Assesment 2 Essay Example

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    Management
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    Assignment
  • Level:
    Masters
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Negotiation Assessment 2

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Introduction

Negotiation is a widespread approach to resolving disputes. Negotiation can be defined as a backward and forward communication between parties to reach a common balance. Negotiation can involve two parties or more. Negotiation involving more than two parties is referred to as multiparty negotiation (Oetzel & Ting-Toomey, 2003) and is the focus of this paper. This paper reviews the general negotiation process relating to a disagreement between different parties of Connecticut Valley School (CVS) regarding the projects to be undertaken. The disagreement involved three parties; the school headmaster, the faculty budget committee and the board of trustees. However, through successful negotiation, they reached a common agreement.

Positions and Interests of All Parties and Approach to Negotiation

There are two unique types of negotiation; position-based negotiation and interest-based negotiation. Position-based negotiation is where parties state their approach to resolving the causal problem or they put forward a particular solution. Usually parties choose a position(s) that will supposedly go well with their specific interest or meets up their wishes. Interest-based negotiation is where parties clearly state their wishes, provisions or achievements they expect from the agreement before they accept it. In negotiation, it is important that each party’s «interests» and «positions» are well defined (Fisher & Ury, 2011). However, interest-based negotiation is the most preferred type of negotiation. This is because even though the parties may have clashing positions, their interests may have some common elements on which they can build to reach a mutually satisfying agreement.

Out of the above types of negotiation, there arise two distinct approaches to negotiation: (1) Distributive negotiation; and (2) Integrative/Principled negotiation. Distributive negotiation or win-lose bargaining is where parties adopt rigid positions. It arises from position-based negotiation. Integrative/Principled negotiation or win-win bargaining is centred on the benefits accruable from the negotiated issue. It focuses on the parties interests. Parties integrate their interests so as to create value and pull off highest possible benefits for each party (Lewicki et al.,2003).

In the CVS case, parties chose their positions based on the projects to be undertaken. However, for all the three parties their interests were to rank the projects according to their costs and intended benefits. Hence, parties chose to negotiate based on the costs and benefits of the projects, which were the interest for each one party, rather than the positions. In doing this they adopted an integrated approach to negotiation. Through pulling together the interests, the parties agreed on projects that each party would benefit or lay a claim on. This resulted to a win-win situation due to value creation from where each one party felt that they would have a share of the benefits from the projects they agreed to undertake.

Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) and Negotiating Power

In negotiation, it is important that each party consider several alternatives so as to avoid making a blind deal. There are four key alternatives to negotiation. Among the alternatives, most parties prefer the Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). This is the alternative that will produce the most favourable outcome for either party. This alternative is chosen if any of the party’s alternative to the negotiation is better than the agreement the parties settle on out of the negotiation. On the other hand, if the agreement the parties settle on out of the negotiation is better than any of the parties’ alternatives, the agreement will be their new BATNA (Fisher & Ury, 2011).

Parties form their own BATNAs devoid of including the other party or parties. They may do this by consulting other people out of the negotiating parties. Given this, it is true that different parties will most probably form their unique BATNAs that to an extent differ. In light of this one party is most likely to have a better BATNA compared to the BATNA from other parties. Out of this, the party with the strongest party most probably would desire to persuade the other parties to adopt his BATNA. This ability of one party to persuade the other party or parties to give in to their BATNA gives that party power over the negotiation.

Therefore, this party can use his power to their competitive advantage and dictate the direction of the negotiation. The party may opt to walk out of the negotiation with no agreement, demand more from the antagonists, and choose at what time to consent to the terms of the negotiation (Brett, 2000). However, for successful negotiation, parties are expected to desist from using power to persuade their opponents. If one party has the most sought-after BATNA they have to communicate this to other parties so that they together benefit from having the better alternative (Lewicki et al., 2004).

Most likely, all parties in the CVS case had their individual BATNAs which of course were different. Apparently, the parties reached at an agreement that was much better than each of their BATNAs. Therefore, the agreement became their BATNA as it was much better making the negotiation process successful. However, there was the likelihood that one party, for example the board of trustees, could have the power to persuade the headmaster and the faculty to give in to its project ranking if they had a better BATNA. However, no party used their power to persuade the other and hence the parties were able to reach an agreement in just a short time.

