Negotiation for City Leaders

Powerful new tools to help solve public problems

City leaders are constantly negotiating whether advancing an ordinance in city hall, bargaining with a utility company, reaching an economic development deal, agreeing to a contract with a union, forging a community agreement, or navigating jurisdictional issues. They make a wide-ranging impact not only on the city staff they work with, but more importantly, on the lives of the residents they serve.

Negotiation for City Leaders offers an intensive classroom experience featuring custom-designed case studies, simulations, and working sessions, taught by Harvard faculty. Participants in this program come from around the world, bringing a diversity of perspectives, resources, and expertise as senior city government officials. They explore topics such as preparing for negotiation; creating and claiming value; the stages of negotiation; perspectives of counterparties; multi-party complexities; and the roles of emotion, identity, power imbalance, and diversity in negotiation.

Select alumni cities of the yearlong program for mayors are invited to apply for this program.

A major takeaway is to enter negotiations with a BATNA to what I desire but yet still meet the need and be reasonable. This practice has minimized time, energy, and frustrations that I experienced immensely prior to this class. Denise Bell, Director, Division of Capital Projects
Birmingham, Alabama


of surveyed senior leaders in 2022 found the program to be extremely useful (90%) or very useful (10%).

As public servants, our work is centered on serving our community and collaborating across city departments; the training opened my eyes to the fact that negotiation and collaboration are two critical sides of the same coin. Christina Mun, Interim Housing Director
Oakland, California

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