A reliable negotiation approach for conflict management

01 April, 2023

Mr. Haseeb Shakil,
Executive Research Operations (ORIC)

Negotiation is a process of interaction between two persons to solve a matter, gain an advantage, make an agreement, defend interests, and draw a mutual conclusion that satisfies both parties. Each party strives for its own benefit that’s why negotiation pushes them to compromise. It is held in all kinds of organizations or even personal life. In business, some people think that nothing is negotiable but according to Richard Shell, negotiation is an interactive communication process that occurs when a person wants something from another person. The reason could be anything like solving a problem or changing perception etc. Even there are some reasons why parties decide not to negotiate like lack of confidence, lack of judicial authority, or time-consuming, etc.

  • The negotiation scenarios are defined by three main characteristics:
  • Conflict of interests between parties.
  • No established set of rules for resolving conflict.
  • Parties search for agreement instead of fighting

Negotiation is a problem-solving process so it can apply universally. There are many facts that can contribute to the failure and success of negotiation. To understand the goals of negotiation we must understand four concepts:

  • Issue: A problem, question, or a matter on which both parties disagree.
  • Position: A statement by a party that how the issue can be resolved.
  • Interests: A specific need that met the point of satisfaction.
  • Settlement: Possibilities that can meet the interests of one or both parties.

Negotiation can be characterized by common properties like conflict among parties, conflict can be resolved by agreement, mutual dependency among parties, and the need for a better agreement.

There are four main functions of the negotiation process:

  • Coordinate outcomes.
  • Exchange Information
  • Express Strategic Intentions and tactical actions
  • Identify patterns of behavior

Richard shell distinguishes four stages in negotiation:

  • Preparation: Need to have a clear idea then how to start the negotiation and how to express own your thoughts
  • Exchanging Information: Information provided to another party must be supported by research and to be communicated effectively.
  • Bargaining: The main work will be shaped in this stage where both parties work mutually with compromise.
  • Closing & Commitment: Last few adjustments made by involved parties before closing.

The complexity of negotiation varies by the issues and their effects. There are two main negotiation processes:

  • Win/win: Both parties strive for mutual advantage.
  • Win/lose: Both parties strive for their own advantage

Communication and its significance in Negotiation

Communication is a process where involved parties shared their views, information, and advice and raise questions. Good communication requires three main skills (verbal, non-verbal, and listening) to respond effectively. To negotiate more effectively the parties, need effective communication skills. Nonverbal communication includes gestures, body movements or facial expressions, etc. Being aware of nonverbal is very essential because it has many meanings, and it can throw a bad impression on another part. Oral communication includes thoughts, planning what to say or making notes, etc.

Effective communication is very essential for successful negotiation. Effective Communication is an art and it’s very difficult in today’s business. Effective communication requires both verbal and non-verbal skills because all the sent signs have their own worth. Successful negotiation also requires accepting other views and beliefs.

Aspirations in Negotiation

Negotiators may spend time teaching their students to assess the Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreements (BATNAs) but still not focus on aspirations. Negotiators must set goals and try to reach them otherwise they can’t reach them. A negotiator can achieve better bargaining results with strong goals and aspirations. These aspirations can be monetary like in cash and non-monetary like appreciation. Aspiration can a combination of monetary and non-monetary. Negotiators should have empirical aspirations because evidence shows that negotiators having high aspirations can achieve high bargaining results. They can keep high profits by high aspirations and sometimes exceed their specified goals. A negotiator with high aspiration goals can make highly aggressive demands. Some aspirations motivate negotiators to work harder to achieve desirable outcomes.

A negotiator needs to determine their BATNA and then use it to determine their bottom line. A specific goal motivates the negotiator to focus on his interests. If a negotiator sets the agenda “let’s see what happens” then it’s a mistake. The aspirations for the negotiation should be reasonable enough to be justifiable and the availability of objective criteria helps to justify it. Aspiration should be consistent with other aspects of effective negotiation behaviors.

Overly aggressive aspiration leads to impasse negotiation where no mutual end is possible. Sometimes a negotiator has set his bottom line higher than an objective analysis of his alternatives to reach an appropriate agreement. So that’s why higher aspirations are also not good. Negotiators fail to follow an optimistic approach because it results in disappointment when not achieved. Setting low goals protects self-esteem. A negotiator can achieve low goals easily. If a negotiator has less information about the others side, then he must set low goals. If a negotiator is less interested in the result and wants to avoid conflicts then he sets low goals.

Conclusion

In the end, we learn negotiation is a process of interaction between two persons to solve a matter and a problem-solving process so it can apply universally. Communication is a process where involved parties shared their views, information, and advice and raise questions. Effective communication is very essential for successful negotiation. Negotiators must set goals and try to reach them. A negotiator can achieve better bargaining results with strong goals and aspirations. Negotiators should have empirical aspirations because evidence shows that negotiators having high aspirations can achieve high bargaining results. A negotiator with high aspiration goals can make highly aggressive demands. