is item. Integrative negotiations happen on an ongoing basis, such as agreeing to let our children go to bed an hour later in exchange for mowing the lawn. (smallbusiness.chron.com)

Negotiation and bargaining are always a matter of give and take.  You need to have good faith to negotiation on an integrative basis.  Basically, there has to be some trust.  Even in distributive bargaining that is important, because you never know when you are going to have to negotiate with the person or company again.

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team