Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/21/12 at 10:08 AM ET
This is a guest post by Deepak Malhotra, a professor at Harvard Business School, where he teaches negotiation.
National Hockey League fans are understandably upset by yet another dispute between owners and players. The growing frustration with labor relations in professional sports stems from the perception that the conflicts in the NHL (and last year in the NFL and NBA) are due to an ugly combination of ego, greed, and incompetence. Why else would “millionaires and billionaires” be having such a hard time sharing billions of dollars in revenue? Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that.
If we want to chart the right course towards agreement, it is important to understand why even smart and well-intentioned parties may have a hard time negotiating seemingly straightforward deals – especially in the context of sports. Consider the following:
Only one side really knows how much money is up for grabs.
Say $100 is on the table, and you want your fair share of $50. But the other side is stubbornly demanding no less than $90. They seem greedy. But what if you’re the only one who can see there is only $100 available, while the other side believes that the total is $200? Are they greedy?
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