Paltering Or Withholding Information In Negotiations

Hindering pertinent information, is it ethical? This is the ultimate debate in the world of negotiations. Aside from legal requirements, there are often many facets of a business, asset, or whatever is being negotiated for that are not brought forth in business meetings. There are two ways an individual can deceive another party: failing to disclose potentially harmful or useful information, saying a partially true statement that misleads the other party. The latter is pretty self explanatory, if you are selling a car(think a flood damaged car) that was totaled(that thru some loophole has a clean title) and you fail to disclose this information, you are withholding information. If you say something partially true with intent to mislead the other party such as “the car has a clean title, what could go wrong” you would be paltering, as you are saying truthful information yet you know it is misleading(as you know the car shouldn’t technically have a clean title, and the car will likely be problematic). Many business executives find no problem with hiding information, they actually advocate it. Pandering is a little more devious and should be avoided if possible. Someone would rather trust you than like you in negotiations, so you don’t want to trigger any mistrust in the other party. When negotiating, it is obviously ignorant to share information that will harm you. With that said if you see yourself doing business with that particular party again, pander at your own expense. This conversation ties so closely to my win-win, win-loose, negotiation strategy(see article). As a rule of thumb, disclose information that you would like someone else to disclose if you conduct business often with this particular party. If you are withholding information that will likely turn the deal completely south if revealed, you need to weigh all the pros and cons and make your own decision. There is no solid answer here; every situation varies so greatly and includes so many factors that one answer won’t suit all. If you hide information, try not to palter. I will let you guys discuss the tactic of hiding or deceiving in negotiations. This is a major grey area. What do you think?

Harvard lists 4 situations where you should hide your hand

Information that is liable to fluctuate: Prices and preferences. Anything that is not fixed or constant and liable to change.

Information that isn’t yours to share: If you are acting as an agent always consult your employer before disclosing any information.

Sensitive or privileged information: Trade secrets or financial information.

Information that diminishes your power: Don’t disclose information such as desire or desperation for a deal to go thru. This will increase the other parties leverage ten-fold.

Been in this situation? Have any thoughts? Open the discussion below!

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