Welcome to the website of the Mutual Gains network

The MGA network is an informal organisation of people dedicated to the theory and practice of ‘excellent negotiating’. Reflecting on the text that we published here more than ten years ago at founding the network, a lot has changed.

Although the blogs published on this site show a lot, there is still quite a lot of room for improvement. However, at the same time we experience a significant growth in the number of professionals adhering to the practise of ‘good negotiating isn’t a matter of winners and losers, but of happy faces at both sides of the table’. Professionals negotiators, but ever more also independent policy mediators, counsellors or chairpersons. 

Attention for well prepared negotiations and for what stakeholders bring to the table in carefully organised processes, the growing number of mediators and the interest of students in conflict situations: all these are hopeful signs that possibly a change is happening in thinking about negotiating.

Historically negotiating as a profession has hardly ever enjoyed much interest in The Netherlands. Content nor significance of the multitude of scientific publications, especially from the United States, didn’t seem to be noticed in the Dutch practice. Not only journalists still take the ‘winners and losers’ frame as the default. Our language is peppered with expressions like making concessions, taking a vulnerable stance and hard boiled negotiating.

Opinions determine political compromises; often it is absolutely not clear what interests and whose interests are being served after all. Not putting down clearly what agreements have been made and not being curious about and/or interested in possibilities of creative solutions presented by others are part and parcel of this murkiness. 

On the bright side: nowadays we see many negotiating successes thanks to practising the mutual gains approach (MGA). And not only Dutch translations are being published of American authors on this approach, but also Dutch authors have begun publishing. 

The MGA principles connect Strategisch Omgevings Management (SOM; Strategic Environment Management) as developed by Marc Wesselink, Verbindend Onderhandelen (Unifying Negotiating) developed by P2. Several consulting companies are able to apply the Mutual Gains Approach in landplanning processes. 

The Mutual Gains network connects MGA-professionals in their enthousiasm and professional development. Members contribute to the professional MGA implementation on a local, national and international level. Some in a capacity as independant process manager or policy mediator, others as teacher or publicist. Their names and contact details can be found here at this website -as well as inspiration for your own challenges. You will find practical examples in the blogs, trainings and publications.

Kind regards,

Frans Evers

Blogs, webinars and news in English

To visit all blogs and news in English, as well as webinars spoken in English, click here.

Profiles of our international MGA-professionals

To visit the profiles of the international MGA-professionals who are member of our network, click here.