Logrolling Negotiation Definition

In negotiation, logrolling is the “practice of trading across issues” to secure an agreement.

It’s a tactic where each side makes a concession, also known as “trading off” an issue. The principle is to give the other party something they value more than you do, in return for something you want.


What is Logrolling Negotiation?

Logrolling can be employed to address multiple issues and can be instrumental in removing partial roadblocks. 

Negotiations are often complex, tabling numerous factors that opposing sides value differently. However, different perspectives can present an opportunity to create value.

When preparing to negotiate, experienced negotiators prioritize the issues. They’ll also make a concerted effort to understand their opponent’s preferences. Each negotiator takes it, in turn, to concede a less valuable point, in exchange for something they want more, and so on. This is logrolling.

Although it’s easier said than done, logrolling can effectively resolve an impasse, while helping participants be heard and respected. All parties make some sort of compromise but also walk away with some of their top priorities.


Example of Logrolling Negotiation

Let’s highlight how logrolling works with an example.

Imagine the employees of a company have concerns about work-life balance and pay. They want an above-inflation pay rise and the right to work remotely. Their priority is better work-life balance.

By contrast, senior management wants employees to work in the office full-time, but their priority is to maintain their costs for the year.

Through logrolling, senior management may propose a hybrid working model, allowing employees to remote work for the majority of the week, compromising with one day a week in the office. In exchange, the employees would agree to a pay rise in line with inflation, rather than above.

In this example, the employees have achieved their desire to work from home, while management has walked away with lower salary costs than originally proposed.


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