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Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t Negotiation Strategy / MBA Resources

Introduction to Negotiation Strategy

Negotiation Strategy solution for Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Negotiation Strategy and other business case study solution. Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Jennifer Aaker, Naomi Bagdonas, Peter A. Seibert. The Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t (referred as “Humor Fugere” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. It also touches upon business topics such as - negotiation strategy, negotiation framework, Leadership, Marketing, Organizational culture, Strategy.

Negotiation strategy solution for case study Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t ” provides a comprehensive framework to analyse all issues at hand and reach a unambiguous negotiated agreement. At Oak Spring University, we provide comprehensive negotiation strategies that have proven their worth both in the academic sphere and corporate world.


BATNA in Negotiation Strategy


Three questions every negotiator should ask before entering into a negotiation process-

What’s my BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement) – my walkaway option if the deal fails?

What are my most important interests, in ranked order?

What is the other side’s BATNA, and what are his interests?



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Case Description of Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t Case Study


This set of Humor: Serious Business "Caselet Studies" follows three visionaries (SPANX CEO Sara Blakely, Deloitte Partner Brian Fugere, and Friend of a Friend Productions CEO/Founder Eric Gurian) as they examine their strategic use of humor in the business world. Sara Blakely (in Using Humor to Launch a Company) explores how humor drove her revolutionary startup SPANX from a one-person startup to global phenomenon. Brian Fugere (in Bigger Than Bullsh*t) analyzes how humor helped infuse humanity back to the consulting world. Eric Gurian (in Humor Ignites Positive Action in Dark Times) discusses how humor engaged a community in a serious issue and moved people to action.


Case Authors : Jennifer Aaker, Naomi Bagdonas, Peter A. Seibert

Topic : Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Related Areas : Leadership, Marketing, Organizational culture, Strategy




Seven Elemental Tools of Negotiation that can be used in Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t solution


1. Satisfies everyone’s core interests (yours and theirs)


By interests, we do not mean the preconceived demands or positions that you or the other party may have, but rather the underlying needs, aims, fears, and concerns that shape what you want. Negotiation is more than getting what you want. It is not winning at all cost. Number of times Win-Win is better option that outright winning or getting what you want.





2. Is the best of many options

Options are the solutions you generate that could meet your and your counterpart’s interests . Often people come to negotiations with very fixed ideas and things they want to achieve. This strategy leaves unexplored options which might be even better than the one that one party wanted to achieve. So always try to provide as many options as possible during the negotiation process. The best outcome should be out of many options rather than few options.


3. Meets legitimate, fair standards

When soft bargainers meet hard bargainers there is always the danger of soft bargainers ceding more than what is necessary. To avoid this scenario you should always focus on legitimate standards or expectations. Standards are often external and objective measures to assess the fairness such as rules and regulations, financial values & resources , market prices etc. If the negotiated agreement is going beyond the industry norms or established standards of fairness then it is prudent to get out of the negotiation.


4. Is better than your alternatives or BATNA

Every negotiators going into the negotiations should always work out the “what if” scenario. The negotiating parties in the “Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t” has three to four plausible scenarios. The negotiating protagonist needs to have clear idea of – what will happen if the negotiations fail. To put it in the negotiating literature – BATNA - Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. If the negotiated agreement is not better than BATNA then there is no point in accepting the negotiated solution.


5. Is comprised of clear, realistic commitments

One of the biggest problems in implementing the negotiated agreements in corporate world is – the ambiguity in the negotiated agreement. Sometimes the negotiated agreements are not realistic or various parties interpret the outcomes based on their understanding of the situation. It is critical to do negotiations as water tight as possible so that there is less scope for ambiguity.


6. Is the result of effective communication?

Many negotiators make the mistake of focusing only on the substance of the negotiation (interests, options, standards, and so on). How you communicate about that substance, however, can make all the difference. The language you use and the way that you build understanding, jointly solve problems, and together determine the process of the negotiation with your counterpart make your negotiation more efficient, yield clear agreements that each party understands, and help you build better relationships.


7. Managing relationship with counterparty

Another critical factor in the success of your negotiation is how you manage your relationship with your counterpart. According to “Jennifer Aaker, Naomi Bagdonas, Peter A. Seibert”, the protagonist may want to establish a new connection or repair a damaged one; in any case, you want to build a strong working relationship built on mutual respect, well-established trust, and a side-by-side problem- solving approach.




Different types of negotiators – what is your style of negotiation

According to Harvard Business Review , there are three types of negotiators – Hard Bargainers, Soft Bargainers, and Principled Bargainers.

Hard Bargainers – These people see negotiations as an activity that they need to win. They are less focused less on the real objectives of the negotiations but more on winning. In the “Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t ”, do you think a hard bargaining strategy will deliver desired results? Hard bargainers are easy to negotiate with as they often have a very predictable strategy

Soft Bargainers – These people are focused on relationship rather than hard outcomes of the negotiations. It doesn’t mean they are pushovers. These negotiators often scribe to long term relationship rather than immediate bargain.

Principled Bargainers – As explained in the seven elemental tools of negotiations above, these negotiators are more concern about the standards and norms of fairness. They often have inclusive approach to negotiations and like to work on numerous solutions that can improve the BATNA of both parties.

Open lines of communication between parties in the case study “Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t” can make for an effective negotiation strategy and will make it easier to negotiate with this party the next time as well.





NPV Analysis of Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t



References & Further Readings

Jennifer Aaker, Naomi Bagdonas, Peter A. Seibert (2018), "Humor: Serious Business - Caselet Studies: Brian Fugere: Bigger Than Bullsh*t Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.


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