Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA)


What Is a Greatest Different to a Negotiated Settlement (BATNA)?

A greatest different to a negotiated settlement (BATNA) is a plan of action {that a} social gathering engaged in negotiations has decided must be taken if talks fail and no settlement will be reached.

Negotiation researchers Roger Fisher and William Ury coined the time period BATNA of their 1981 bestseller, “Attending to Sure: Negotiating Settlement With out Giving In.”

A celebration’s BATNA is the place it’s going to fall again on if negotiation proves unsuccessful.

Key Takeaways

  • BATNAs exist when negotiations should not agreeable to the events concerned.
  • A BATNA represents probably the most engaging choice out there if negotiations fail.
  • BATNAs are used to find out the reservation worth–the worst potential provide a negotiator is keen to simply accept.
  • Negotiators can enhance their place by exploring a number of BATNAs.
  • Normal negotiations are sometimes a greater and faster technique.
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Understanding a Greatest Different to a Negotiated Settlement (BATNA)

Contemplating a BATNA will be helpful to anybody in any scenario that requires negotiations, whether or not it is an worker looking for a elevate or an organization contemplating a merger. A celebration to negotiations can not make an knowledgeable choice about whether or not to simply accept an settlement except they first assume by way of their options. 

Significance of BATNA

Figuring out your BATNA upfront provides you the choice of strolling away from a foul deal. For instance, in the event you’re negotiating a value for a brand new automotive and the supplier’s remaining provide is unacceptable, what are you able to do? The plain choices are disappointing. You may take a deal you do not need or stroll away empty-handed. Or, when you have recognized your BAFTA, you’ll be able to go to a different supplier that you already know has one other make and mannequin automotive that you just like.

Your BAFTA provides you negotiating energy, even in the event you do not reveal it in the course of the negotiations. You already know you do not have to take a foul deal.


In a negotiation, one of the best different to a negotiated settlement, or BATNA, is the person’s willpower of the motion to be taken if no deal will be reached.

The zone of potential settlement, or ZONA, is the world of overlap amongst every social gathering’s BATNA.

To be actually ready for a negotiation, you do not simply have to find out your individual BATNA. You must have a way of the BATNA that one another social gathering has settled upon. If there may be any overlap amongst them, there may be the potential of an consequence that’s passable to all.

The way to Establish Your BATNA

Whereas a BATNA could not all the time be straightforward to determine, Harvard researchers have outlined a number of steps to assist make clear the method:

  1. Listing all options in case your present negotiation ends in an deadlock.
  2. Consider your options primarily based on the worth of pursuing another.
  3. Choose the choice motion(s) that will have the best anticipated worth for you.
  4. After you’ve decided your BATNA in Step 3, calculate your reservation worth or the lowest-valued deal you might be keen to simply accept.

If the worth of the deal proposed to you is decrease than your reservation worth, you need to reject the provide and pursue your BATNA. Nonetheless, if the ultimate provide is larger than your reservation worth, you need to settle for the provide.

A powerful BATNA may also assist a celebration perceive that it has an interesting different to the deal and may stroll away from a tempting provide.

Negotiation is greater than figuring out a collection of options. Understanding the nuances of negotiation ways might help enhance skilled relationships by resolving troublesome disputes.

Understanding negotiation may also enable you to consider private strengths and weaknesses within the face of battle and be taught to handle your bargaining tendencies.

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Lastly, finding out the manipulative negotiation ways employed by some expert negotiators might help neutralize their results.


To be able to attain the very best consequence, you will need to do as a lot preparation as potential earlier than getting into into negotiations. This implies not solely must you put together a robust BATNA upfront, you need to contemplate the BATNAs which may be out there to the opposing social gathering.

You could count on the opposite social gathering to do the identical–do not let the opposite facet try to downplay your BATNA.

Additionally it is potential to arrange a number of BATNAs, opposite to what the phrase “greatest” may suggest. Actually, you need to have as many as potential. The extra BATNAs in your arsenal, the extra playing cards you need to play on the negotiating desk.

Regardless of the identify, you’ll be able to put together a number of BATNAs, providing you with a stronger negotiating place.


