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Negotiation is the process where interested parties resolve disputes, agree upon courses of action, bargain for individual or collective advantage, and/or attempt to craft outcomes which serve their mutual interests. Negotiation is usually regarded as a form of alternative dispute resolution. The first step in negotiation is to determine whether the situation is in fact a negotiation. The essential qualities of negotiation are: the existence of two parties who share an important objective but have some significant difference(s). The purpose of the negotiating conference to seek to compromise the difference(s). The outcome of the negotiating conference may be a compromise satisfactory to both sides, a standoff (failure to reach a satisfactory compromise) or a standoff with an agreement to try again at a later time. Negotiation differs from "influencing" and "group decision making." See diagram.


[edit] Approaches to negotiation

Given the above definition, negotiation occurs in business, non-profit organizations, government branches, legal proceedings, among nations and in personal situations such as marriage, divorce and parenting. See also negotiation theory.

[edit] The advocate's approach

In the advocacy approach, a skilled negotiator usually serves as advocate for one party to the negotiation and attempts to obtain the most favorable outcomes possible for that party. In this process the negotiator attempts to determine the minimum outcome(s) the other party is (or parties are) willing to accept, then adjusts their demands accordingly. A "successful" negotiation in the advocacy approach is when the negotiator is able to obtain all or most of the outcomes their party desires, but without driving the other party to permanently break off negotiations, unless the BATNA (see below) is acceptable.

Traditional negotiating is sometimes called win-lose because of the assumption of a fixed "pie", that one person's gain results in another person's loss. This is only true, however, if only a single issue needs to be resolved, such as a price in a simple sales negotiation. If multiple issues are discussed, differences in the parties' preferences make win-win negotiation possible. For example, in a labor negotiation, the union might prefer job security over wage gains. If the employers have opposite preferences, a trade is possible that is beneficial to both parties. Such a negotiation is therefore not an adversial zero-sum game.

[edit] The win/win negotiator's approach

During the early part of the 20th century, academics such as Mary Parker Follett developed ideas suggesting that agreement often can be reached if parties look not at their stated positions but rather at their underlying interests and requirements. During the 1960s, Gerard I. Nierenberg recognized the role of negotiation in resolving disputes in personal, business and international relations. He published The Art of Negotiation, where he states that the philosophies of the negotiators determine the direction a negotiation takes. His Everybody Wins philosophy assures that all parties benefit from the negotiation process which also produces more successful outcomes than the adversarial “winner takes all” approach.

In the 1970s, practitioners and researchers began to develop win-win approaches to negotiation, including the publication of Getting to YES by Harvard's Roger Fisher and William Ury. The book's approach, referred to as Principled Negotiation, is also sometimes called mutual gains bargaining. The mutual gains approach has been effectively applied in environmental situations (see Lawrence Susskind and Adil Najam) as well as labor relations where the parties (e.g. management and a labor union) frame the negotiation as "problem solving".

In 2005, Harvard's Roger Fisher published a follow-up to Getting to YES called Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate (with co-author Daniel Shapiro, a Harvard psychologist). Beyond Reason identifies five "core concerns" that everyone cares about: autonomy, affiliation, appreciation, status, and role. The book shows how to use the core concerns to stimulate helpful emotions in negotiations ranging from the personal to international. In Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate, Fisher documents many of his first-hand experiences negotiating around the world, from his involvement in negotiating the Iran-Hostage situation to his advisory role in helping Jamil Mahuad, President of Ecuador (1998-2000), resolve a long-standing international border dispute.

There are a tremendous number of other scholars who have contributed to the field of negotiation, including Sara Cobb at George Mason University, Len Riskin at the University of Missouri, Howard Raiffa at Harvard, Robert McKersie and Lawrence Susskind at MIT, and Adil Najam and Jeswald Salacuse at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

