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Negotiation Process Issues

The Nature of Negotiation in the World

“Negotiations” is the dialogue between two or more parties that may occur at both the individual and organizational levels. The purpose of every negotiation process is to reach an agreement concerning a particular issue that should result in individual or collective benefits. According to Lewicki, Saunders and Barry (2010):

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People negotiate at all times. Friends negotiate to decide where to have dinner. Business negotiate to purchase materials and sell their products…Negotiation is not a process reserved only for the skilled diplomat, top salesperson, or ardent advocate for an organized lobby; it is something that everyone does, almost daily. (p. 2)

There are different reasons for negotiations. However, the main point is to manage the problem as smoothly as possible, “the decision is based on the best outcome for the individual and should be for the collectivist while achieving a maximum individual result” (Morak, 2009, p. 3) Sometimes, negotiations may fail because people do not understand the process and do not possess the necessary negotiation skills. In this light, the conflicts may occur at the individual or organizational levels.

There are several reasons for conflict situations during negotiations; consequently, there are several types of conflicts and several key aspects of avoiding conflict situation. According to Dr. Vinod Sharma (2007), negotiations can be classified as interpersonal conflict, intrapersonal conflict (individual level) and intergroup conflict (organizational level) (p. 2). The key issues of the conflict management lie in the social and behavior aspects of behavior. In order to resolve the conflict, the individual, as well as the group, should define the goals of negotiations and define the interests of the other party.

Thus, the individual (group) should focus on the interests of the other party and “express” will for cooperation. The conflict may be expressed during the negotiations in for of verbal statements, actions and reactions (Sharma, 200, p. 4). Thus, the negotiating parties should consider the norms of the social behavior and communication rules. They should take into consideration the cultural background of the opposed party, age and gender issues.

Strategy and Tactics of Distributive Bargaining

There are two major approaches to bargain: distributive (win-lose) and integrative (win-win). “Distributive bargaining is basically a competition over who is going to get the most of a limited resource. Whether or not both parties achieve their objectives will depend on the strategies and tactics they employ”. (Lewicki, 2010, p. 33). For example, a local coffee processor and its coffee provider negotiate a new contract.

The processor hopes to pay less and a definite sum of money (10 Eu/ton) is a reservation point. The provided knows that he would be willing to sell his product to the processor for minimum 8 Eu/ton and this amount is the reservation point of the provided and for a less price he is not going to make a deal. It is an example of the distributive bargain as each party is going to get more profit from the loss of the other party. The major purpose of both parties in distributive approach is to convince the other party to change their “resistant points”. For this purpose, they can use such strategies as positive and negative bargain ranges.

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However, both parties will not enter the negotiations if they do not identify the “realistic alternatives before starting discussions” (Morak, 2009, p. 37). The distributive tactics are based on several approaches: structural which focuses on the position and power, strategic (focuses on positions), behavior (the main focus is on the personality trait its position), processual (also focuses on behavior and position). These approaches are also considered to be “win-lose” ones. However, their benefit is that they are not so time consuming as negotiations using integrative approach.

Strategy and Tactics of Integrative Negotiation

The integrative approach (or bargain strategy) presupposes that both parties want to make more of something for a mutual benefit. As opposed to a distributive bargain, “integrative approaches use objective criteria, look to create conditions of mutual gain, and emphasize the importance of exchanging information between parties and group problem-solving” (Alfredson & Cungu, 2008, p. 24). The integrative approach presupposes using of stages, strategies and preconditions of negotiations that follow. Each party should identify its interests as well as the interests of the other party. These interests should be separated from the positions.

Exclude the personal element (emotions and personal attitudes should not influence the question of negotiations). Both sides should find alternatives. The decision making process should be based on “objective criteria”. Such negotiations have a win-win potential and both parties “should still recognize and be prepared for encounters with non-integrative bargainers” (Alfredson & Cungu, 2008, p. 24). The examples of the integrative negotiations can serve political relations and social decision-making where the participants of the dialogue work out common strategies generate “options” and search for the common decisions in order to come to a mutually beneficial conclusion and succeed in interests of both parties.

