Negotiation is a progression in which two sides try to resolve a dispute or argument and come to a mutual agreement (Barry, Lewicki, and Saunders, 1). According to Cellich and Jain (2003), negotiation involves the presentation of arguments by both parties to the negotiation then trying to initiate a pact that satisfies the objectives of the parties. In the case study, the main issue being negotiated is the extension of a playing contract for A. J. Washington, a skilled quarterback participating in the Los Angeles Spartans of the National Football League. The negotiations came up because the contract signed by the young football player is running out in a year, and his agent wants a contract extension and review for the player’s earnings. However, even though the club wants to retain the player for his talent, the amount of money they have available will have to be used to buy other players to improve the likelihood of the team making it to the play-offs. Since the rookie college player joined the team three years ago, the team has risen from an average team to a play-off contender. Washington’s agent, Craig Michaels, is capitalizing on the apparent impact of the player on the team to try to get a better contract and salary for the player. The other side of the negotiation, the club, is represented by the General Manager, Kolville, who wants to ensure that the club has enough funds to make the other player appreciably improve the team’s likelihood of realizing the play-offs. The General Manager also wants to retain the young player, A. J. Washington. This paper analyses the relative negotiation position of both of these parties by looking at their SWOT and BATNA profiles and coming up with an optimal negotiation strategy for the parties.
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The Los Angeles Spartans
The main strengths of the negotiation position of the football club are discussed in the following article. The first strength of the club lies in the proposal adopted by Michaels. The agent proposed that the football player’s contract be renewed based on his performance over the last three years. From the data presented, the club has an advantage in reducing the contract asked for by the lawyer because they can argue that, contrary to the agent’s presumption that the recent team success lies solely in Washington’s hands, the success can better be attributed to the introduction of Coach Thomas in 2005. The coach had a different approach to coaching that changed the prospects for the team. The second strength possessed by the club is the fact that Washington is not an experienced player yet. This means that the club can argue from the basis of inexperience in the league, which means that the player has not earned the right to a salary increase to the levels asked for by the agent.
The other strength of the club’s position is the fact that the continued success of the club is not attributable to the player. The club argues that the player is effective because of the support earned from his team members. The other strength includes the fact the player has not reached comparison statistics with the top players in the NFL. The weaknesses faced by the club include the success of the player in recent times. The agent is set to exploit this factor of the negotiation to try to get a reasonable deal. The opportunity of the association from the concession are the likelihood of having A. J. Washington on a new five-year contract, with a salary that allows the club to purchase other players for the club. The main threat faced by the football club is the possibility of a strike or holdout by Washington in protest to prolongation of the contract talks. As a result, the club should try to reduce negotiation time to a minimum.
The BATNA analysis for the football club is the offering of a reduced deal that both offers the player an opportunity to become one of the best-paid participants in the team, and still gets a contract extension. From this analysis, it can be seen that the negotiation style for the club management is a collaborating style. The target point for the club is to get the agent to agree to a $35 million settlement paid over a period of years. The reservation point for the club is a price that makes them unable to buy other players.
The main strength possessed by the agent is the playing record of the player for the last three years since he signed on as a rookie star. Since the player started playing for the club, their performance has improved and they now have a possibility of emerging victorious in the play-off. The agent can use this to disclose the fact that the player is irreplaceable. The other strength of the agent’ negotiation tactic is the age of the player in question. Form the case study, it is evident that the player is still young and has a lot of playing years before him, so his value to a club now is maximized.
The weaknesses of the argument presented by the agent are mainly the lack of enough preparation. Any negotiation requires both parties to make enough preparation and gather information regarding the interview. This interview gathering involves finding all the possible points that the implied strengths of the case possessed and how the other party to negotiation can quash them. In the negotiation, the agent presented a weak case by giving an argument that can be challenged and made to look irrelevant. The opportunity for A. J. Washington, as described by the agent is the opportunity to make it into the NFL hall of fame at a young age. This can only happen if the club agrees on the new deal proposed by the agent.
The main threat faced by the player is the likelihood of the club refusing to improve the contract held, and instead decides to go out into the market to find a quarterback as skilled as him to replace him after the end of the four-year contract. The agent approaches the negotiation with a competing negotiation style. This means that he assumes a must-win outlook so that the best deal achievable can be got for the player. The target point is a $60 million total compensation package, to be paid over the contract period, and includes a signing bonus of $25 million. This deal is considered a decent deal, and the agent’s pre-negotiation planning should include research on the next best alternative they will agree to be given.
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Barry, Bruce, and Lewicki, Roy, and Sanders, David. Negotiation, 2006. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin. Print.
Cellich, Claude, and Jain, Subhash. Global Business Negotiations: A Practical Guide, 2003. California: Delmar School. Print.