What Is Distributive Bargaining? Checklist, Pros, And Cons

Allocating the resource or group of resources that the parties have decided upon is the distributive bargaining process. This requires many discussions and bargaining over specifics like money.

In contrast, integrative negotiation calls for collaboration or integration across various issues to create new sources of value.

Negotiations will take place regarding how the surplus will be distributed. Some fiscal issues it addresses include wages, salaries, and bonuses.

When bargaining on a distributive basis, one party benefits at the expense of the other. Pie is typically used to represent this.

Conflicting parties can cooperate to increase the pie size so that there is enough for them to have as much as they desire instead of concentrating on cutting it up and trying to take as much for themselves as possible.

Distributive trading is typically more competitive when compared to other types of dealing.

What is distributive bargaining?

When a resource has a set size that cannot be increased, distributed negotiation is necessary. Distributive talks involve cutting or dividing a pie. Partners must be forced to split the fixed assets they once shared or received from a business.

Each side wants to prevail to take the most significant piece. As a result, disputes arise between the parties involved in distributive bargaining.

Therefore, distributive negotiation techniques are also known as “win-lose bartering,” “claiming value,” or “zero-sum negotiating.”

Distributive bargaining is primarily used in business to resolve disputes for the least amount of money and costs possible. The negotiating process is made more challenging by the various reservations held by the integrative discussion participants.

A person is likely in their least advantageous situation when making a reservation, which is when they might consent to accept a deal or the terms of negotiation.

Throughout the negotiation process, both sides hope to persuade the other to decide in their favor.

Integral bargaining is the antithesis of distributive bargaining. To ensure everyone gets a fair share, integrative bargaining aims to increase the stake rather than divide it.

Because the desired result is more significant than what either side could accomplish on its own, this type of bargaining is more cooperative.

Integrative bargaining is frequently employed in settings requiring long-term partnerships, like families and the workplace.

How Do Distributive Bargaining Techniques Operate?

Distributive bargaining frequently entails arguing over details like price when striking a deal. Each side in a negotiation has a reservation point, which is the least favorable point at which they will agree to the terms reached and can be expressed as a price or a position.

Each tries to convince the other to take the course that will best serve their interests as they debate back and forward on.

To reach an agreement that closely resembles their desired result while getting as near their opponent’s reservation as possible without going too far, both parties must first identify their opponent’s reservation or walk-away point. 

Due to the fact that distributive bargaining causes one person’s loss to become another person’s gain, it is frequently referred to as a win-lose or zero-sum debate.

Distributive bargaining contrasts with integral bargaining, a cooperative approach meant to maximize the benefits for all parties.

Characteristics of Distributive Bargaining

Both direct and indirect communication may take place during an equitable negotiation. When neither party is willing to compromise, discussions are considered strenuous.

The parties concerned are generally prevented from moving forward by the non-moving attitude. 

The most common word to describe it is a deadlock. Instead, in a delicate conversation or bargain, both parties use a give-and-take approach where compromises and concessions are considered before forming an acceptable contract.

Due to the adaptable and creative atmosphere they foster, these agreements work best when many resources are available. 

When few resources are accessible due to a hostile and tightly regulated environment, distributive bargaining performs well.

The following information will help us comprehend the features of the distributive bargaining strategy once its guiding principles have been defined:

Different goals

To guarantee that they get the most benefits possible, the parties have mutually exclusive goals.

Potential Points to Contemplate

Negotiators must consider possible future business or relationships with peers to apply their knowledge to the current agreement.


It alludes to negotiating tactics where one party convinces the other to give up on potential victories by using information either withheld or obtained to its adversary’s disadvantage.

Importance of Distributive Bargaining

Alliances and dissociations are common in business partnerships. The parties intend to derive the most significant possible advantage from the agreement in both circumstances. People join forces intending to maximize the potential of the collaboration and with a plan in place.

Dissociation causes problems, though, and each party attempts to avoid suffering losses as soon as it does. The failure of a party is inevitable because not all parties can succeed.

In the realm of business, distributive bargaining techniques are essential. Distributive bargaining is necessary to resolve several problems.

It includes the distribution of commodities. Distributive bargaining is used to reach a collective bargaining deal between the parties. 

To bargain effectively, either every participant in the distribution process puts an attempt to comprehend what the intentions of the other participants are.

They can nonetheless agree on a distribution even though they cannot divide the resource evenly. 

On the other hand, they can focus on ensuring that everyone achieves their priority areas. Because they received what they desired, a party will be content with the distribution even if they only receive a small portion of the total.

Even when parties are conversing, distributive bargaining is used. Open debate and distributive negotiation are not mutually exclusive.

Integrative negotiation is a helpful tactic for expanding the pie (typical value), but ultimately the value created must be divided between the parties. 

If they can sufficiently increase the total, distribution will be easy. Distributive bargaining will be more complicated if there isn’t enough to meet all parties’ requests.

Examples of distributive bargaining

The acquisition of a car serves as a typical example of distributive bargaining.

A car transaction involves the participation of two distinct individuals, a buyer, and a seller. In this situation, each party is driven by different goals. The seller wants to maximize profits, whereas the buyer wants to pay the least amount of money.

Even though things seem friendly on the surface, the fundamental nature of this kind of negotiation is somewhat adversarial.

We most likely won’t interact with anyone we’ve met before when we enter a store. It’s vital to decide a lot, but it’s less essential to keep a relationship.

The vehicle salesperson is on the other side of the table, and their main goal in the negotiation is to get the best deal for their business.

