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Distinguish Strategic Approach from Personality
While there may be some correlation between negotiation approaches and personality style, the two do not necessarily go together. For example, a competitive negotiator may be very "pleasant" to work with in terms of demeanor, but utilize extremely competitive tactics. In fact, a negotiator's pleasantries may themselves be part of an overall manipulative approach! A problem-solving negotiator may, on the other hand, be rather ornery in terms of their personality, yet effectively utilize interest-based, problem-solving strategies in negotiation.
The Best Negotiators Will Have Both Sets of Skills
It is also important to appreciate that the most effective negotiators will have a wide array of negotiation skills, both competitive and problem-solving, and will effectively mix and match these approaches depending upon what the negotiator believes will work best with a particular "negotiating partner" depending on the specific issue being negotiated and depending on the nature of the overall negotiating relationship (one-time transaction or continuing relations).
Strategies to Create Value and Claim Value
Another view of negotiation is that certain strategies and behaviors are intended to "create value" (integrative approaches) whereas other strategies and behaviors are intended to "claim value" (be that by competition or principle).
Dispute Negotiation and Transactional Negotiation
Also notice that negotiations may be divided into two types:
While it is often helpful to appreciate this difference between dispute negotiation and transaction negotiation, it is also beneficial to appreciate that many negotiation situations involve the resolution of both past issues as well as planning future relations.
The Competitive Approach
Competitive negotiation strategy is, essentially, a manipulative approach designed to intimidate the other party to lose confidence in their own case and to accept the competitor's demands. This approach is characterized by the following:
When a competitive negotiator is asked how they will know that they have reached a good agreement, they may reply that the agreement is "better than fair."
Assumptions of the Competitive Approach
Risks of the Competitive Approach
While competitive negotiation tactics are often effective in "claiming" already defined value, there are also certain risks to competitive negotiation. Foremost among these risks are damage to the negotiating relationship and a lessened overall likelihood of reaching agreement. Here is a list of the disadvantages of the competitive style:
The Integrative Approach
The integrative, collaborative or problem-solving approach to negotiation has been described as "enlightened self-interest," rather than the "egocentric variety." This approach consists of joint problem-solving, where gains are not necessarily viewed as at the expense of the other party.
Assumptions of the Integrative Approach
As one might expect, there is a different world view behind the integrative approach to negotiation. The primary assumptions of the integrative approach are the following:
Risks of the Integrative Approach
Risks of the integrative approach are based upon the common sense observation that "it takes two to collaborate." If one party is unwilling to participate in integrative, problem solving negotiation, the more collaborative negotiator may be at risk in the following ways:
In their book, Getting to Yes, Fisher and Ury set forth their concept of "Principled Negotiation." Here is a brief summary of the main points of principled negotiation:
Separate the People from the Problem
Fisher and Ury suggest that we are all people first -- that there are always substantive and relational issues in negotiation and mediation. The authors describe means of dealing with relational issues, including considering each party's perception (for example by reversing roles); seeking to make negotiation proposals consistent with the other party's interests; making emotions explicit and legitimate; and through active listening.
Focus on Interests, Not Positions
Positions may be thought of as one dimensional points in a space of infinite possible solutions. Positions are symbolic representations of a participant's underlying interests. To find out interests, you may ask questions like: "What is motivating you here?" "What are you trying to satisfy" or "What would you like to accomplish?" You may also ask: "If you had what you are asking for (your position), what would that experientially get you - what interests would that satisfy?"
In negotiation, there are multiple, shared, compatible, and conflicting interests. Identifying shared and compatible interests as "common ground" or "points of agreement" is helpful in establishing a foundation for additional negotiation discussions. Principles can often be extrapolated from "points of agreement" to resolve other issues. Also note that focusing on interests tends to direct the discussion to the present and future, and away from the difficulties of the past. If we have learned anything about the past, it is that "we can not change it." The past may help us to identify problems needing solution, but, other than that, it does not tend to yield the best solutions for the future.
Invent Options for Mutual Gain
Before seeking to reach agreement on solutions for the future, Fisher and Ury suggest that multiple solution options be developed prior to evaluation of those options. The typical way of doing this is called brainstorming. In brainstorming, the parties, with or without the mediator's participation, generate many possible solution before deciding which of those best fulfill the parties' joint interests. In developing options, parties look for mutual gains.
Select from Among Options by Using Objective Criteria
Using objective criteria (standards independent of the will of any party) is where the label "principled negotiation" comes from. Fisher and Ury suggest that solution selection be done according to concepts, standards or principles that the parties believe in and are not under the control of any single party. Fisher and Ury recommend that selections be based upon such objective criteria as precedent, tradition, a course of dealing, outside recommendations, or the flip of a coin.
What if They are More Powerful? - Developing a BATNA
In the event that the other party has some negotiating advantage, Fisher and Ury suggest that the answer is to improve the quality of your "best alternative to a negotiated agreement" (your BATNA). For example, if you are negotiating for a job and want to make a case for a higher wage, you improve your negotiating power by having another job offer available, or at least as a possibility.
What if They Won't Play or Use Dirty Tricks?
Fisher and Ury's answer to the resistant competitive negotiator is to "insist" on principled negotiation in a way that is most acceptable to the competitor. The principled negotiator might ask about the competitor's concerns, show he or she understands these concerns, and, in return, ask the competitor to recognize all concerns. Following the exploration of all interests, Fisher and Ury suggest inducing the competitive negotiator to brainstorm options and to think in terms of objective criteria for decision-making. Another way of thinking about encouraging principled or integrative bargaining is to think in terms of matching, pacing, leading and modeling. To get a negotiator to shift orientations, it is critical that they first experience themselves as fully heard in terms of content, intensity and emotion. By so matching and pacing with a negotiator (asking a few clarifying questions), the negotiator will become more open to your lead and modeling of productive means of negotiating. Negotiation Power
can be defined as "the ability of the negotiator to influence the behavior of another. Commentators have observed a variety of aspects and qualities of negotiation power. It is important for the mediator to take note of these various aspects and qualities of negotiating power as a means of assisting each negotiating party to be at his or her best in representing his or her interests in mediation. Here are a number of aspects and qualities of negotiating power that have been identified:
Overall Problem-Solving Negotiation Structure
As an overall model for effective problem-solving negotiation, please consider the following:
Agreements are negotiated through the Internet everyday, some worth millions of dollars, others effecting important relationships. E-mail, web discussions, and soon audio and video communications offer undeniable convenience and economy. The Internet reduces friction in commerce and negotiations. People agree on exchanges and reach agreements for the future. The whole purpose of the Resolution Room is to assist people to be at their best in these exchanges and reaching agreements.
Resolution Room offers a number of facilitative tools that can improve any negotiation.
The tools include problem-solving agenda development, thoughtful joint and caucus
discussion opportunities, structure, solution development, voting and consensus
determination. Each participant has, among other things, an opportunity to share
their perspective and to get what they want to say "off of their chest." Participants
are assisted to develop capable "problem solving statements." Following the
identification of a problem-solving agenda, each participant has the opportunity
to share their interests, desired outcomes and proposals. Proposals can be edited
and responded to at any time. You are also assisted to keep track of your points
of agreement. If you would like to further consider Online Resolution's Resolution
Room technology for online negotiation, please contact OnlineResolution.com
The views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc., Mediate.com or of reviewing editors.