In such case, the negotiators make use of the principles of the problem-solving behavior mentioned above. In integrative approach, the pre-negotiation phase has a great meaning. There should be the efficient preparations before the discussion. On this stage, the parties evaluate the issue, test their willingness for negotiations as well as the willingness of the other party. (Alfredson & Cungu, 2008, p. 24). Thus, the parties look for the frameworks to base on them their mutual agreement and find single successful way to come to a mutual benefit.

Group Negotiation, Difficult Situations and Third Party Approaches

Many factors can influence the outcomes of negotiations. One of these factors is a socials one that presupposes the number of parties participating in negotiations, cultural background, gender and age of participants, as well as personal attitudes, interpersonal skills and individual persuasive skills. In order to achieve successful outcomes of negotiations, the participants should work out certain strategies, tactics and techniques to reach agreement. The strategies and techniques that lead to agreement include the key elements in managing negotiations such as reputation, trust and justice (Lewicki, 2010, p. 307).

Reputation is form when the first impressions of one’s power to influence and shape other’s expectations are shaped. This fist impression is often very hard to re-shape, the “reputations are also influenced by an individual’s personal characteristics and accomplishments” (Lewicki, 2010, p. 308). Trust is also very important for the successful negotiations, “as the parties get to know each other and identification develops, the parties come to understand what they must do to sustain the other’s trust” (Lewicki, 2010, p. 310). Thrust helps form communal-sharing and marked-exchange relations.

The trust can be developed through meeting the expectations of the other party, stressing the benefits of the common trust, establishing credibility, keeping promises and developing good reputation (Lewicki, 2010, p. 312). The third important component of relations is the justice. It shows how the “parties view the distribution of outcomes, how they view thy process of arriving at the decision, or how they treat each other…” (Lewicki, 2010, p. 318). Justice is about fairness in actions taken by the third parties, as well as in negotiations led inside the organization.

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To ensure the success of the negotiation process, an interactive participant should possess bargaining skills and be able to develop effective assessment and planning. Thus, communication and persuasive skills head the list of bargaining skills. However, no matter what good negotiator the person is, the planning is also very important. Facts, credible information and application of the necessary strategies influence the process of negotiations.

Communication, Bias, Managing Difficulties and Individual Approaches

Communication is the basis for the negotiation process. An effective communication leads to a desirable outcome of negotiations. Communication is the process of transmission of the information from the sender to receiver trough the medium. The basic communication model looks like this: the sender encodes the information and sends the message to a receiver through the medium (channel), the receiver decodes the information and reacts on the message. The aim of the sender and receiver is to achieve comprehension and mutual understanding between communicators. This aim coincides with the purpose of negotiations.

During the negotiations, various types of information (messages) are communicated: offers and motives of both parties, information about alternatives and outcomes, social accounts, etc. However, “the more diverse the goals of the parties, the greater the likelihood that distortions and errors in communication will occur” (Lewicki, 2010, p. 175). In order to avoid these errors, the negotiators must make use of communication and persuasion techniques designed to improve negotiating effectiveness.

These techniques presuppose using verbal and non-verbal communication. Thus, in order to make speech more “influential” and persuasive, the speaker should use rhetorical questions to attract attention to the most important factors. Maintain communication with the audience or opponent while asking question involving him/her into communication. Listening is crucial factor of successful communication. Demonstrating to the opponent your attention and involvement, one gains the other’s respect.

The listening should be active, thus the emphasis should be done on listening, the respond should be done on specific ideas, the listener should follow the speaker and not focus attention on the listener’s point of view. (Lewicki, 2010, p. 194). Role reversal is the last component which serves “a useful tool for improvement communication”. A great role of the non-verbal communication, such as emotions, gestures, eye expression and pauses during negotiations (“Key Aspects of Communication in Negotiation”). All these aspects should be considered by both parties which seek for the successful outcome of negotiations.

References List

Alfredson, T.,& Cungu, A. (2008). Negotiation Theory and Practice: A Review of the Literature. Web.

Key Aspects of Communication in Negotiation”. Web.

Lewicki, R, Saunders, D, & Barry, B. (2010). Negotiation. 6th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

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Morak, D. (2009). Cooperative Negotiation. Norderstedt: GRIN Verlag.

Sharma V. (2007). Conflict and Negotiations. Web.

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