Effective Workplace Negotiation Strategies & Skills

Employees and Employers

Knowing how to handle and relate to a supervisor is no less important than what requirements should be made to the subordinates. Without this, it is difficult to find a common language with both the boss and subordinates. Using these or those norms, an employee can attract a leader to his or her side, make him or her an ally, but a person can also set him or her against oneself, make another individual an ill-wisher. Every day, every person participates in negotiations in various social fields. As leading American experts in the field of negotiations, the ability to effectively negotiate is the key to success in business. Competent negotiation includes many components. First of all, this is the ability to analyze the situation correctly, and the problem or conflict, sociocultural conditions, and seriously prepare, negotiate and reach a mutually beneficial agreement (Tomlinson & Lewicki, 2015). It is also important to choose a specific negotiating strategy, determine the strategies of other parties, and be able to adjust and adapt the plan taking into account the strategy used by other participants. A negotiation strategy can be defined as a pre-selected approach to achieving a specific task or goal for concluding an agreement or contract during negotiations with another party or parties.

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There are a number of key strategies regarding negotiations between employees and employers in the workplace. One of the simplest negotiation strategies is avoiding or losing both sides, and this strategy gives minimal priorities to relations and results. This strategy is to avoid active negotiations or, in general, to avoid participating in negotiations. Avoidance may be a good strategy in a situation where a party is satisfied with their position, but this may not be the best approach to solving the problem. For example, US presidential candidates who are ahead of their rivals in opinion polls often refuse to negotiate when their opponents seek to increase the number of presidential debates. Another simple negotiation strategy is adaptation or gain for victory (Glaser & Risius, 2018). The use of this strategy is due to the great importance of relations and the low importance of achieving results. In this situation, the negotiator deliberately loses to maintain good relationships with the opposite side. In addition, there is a similar strategy, like competition or gain – loss (Heger & Jung, 2017). Supporters of competition give priority to achieving an acceptable result. At the same time, the relations of negotiators are unimportant, and the desire to compete is determined by the desire to win at any cost.

A more sophisticated form of negotiation strategy is cooperation or a win-win orientation of both parties. When choosing a cooperation strategy, high priority is given both to the relations of the parties and the result. Partners applying this strategy seek to maximize results while maintaining or improving relationships. Such a conclusion is most likely if both parties can find a solution to a problem or issue that satisfies each side. The analyzed strategy is based on providing the necessary information to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement. Cooperation negotiators speak and listen more and ask significantly more questions than competing parties (Susetyo, Timmermans, & de Vries, 2019). A cooperation strategy or, as it is also called, a plan for solving a problem is often the most difficult to implement.

This is due to the fact that the choice of this strategy involves determining the main problem in the course of serious analysis and disclosure of the real interests of the parties. The implementation of the cooperation strategy consists of the search for the most acceptable solution during the brainstorming of various possible options, as well as the resolution of complex problems using objective standards and criteria. A collaboration strategy is, in many respects, an ideal.

One of the most common types of negotiation strategies is a compromise. A compromise strategy is essentially a combined approach. This strategy can be used when the parties cannot reach a solution that fully satisfies all parties. A compromise is often chosen in a situation where there is some pressure or little time on the sides, and a person needs to quickly make a decision (Wertheim, Glick, & Larson, 2019). In turn, Shell argues that the compromise is a simple, fair, and quickly implemented strategy that will allow the peaceful completion of many negotiations. Each style or combination of styles has specific talents associated with it. So, for example, a person who is prone to competition, usually faster than others, is aware of how soemone can get power and influence in a particular situation. At the same time, a supporter of the adaptation strategy, as a rule, knows how to work in a team and helps others, even if there is a conflict of interest.

Unfortunately, there are situations when destructive strategies are intentionally used. Deception technologies, the purpose of which is to conceal the negotiator’s strategy and mislead the opposite side. Such technologies can be expressed in the provision of false information, as well as the deliberate use of non-verbal gestures to hide the true intentions of the negotiator. In addition, one of the parties can pretend that it is not familiar with negotiating in general, does not have sufficient experience in negotiating, and is weak in this area. Sometimes negotiators deliberately overstate or underestimate the value of the subject of discussion in negotiations. The purpose of the last trick is to get more value or pay less cost (Groves, Feyerherm, & Gu, 2015). Deception may also consist of a false demonstration of a lack of interest in a transaction or assignment.

False claims of negotiators may also be declared. Sometimes one of the parties states a desire to get something that is not really interested and to make insignificant concessions for themselves in order to obtain the desired permits of the opposite side. The negotiator may present absolutely unacceptable requirements to receive certain concessions at the desired request (Susetyo et al., 2019). Sometimes limited tactics are also used, when a person endowed with sufficient authority to make a decision simply does not come to negotiations. In the latter situation, the representative of the person vested with such powers may say that he or she needs to obtain the permission of the leader if the other party requests that he or she make concessions that the negotiator does not really want to make. Figure 1 shows various techniques and negotiation strategies that can be integrated into the process.

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One of the similar negotiation methods is pressure technology. The goal of such techniques is to convince the opposite side that she has no other choice but to accept the offer. Thus, for example, after putting forward the initial proposal, the negotiator may say that he or she is not interested in the negotiation process itself, and immediately offer the best proposal or final proposal in his or her submission (Glaser & Risius, 2018). Another form may be the manifestation of adherence or perseverance. To refuse a request to make concessions, the negotiator may simply be silent (Tomlinson & Lewicki, 2015). Tight time frames can also be a form of pressure. Sometimes the negotiator specifically puts forward a proposal with a limited duration. In some cases, negotiators may promise to complete the transaction only if the other party makes a certain concession. The form of pressure can also be the creation of physical discomforts, such as negotiating in a room where it is too stuffy or cold.

The Negotiation Clock Face
Figure 1. The Negotiation Clock Face. Steve Gates, 2019.

Employees and Third Parties

The interaction and negotiation process between an organization’s employees and customers is not significantly different from the previous forms of communication. Thus, many of the previous strategies can be implemented with a great deal of success due to the fact that both parties seek favorable conditions at the end of the negotiation. However, the major difference between employer-employee interaction and employee-third party interaction is the prevalence of conflict in the negotiation process.

The essence of the conflict consists in the emergence and development of subjective-objective acute contradictions, intractable problems and conflicts associated with blocking the basic meaning-forming needs of two or more subjects of conflict interaction, which they recognize as significant, important, requiring resolution and causing an open or hidden latent clash of opponents. The above characteristics of the conflict make it possible to differentiate real confrontations from quasi-collisions. Social strife is traditionally understood as a conflict between large and small social groups (Heger & Jung, 2017). This is an objectively existing universal phenomenon, the process of development and resolution of acute difficult to resolve contradictions in a society consisting of groups. It is associated with people’s awareness of their needs, values, interests as members of various social groups in the context of the interests of other entities. The diverging interests of social groups provoke an open or hidden confrontation, which involves the implementation of the actions of opponents aimed at neutralizing or eliminating each other.

The subjects of the negotiation process often have to, depending on the situation, either act as organizers, then as intermediaries, or as representatives of the negotiating parties. The negotiation culture of employees of the internal affairs bodies is an element of their professionalism (Wertheim et al., 2019). The term negotiation is used to refer to a wide range of situations, including conflict, in the context of which the warring parties are trying to discuss conflicts, resolve disputes, coordinate any actions, or agree on something. This concept is used in relation to situations of official negotiations both within the framework of cooperation and conditions of confrontation, when it comes, as a rule, to the distribution or redistribution of resources.

The advantages of negotiations, according to experts, in comparison with other methods of conflict settlement and resolution, are that in their process, there is a direct interaction between the warring parties (Peterson, 2015). Opponents have the opportunity to influence the process and outcome of negotiations, set timelines, and limits for discussion of the problem, determine the scope of the agreement and control various aspects of interaction as much as possible. In the conditions of directing efforts towards a joint search for a mutually beneficial settlement of the imbalance, negotiations allow people to work out agreements that satisfy all the participants in the confrontation, thereby avoiding the loss of one of the parties.

Negotiations in conflict management are considered as the most civilized way of resolving confrontations. The thoughtfulness of organizing and conducting negotiations is a necessary condition for their effective use in the process of refined resolution of conflict interaction. In this context, the importance of choosing a negotiation strategy is being updated. The approach is understood as a focus on winning, aimed at meeting the blocked needs of opponents. There are various negotiation strategies that are needed to resolve conflict situations. In this case, two types are most common: positional bargaining, oriented towards a confrontational kind of behavior, and negotiations based on mutual interests, compromises, and partnership type of relations (Groves et al., 2015). The choice of one or another negotiation strategy largely depends on the results expected by the opponents, on their understanding of success – failure.

Positional bargaining is distinguished by the following features such as negotiators strive for the fullest possible realization of their own goals, with little concern for the interests of rivals. Negotiations are conducted based on initially advanced extreme positions, without the necessary alternatives and variations, and attention is focused not on the similarities, but the differences between the conflicting parties. The actions of the participants are directed at each other, not at solving the problem, and opponents seek to hide or distort information about the essence of the problem, their true intentions, and goals (Peterson, 2015). If the conflicting parties allow third parties to participate in the negotiations, then they intend to use it to strengthen their position. As a result, as a rule, an agreement is reached that does not satisfy each of the warring parties. The prospect of failure in the negotiations may push opponents to a certain rapprochement and attempts to work out a compromise agreement. Nevertheless, this does not preclude the resumption of conflict at the first opportunity.

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To improve the results of negotiations, it is always advised to have high expectations, have the patience to listen and be a decent person. It is important to fully realize that preparation is a key factor that largely determines the course of negotiations and its outcome. It is also important to note that the most successful negotiators ask a lot of questions, clarify whether they were understood, and summarize the discussion and listen. In addition, as was emphasized, effective negotiators, keep their promises, do not deceive, and do not give hope that, in reality, it is impossible to realize. Experienced negotiators also very much monitor their reputation.

One of the main tasks of the negotiations is to create an atmosphere open for discussion, clarifying the needs of the parties, and finding a solution. Any person should be able to ask any question or speak out on any occasion and at the same time, receive a respectful answer. It is also important to accept the behavior of another, and not to treat him or her from a position of superiority. It is also important to note that the expectations of the parties strongly influence the plan, the course of negotiations, and the decision made (Peterson, 2015). The focus of the negotiations should be on long-term relationships.

The analysis shows that in order to achieve success in negotiations, it is important to choose a suitable strategy or a combination of several strategies, as well as be able to change or adjust the chosen strategy depending on the approach of other negotiators (Peterson, 2015). Significant factors conducive to successful negotiations include competent preparation, high competence of the parties on the subject of discussion, creation of a constructive atmosphere, effective communication, the ability and ability of the parties to quickly adapt to emerging negotiation situations, and, of course, the possession of such personal qualities like honesty and decency.


Gates, S. (2019). The negotiation clock face. Web.

Glaser, F., & Risius, M. (2018). Effects of transparency: Analyzing social biases on trader performance in social trading. Journal of Information Technology, 33(1), 19-30.

Groves, K. S., Feyerherm, A., & Gu, M. (2015). Examining cultural intelligence and cross-cultural negotiation effectiveness. Journal of Management Education, 39(2), 209-243.

Heger, L. L., & Jung, D. F. (2017). Negotiating with rebels: The effect of rebel service provision on conflict negotiations. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 61(6), 1203-1229.

Peterson, T. M. (2015). Insiders versus outsiders: Preferential trade agreements, trade distortions, and militarized conflict. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 59(4), 698-727.

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Susetyo, C., Timmermans, H., & de Vries, B. (2019). Orthogonal strategy based computer-mediated negotiation: Principles and example. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 46(6), 1036-1060.

Tomlinson, E. C., & Lewicki, R. J. (2015). The negotiation of contractual agreements. Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation, 1(1), 85-98.

Wertheim, E., Glick, L., & Larson, B. Z. (2019). Teaching the basics of negotiation in one class. Management Teaching Review, 4(2), 95-118.

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