Vehicle sales assistants are well-trained to persuade you to part with money, but most people are a little wary of them.

Relationship-related aspects of the negotiation are insignificant because it is unlikely that these two will continue to collaborate after the transaction.

Until an agreement is reached, the two sides exchange hostile messages.

After the conversation, the customer or the salesperson might have won. The rivalry among the negotiators is frequently increased as well.

Distributive bargaining can be helpful when trying to get the best possible deal, but intense or aggressive negotiators typically gain the most from this strategy.

What is a Distributive Bargaining Strategy? 

The highly unethical strategy of distributive bargaining, also known as zero-sum bargaining, splits a finite or scarce resource, putting one party at risk of losing future business with the other. 

Negotiating employee leave schedules and resolving insurance disputes are two instances of situations where distributive bargaining may be necessary.

Even though it’s a game of strategy and a gamble, negotiation takes a certain level of talent and finesse to succeed. 

Aside from the nature of the talks, other important factors include the negotiator’s attitude, demeanor, and projection into society.

In distributive bargaining, the parties must conceal as little information about one another’s goals and objectives while making ongoing efforts to learn more about that party because their goals are incompatible.

At last, they reach a compromise agreement through negotiation and discussion, which both sides accept.

Distributive Bargaining Tactics Checklist 

Find out what products the company offers.

Most judges are conscious of the importance of establishing one’s own bottom line or the lowest amount they agree to before terminating the discussion.

However, our competitors’ financial struggles go unnoticed by us quite frequently.

The other party’s objectives and negotiating strategies must be considered to accomplish this.

This is achieved by assessing the outcomes of the other party’s previous negotiations and identifying her most advantageous alternative to a negotiated solution (BATNA).

Construct challenging goals.

Choosing an ambitious but attainable goal or degree of aspiration should be crucial to your negotiation strategy.

Instead of making unreasonable demands, develop justifications to help your lofty goals appear sensible.

It’s crucial to identify a powerful BATNA.

Use negotiation to reinforce your BATNA once you decide if it’s possible. You’ll be in a fantastic position to reject a subpar agreement if you have a robust BATNA.

This means that having a solid BATNA typically gives you the most negotiating clout.

Pros of Distributive Bargaining

However, it is advantageous only when not everyone can profit from the bargaining tactic.

Each party can ensure they receive the most favorable outcome from the discussion by using distributive bargaining.

Valuable Aspect

When resources are limited or not everyone can benefit equally, this form of bargaining ensures the best possible deal.


Since it is doubtful that the two parties will collaborate once more, they can take all reasonable steps to maximize the advantages of the current contract.

It has been resolved.

Distributive bargaining methods are only employed when no progress is made or the other side will not budge.

Cons of Distributive Bargaining

There are still issues with effective bargaining strategies, despite their long history of use in business.

Here are some problems with distributive talks that make them a wrong choice for requirements involving distribution.

There’s no need for equitable bargaining.

According to the fundamental principle of distributive bargaining, a win-lose situation will always exist.

When one team wins, the other must forfeit. According to popular belief, expanding the pie cannot be chosen in distributive negotiation. It’s false, though. If partners so choose, the sum may be raised. 

They can guarantee that each distribution recipient receives the same quantity. To share disputes through cooperation, integrative bargaining can be a part of the distributive bargaining approach.

Not anticipating

This intense type of bargaining may have an impact on the parties’ decisions, which could affect their relationship.

Instead of being able to reach a mutually acceptable conclusion, their differences will cause any other commerce or contact to end.

Possibility of groups engaging in destructive behavior

The possibility of parties acting destructively is another drawback of distributive bargaining.

When both parties place excessive emphasis on their differences rather than attempting to work together to find a solution, the connection between the parties suffers.


Collaboration, consideration for others, and corporate integrity are not practiced. However, excessive focus is placed on the organization’s variations and objectives.

The aggressive negotiation frequently results in no other company or link between them.

Victory or losing mindset

Because the benefits of an integrative bargaining strategy, where the parties can continue to work together or collaborate in the future, can be distributed equally, it is not necessary for the fundamental tenet that if one party wins, the other parties engaged must lose, which makes it impractical.


The parties allocating resources engage in a negotiation process known as distributive bargaining.

The parties strive to ensure that everyone receives an equal portion of the benefits, making integrative bargaining more advantageous than distributive bargaining. Each side seeks to gain the most from the negotiation through distributive negotiation.

Typically, hostile environments are where distributive bargaining takes place. The winner is determined by which party has the most outstanding resource share, and the loser is determined by which party has the most negligible worth.


How can I effectively use distributive bargaining?

To effectively use distributive bargaining, it is important to understand the goals and interests of all parties involved and clearly communicate your own goals and interests.

It is also important to be prepared to make concessions and willing to walk away from the negotiation if necessary.

How can I negotiate effectively when the other party is using distributive bargaining?

To negotiate effectively when the other party is using distributive bargaining, it is important to understand their goals and interests and to be prepared to make concessions.

It may also be useful to try to find alternative negotiation strategies, such as integrative bargaining or interest-based bargaining, that can help to create a more cooperative and collaborative negotiation process.

How can distributive bargaining be harmful to negotiations?

Distributive bargaining can create a confrontational and competitive atmosphere, leading to a breakdown in communication and negotiations.

It can also damage long-term relationships and trust between parties, making it more difficult to negotiate in the future.

Similar Posts:

Was this article helpful?

Did you like this article? Why not share it: