Hiding Authority

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Identification

A person may have the authority to negotiate, but hides their authority in order to deflect or forestall decision-making, thus keeping their options open.

Example

When the decision-maker is in fact the negotiator, but does not disclose it, this is a mark of gaming the dynamic.

Solution

The way to handle this, if it was not done at the outset by naming final decision makers or agents that can bind the parties, is to ask probing questions: “Who is the final authority?” Any ambiguous responses speak to the intent of the parties and much time can be wasted, or one negotiation group can be played off another.

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