Even once you perceive all of the out there choices, it’s potential to achieve an unsatisfactory outcome. There are various potential pitfalls in a troublesome negotiation, and it’s important for negotiators to stay disciplined below strain from the opposing social gathering.

Additionally it is essential to grasp the worth of all of the options out there. A negotiator who locations too excessive a worth on the opposite social gathering’s hand dangers making huge concessions for little profit. A negotiator who undervalues the opposite social gathering’s hand will be too intractable to maneuver.

Many negotiators turn into emotionally invested in a profitable consequence, particularly if they’ve already spent loads of time on the bargaining desk. That is the sunk value fallacy. A talented negotiator ought to all the time be able to stroll away.

Benefits and Disadvantages of BATNA

A powerful BATNA is usually a useful card on the negotiating desk, permitting events to floor their positions on a factual foundation relatively than feelings. Sturdy BATNAs additionally guarantee a backup plan, in order that the group is not going to be interrupted if the negotiations fail. It makes failure much less probably; the stronger the BATNA, the extra probably the opposing social gathering is to hunt a mutual settlement.

Nonetheless, the BATNA course of has its prices. Relying on how difficult the enterprise at hand is, discovering one of the best different is usually a prolonged and costly course of in itself.

Additionally it is not an infallible course of, and negotiators run the chance of miscalculating their choices or overlooking potentialities.

Execs and Cons of BATNA


  • Supplies a backup plan if negotiations fail.

  • Grounds negotiations in a sound factual foundation.

  • Makes settlement extra probably, as a robust BATNA is extra prone to be acceptable to all events.


  • Calculating BATNAs will be an costly and sophisticated course of.

  • Negotiators should miscalculate the associated fee or advantages of some options.

  • There may be nonetheless a threat of constructing a disadvantageous alternative.

Instance of a BATNA

For instance, Firm A makes a takeover provide of $20 million to Firm B. However Firm B’s executives consider it’s price $30 million.

Firm B rapidly rejects the provide. Nonetheless, Firm B didn’t keep in mind the growing competitors within the business and tighter laws, which is able to prohibit its progress within the coming 12 months(s) and decrease its valuation.

If Firm B had taken time to include these elements into the present valuation, and clearly moved by way of the 4 BATNA steps, together with evaluating the choice of staying the course in a troublesome enterprise atmosphere, administration might need been persuaded to simply accept.

Firm B might have included these potential dangers of their estimate of the reservation worth–the worst potential consequence a negotiator is ready to simply accept.

How Do I Discover My BATNA?

Step one to figuring out a BATNA is to listing all of the potential programs of motion that shall be out there if the negotiations fail.

Subsequent, consider the worth of every different, and decide which of them are most engaging.

Having calculated your BATNA, you may make a willpower concerning the lowest-value deal you’d be keen to simply accept.

Ought to I Reveal My BATNA in Negotiations?

A powerful BATNA can present useful leverage, however a weak BATNA ought to by no means be revealed. It solely provides the opposing facet motive to carry out for extra concessions.

For instance, in employment negotiations, a robust counteroffer from one other employer might help you discount for a better wage or extra trip time. Revealing a weak counteroffer merely signifies that you don’t have any benefits to going elsewhere.

What Is a Sturdy BATNA?

A BATNA, or Greatest Different to Negotiated Settlement, is the most suitable choice within the view of 1 social gathering in a negotiation if the talks break down. A powerful BATNA provides that social gathering a fairly engaging different to negotiation. If an settlement can’t be reached the BATNA will be carried out with minimal disruption.

What Is the Distinction Between BATNA and Reservation Worth?

A BATNA is the most suitable choice out there to 1 social gathering if negotiations fail, whereas a reservation worth is the worst deal they’d be keen to simply accept.

A reservation worth is all the time larger than the BATNA. For instance, in the event you had been shopping for a automotive, the BATNA may characterize the choice of procuring at one other supplier. The reservation worth can be the best value you might be keen to pay.

The Backside Line

Deciding in your BATNA is a key a part of the planning course of for any negotiation. Any negotiation can fail to achieve an settlement. If it does, what’s the next move? Understanding your greatest different to a negotiated settlement reveals your choice for an appropriate, if not a really perfect, decision.