In this paper, we discuss how some of the latest thinking in behavioural psychology suggests ways in which procurement practitioners can improve their negotiation skills. The work of Nobel Prize winner Dr. Daniel Kahneman and others has revolutionised thinking about how people think and make decisions. He won the Nobel Prize for showing that many economic theories were based on the false assumption that humans behave logically. But that fallacy underpins much business thinking, including negotiation theory, where we tend to assume that all parties will within reason behave rationally and logically.
In the main part of the paper, we look at three of the key behavioural psychology traits that can impact negotiation success; priming, anchoring and attitudes towards risk. All three behavioural traits suggest approaches to negotiation that may be beneficial for procurement practitioners, and (just as important) some issues we should be aware of in terms of how to ensure the negotiation does not go in a direction that might be to our own disadvantage.