Communication

Negotiating parties have got to communicate. Good communication can make parties change their attitude to negotiation, avert or rise above stalemates and confusion and help to get better interaction. Communication can be verbal or non-verbal. Hence, parties ought to possess good communication skills such that they exchange information by words or use of expressions or figuratively. This will enable them to share their interests or positions hence are able to explore a common ground (Oetzel & Ting-Toomey, 2003).

However, communication could be hindered by several factors and therefore derail or put an end to negotiation. If the parties are not able to communicate verbally or do not understand the use of non-verbal clues, such as facial expression, gestures, among others, the exchange of information will be obstructed. Therefore parties will not be able to understand each other clearly and negotiation will be affected negatively. As Oetzel & Ting-Toomey (2003) puts it, “Effective communication is the backbone of effective negotiation”.

Parties in the CVS case deployed effective communication. They were therefore able to exchange information and ideas effectively. This enabled them to negotiate effectively and strike a mutually satisfying agreement.

Ethical Issues

In general, ethics refer to the practical social standards of what is right and what is wrong in a given condition or the procedure of coming up with those standards. In negotiation, ethical issues are vital to accepting the character of the negotiation. To reach a mutually satisfying agreement, parties to a negotiation ought to uphold high ethical standards. The parties to a negotiation must steer clear of self-interests or other temptations to practise unethical behaviour. Unethical behaviour is motivated by three underlying factors; quest of profit, craving to defeat the opponent(s), and the desire to cover or reinstate some injustice. In negotiation there are three key classes of ethical behaviour used to explain various negotiating techniques: (1) Means/ends, (2) Relativism, and (3) Truth-telling (Raiffa, 2002).

Parties in the CVS project case approached the negotiation with admirably high ethical standards. In such a way, the kept away from pursuing self interests and in the end they were able to strike an agreement.

Coalition Building

A coalition is a brief grouping of different parties so as to accomplish a common purpose. Coalition building is where parties unite to form a coalition. Coalitions are formed based on similarity of values, interests, as well as goals that allow the parties to pull their resources together and grow to be more controlling than when they would have acted individually. Through coalition building parties build up more power and influence and therefore, weaker parties become strengthened and can defend their interests in a better way (Brad, 2003).

In the case of CSV, the three parties built a coalition so as to negotiate on which projects the school should undertake. Each party had equal power to defend their interests therefore making the negotiation process successful.

If you were to participate in this exercise again, how do you think you mightapproach it?

I would approach the negotiation with a win-win situation. CVS in considering undertaking three projects out of which there is that one key project that would appeal to all parties in terms of cost and the intended benefits. Therefore I would negotiate based on that project that will satisfy each one party’s interests.

How do you think your different approach would have influenced the outcomes of the negotiation?

The approach I would have considered would be no different from the approach the parties used. Therefore, it would not to a great extent impinge on the outcomes of the negotiation.

Conclusion

Negotiation is important in dispute resolution. However, there are many other factors that dictate the success or failure of negotiation. Parties have got to negotiate based on their interests not positions which also determine their approach to negotiation. Also parties should strive to reach an agreement that is much better than each party’s BATNA such that the agreement becomes their new BATNA. Also if one party has a better BATNA, it could be a source of negotiating power. However, this should not be used to have control over the negotiation and persuade other parties to give in. Communication is also important; parties have got to ensure that they communicate effectively. If all of the above factors are considered, definitely the parties to a negotiation will reach a mutually satisfying agreement; as is in the case of CVS (Fisher & Ury, 2011).

References

Brett, J. M. (2000). Culture and Negotiation. International Journal of Psychology, 35 (2): 97-104.

Fisher, R. and Ury, W. (2011). Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. New York: Penguin Books.

Lewicki, J.R. Saunders, D.M. Barry, B. and Minton, M.W. (2004). Essentials of negotiation. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Oetzel, J. G. and Ting-Toomey, S. (2003). Face Concerns in Interpersonal Conflict: A Cross-Cultural Empirical Test of the Face Negotiation Theory. Communication
Research, 30: 599-624.

Raiffa, H. (2002). Negotiation Analysis: The Science and Art of Collaborative Decision Making. Belknap Press. Cambridge, MA.

Brad, S. (2003). Coalition Building: Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder.