Nov 13, 2019 in Exploratory

Negotiation skills are critical for business practitioners who seek to convince their clients and partners of a value of a certain product, service or idea without imposing their will on them. A business person should be in a position to convince their partner or customer to understand a problem being addressed rather than just find a solution. As a result, a client will be able to identify the relevance of the facts presented, and thus, will be more willing to adopt the idea. In essence, a negotiation process should be a win-win strategy rather than a situation presenting opposite positions between the parties involved. A business person should be able to benefit by convincing a customer of an idea, while a customer should profit by the adoption of the idea. Therefore, each party involved in the negotiation should be able to overcome the adverse emotions that may hinder effective negotiation with the other party. To enhance this objective, all the parties must avoid any forms of stereotyping and seek more options for mutual satisfaction. In this analysis, the main approaches to negotiations that ensure that each party benefits from the process will be explored. In addition, the main sources of negotiation power in regard to each negotiation context, as well as the negotiation instruments will be investigated. Thus, the analysis will provide a criterion that business practitioners and other individuals can use to ensure that their negotiation strategies are effective.

There are various tactics of conducting a negotiation. These are distributive and integrative negotiation. In a distributive negotiation, one party wins at the expense of the other one, and thus, such negotiation does not use a win-win strategy. Generally, this negotiation strategy is applied when there is competition over a limited resource. That is why this negotiation strategy is also referred to as win-lose or zero-sum negotiation strategy. Each party in a distributive negotiation strategy tries to maximize their total value without regard to the other party. Since the main focus is maximization of individual benefit, the competitors split the pie, and everyone tries to get the maximum share. Distributive negotiation is not an effective negotiation strategy for business people for various reasons. Firstly, it is unethical in regard to improving the customer welfare, and secondly, it is risky in ensuring long-term stability of the business.

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Proponents of this negotiation strategy argue that it is relevant when the association with the other party is not very necessary, or under conditions of limited and fixed resources. A typical example of a distributive negotiation strategy is when the government desires to reduce its budget expenditures by a certain percentage. In such a scenario, the government will try to avoid excessive expenditures, but, in essence, it will lead to loss of jobs, and thus, to a zero-sum game. There are various strategies for a distributive negotiation. The most fundamental strategies involve preparing for the negotiation beforehand and having realistic alternatives before entering into negotiation. Adequate preparation helps a negotiator to seek information necessary for articulating their ideas and understanding the bottom line of the other party.

On the other hand, the underlying principle that encompasses integrative negotiation as compared to other forms of negotiation is promoting a win–win situation for each party. Thus, these kinds of negotiations are aimed at enhancing relationships rather than ensuring maximum financial gain. As a result, integrative negotiation strategy is the most common form in business scenarios. An integrative negotiation strategy ensures that the interests of either party are upheld and creates integrative solutions to a difficult situation each party may face. The parties thereto must demonstrate several traits to enhance the process. These include demonstrating an open mindset that appreciates concessions and superb listening skills that ignore the other party’s surface needs. Also, the parties must demonstrate integrity and focus more on the issues that matter most for each party. The individuals involved in the negotiation must be given an opportunity to clarify their goals and objectives to allow them to make the most of the discussion.

Various steps are applied to make an integrative negotiation process effective. The first step is definition of the problem to be solved during the negotiation process. During this stage, potential gaps are defined to ensure that the parties address common issues and avoid any instances of frustration whenever objectives are not met. After a clear definition of the problem is provided beforehand, the interest of the parties in regard to the problem is identified. This serves to provide alternative solutions that address the interests and concerns of each party involved in the negotiation. Consequently, the parties of the negotiation evaluate and select among the alternatives the one that best satisfies their interests. The parties may opt to select the alternatives through various techniques. These include compromise, in which each party reaches a suitable agreement that satisfies every individual, as well as subordination of one’s interest to their consent. The parties may also decide to modify or expand the pie in order to accommodate every concern. Through brainstorming and surveys, an individual selects solutions that satisfy personal preferences based on objective standards and acceptability.

There are various factors to be taken into consideration to ensure an effective integrative negotiation. These include ensuring that each party involved in the negotiation has similar interests, which will create a common pool of ideas. Also, the parties must have confidence in their problem-solving abilities and believe in the legitimacy of the other positions even when they conflict with their own views. Consequently, the parties must have the commitment and motivation to work together to realize their common goals and objectives. The other factors to consider are creating a culture of mutual trust and understanding among the parties with a clear system of communication among the individuals. However, integrative negotiation could prove difficult in certain situations. These situations include circumstances, in which the pie is fixed and each party desires to get a share from the negotiation. Also, in some situations, the parties may be motivated by the desire to maximize their individual gains, which will compromise the objective of mutual gain in the option of a distributive negotiation strategy.

Ultimately, negotiations do not exist in a vacuum. They exist in certain contexts that differ significantly under different time and space conditions. The contextual elements that are crucial in negotiations include power, culture and relationships. Basically, power is the most influential element in most negotiation processes. It denotes the ability of an individual to satisfy one’s desires and goals by dominating another person’s styles of thinking and actions. Power may be gained from personal traits, possession of superior information, special appointment or relationship-based. As a tool to effective negotiation, the ability of a negotiator to gather and analyze data needed to corroborate his or her views and position is necessary in winning the support of the other party. Similarly, an individual may possess innate motivational, moral, cognitive and dispositional skills that will make the other party consider his or her wills in the negotiation. In addition, power may be gained from possession of key resources that include money, time and equipment that may entice the other individual to support a set of desired actions. The party in possession of power may use their influence to make others feel inferior and victimized, and thus, make them adopt their will.

There are key skills that those in power will need to articulate their views in negotiations effectively. Firstly, they must develop trust among their partners through good reputation and adoption of principles of justice. Reputation is earned from past relations with the other party, as well as the legacies created in prior relations. Once formed in the minds of the individuals, reputation serves as an indicator of prospect behaviors. Trust, in its turn, is developed from the person’s attitude and ideals of honesty in regard to a situation. If the partners associate the party with trust, then this party will be able to win their attention and support during the negotiation process.

In any particular negotiation process, communication should be enhanced as an instrument of articulating ideas and alternative measure of seeking solutions to a given problem. Both verbal and non-verbal communication should be adopted to achieve negotiation goals and solve any emerging conflicts. The main elements to be communicated include offers, associated counteroffers and motives. Also, alternative solutions and the linked outcomes of the process should be communicated. Communication should be made more effective through active listening and use of questions to clarify ideas. Also, the parties must select the most viable communication channel to use, such as print or electronic media, depending on their expected outcomes. What is more, it is important to always avoid using difficult language to enhance understanding, as well as supplement verbal communication with non-verbal cues. The parties must show acknowledgement of the other party’s views by paraphrasing the sender’s message, as well as nodding to interject or approve responses. In addition, a party must identify resistant points of the other party and always push a deal settlement as close to the resistance point as possible. Similarly, they should always convince the opposing side to reduce or eliminate their resistance point.

To conclude, the paper has discussed the main approaches to negotiation, as well as the instruments of negotiation. In relation to the analysis, there are two main approaches to negotiation. These are distributive and integrative negotiation methods. Distributive negotiation approach is a win-lose strategy, in which one party derives maximum benefit at the expense of the other one. In a distributive negotiation, the pie is fixed, and thus, each party is motivated by the desire to gain maximum benefits. In light of these conditions, distributive negotiation is not the most optimal negotiation strategy for business, in which long-term customer relationship is crucial. In an integrative negotiation agreement, each party has chances to win since it is a win-win strategy. It is most common in cases when the relationship between the parties is more important than instant gains. In every negotiation process, both verbal and non-verbal communication types are very important to clarify ideas and reach a common interest. However, negotiation differs in diverse contexts. Power and relationship effects have been determined as some of the most fundamental aspects that determine how effectively an individual can convince others to accept a certain desired outcome. Thus, a negotiation strategy under one context may differ from another one given a set of conditions that prevails in each situation.

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