Christopher Coulson points out that not all forms of negotiation are collaborative.  Such non-collaborative forms of negotiation include:

  • Compromising, which may look like collaboration but is more frequently capitulation, building problems for the future
  • Competing, when both of you are fighting for your own way using whatever strategy suits you
  • Accommodating, is a distancing form of compromise. You are basically saying, “I think I can live with that.” but you are really separating yourself from the process and your partner.
  • Avoiding, which doesn’t sound like negotiation, but is a common way of not dealing with the process or each other. You might say, “I’d rather not talk about this now.”
  • Consent, because a great deal of consent may come from hidden coercion in the form of some imbalance in the relationship, e.g. financial or psychological, perceived status as moneymaker

 Collaboration derives from the unique qualities and contribution of the collaborators.  If either of you does not participate as fully engaged and equal partners, it might as well be one person making the decisions.

Christopher J. Coulson: How to maintain your autonomy in a collaborative partnership. (

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