Moving Goal Posts

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Identification

This happens when one puts out an acceptable offer requirement, the offer is made, and the offer is rejected. The reason for this perpetual dissatisfaction is that the parties really don’t want to negotiate, but only want the interaction. This is also used strategically and can take many forms[xii].

Example

This can happen several times within a negotiation and is very frustrating. It is used by everyone from teens arguing with parents to seasoned procurement people who issue requests for proposals. Teens want you to listen and spend time with them because they do not know how to deal with their feelings and social situations. Procurement professionals like to keep competition alive to play one bidder off another.

Solution

Trying to respond to each demand as it is changed is a fool’s errand. Do not panic when you are the victim of this frustrating dynamic. To handle this successfully, know and approve of your position and yourself as an ethical negotiator. Provide information on comparable transactions and make appropriate counteroffers. Terminate the negotiation if this tactic persists, and walk out.

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