Date of this Version


Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Draft version

Wade, J. H. (2015). Negotiating about power sharing and how to make decisions in the future.1-13

This paper is a draft version for a chapter in a second edition of a book:

Schneider, A. K., & Honeyman, C. (Eds). (2016). The Negotiator's fieldbook: The desk reference for the experienced negotiator (2nd ed.). Chicago: American Bar Association.

© Copyright, John Wade, 2015


This chapter will set out a “gradation” of legal decision-making power ranging from total to zero. Such a gradation provides a useful template and a form of “expert power” for any negotiator.

Founding fathers and mothers of clubs, churches, organizations and nations are particularly adept at negotiating balances of power in the form of “constitutions”. The founders usually negotiate with passion and persistence as they have experienced absolute power corrupting absolutely. Power sharing deals also commonly include power over budget spending; relocating children; appointing judges; hiring and firing employees; implementing medical research, prisoner release and military invasions1.

Negotiations about decision-making power raise a challenge. What is the predictable “range” of non-numerical offers, counter offers and solutions from total to zero legal power? Generic negotiation agenda questions about power often take forms such as:

  • How will future decisions be made about the following different topics----(expenditure, medical care, armament restrictions, holidays etc)?

  • Or, who will have the power to make future decisions about----?

  • What conditions, if any, should be followed before or after each type of decision is made?

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