I hope that you have enjoyed the article “Negotiation Brinkmanship Do’s & Don’ts.”

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In the article, I gave a brief definition of negotiation brinkmanship. Here, I would like to expand upon that definition, contrasting brinkmanship with other forms of negotiation.

Here are the characteristics that make brinkmanship different than standard negotiation:

  • Brinkmanship is used at the end of a long negotiation
  • Brinkmanship usually is focused on one issue or a small subset of all issues that comprised the negotiation
  • Brinkmanship is usually centered around an impending deadline
  • Brinkmanship commonly involves a terrible alternative for both parties, yet somehow one party convinces the other that it is willing to accept that alternative if the other party doesn’t agree to its terms
  • Brinkmanship is used by a purchaser after the supplier has already said it can move no further from its position

A couple of examples of brinkmanship that stick in my head are these negotiations:

  • The negotiations between US Airways and its pilots in the late ’90’s where company executives Stephen Wolfe and Rakesh Gangwal said that if the pilots agree to a favorable contract, US Airways would grow into a global carrier and, if they didn’t, US Airways would shrink to its regional carrier roots. An agreement was reached and US Airways began growing until 9/11 dealt its near-mortal blow to the airline industry.
  • The negotiations between the ownership of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the State of Pennsylvania where the Penguins said if the state used gambling revenues to build a new arena, they would stay in Pittsburgh for the long term and, if the state didn’t, the team would move to Kansas City. An agreement was reached and now the Consol Energy Center is being built. Interestingly enough, the casino that pledged money is disputing when the first payment is due.

Both negotiations came down to the last minute. Fun stuff!

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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