[edit] Negotiation as a process

A negotiation process can be divided into six steps in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Before the Negotiation
    • Step 1: Preparing and Planning: In this step, first determine what you must have and what you are willing to give (bargaining chips). Gather facts about the other party, learn about the other party’s negotiating style and anticipate other side's position and prioritize issues. To ensure smooth negotiation, one should also prepare alternatives proposals and establish BATNA (the Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). Estimate the other party's needs, bargaining chips and BATNA. The most ideal case is to get as much as you can. You may advocate "win-win" though don't count on your opponent to be so helpful. Your opponent may try to intimidate you by creating time limits, shouting and raising doubt on your motives. For more details and suggestions on the process of negotiating, consult Negotiation/Conflict Resolution.
  • Phase 2: During the Negotiation
    • Step 2: Setting the Tone:
    • Step 3: Exploring Underlying Needs: Also important is to actively listen for facts and reasons behind other party’s position and explore underlying needs of the other party. If conflict exists, try to develop creative alternatives. In a difficult situation, don't say anything. Take time out. When we say nothing we give nothing away.
    • Step 4: Selecting, Refining, and Crafting an Agreement: It is a step in which both parties present the starting proposal. They should listen for new ideas, think creatively to handle conflict and gain power and create cooperative environment.
    • Step 5: Reviewing and Recapping the Agreement: This is the step in which both parties formalize agreement in a written contract or letter of intent.
  • Phase 3: After the Negotiation
    • Step 6: Reviewing the Negotiation: Reviewing the negotiation helps one to learn the lessons on how to achieve a better outcome. Therefore, one should take the time to review each element and ask oneself, "what went well?" and "what could be improved next time"

[edit] Tactics

Skilled negotiators use many tactics including:

  • Analyzing the negotiation and conflict management style of their counterpart
  • Setting pre-conditions before the meeting
  • Declining to speak first
  • Volunteering to keep the minutes of the meeting
  • Presenting demands
  • Time targets, i.e. Deadlines.
  • Good guy/bad guy
  • Limited authority
  • Caucusing
  • Walking out
  • Concession patterns
  • High-ball / low-ball
  • Intimidation
  • Getting it in your hands
  • Fait accompli (what's done is done)
  • Take it or leave it
  • Rejecting an offer
  • Salami Technique

[edit] See also

[edit] References and further reading

  • Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro, Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate, Viking/Penguin, 2005.
  • Catherine Morris, ed. Negotiation in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding: A Selected Bibliography. Victoria, Canada: Peacemakers Trust.
  • Howard Raiffa, The Art and Science of Negotiation, Belknap Press 1982, ISBN 0-674-04812-1
  • William Ury, Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation, revised second edition, Bantam, January 1, 1993, trade paperback, ISBN 0-553-37131-2; 1st edition under the title, Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People, Bantam, September, 1991, hardcover, 161 pages, ISBN 0-553-07274-9
  • William Ury, Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in, Revised 2nd edition, Penguin USA, 1991, trade paperback, ISBN 0-14-015735-2; Houghton Mifflin, April, 1992, hardcover, 200 pages, ISBN 0-395-63124-6. The first edition, unrevised, Houghton Mifflin, 1981, hardcover, ISBN 0-395-31757-6
  • Gerard I. Nierenberg, The Art of Negotiating: Psychological Strategies for Gaining Advantageous Bargains, Barnes and Noble, (1995), hardcover, 195 pages, ISBN 1-56619-816-X
  • The political philosopher Charles Blattberg has advanced a distinction between negotiation and conversation and criticized those methods of conflict-resolution which give too much weight to the former. See his From Pluralist to Patriotic Politics: Putting Practice First, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-19-829688-6, a work of political philosophy; and his Shall We Dance? A Patriotic Politics for Canada, Montreal and Kingston: McGill Queen's University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-7735-2596-3, which applies that philosophy to the Canadian case.
  • Leigh L. Thompson, The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator, Prentice Hall 0ct.2000, ISBN 0-13-017964-7

[edit] Film

  • The 1985 documentary film: 'Final Offer' by Sturla Gunnarsson & Robert Collision shows the 1984 union contract negotiations with General Motors. It's an interesting look at the hard world of business negotiations and union politics. It's from the 1980s but the content is still relevant today.

[edit] External links

es:Negociación eo:Traktado fr:Négociation he:משא ומתן nl:Onderhandeling pl:Negocjacje pt:Negociação ro:Negociere sl:Pogajanje sr:Преговарање


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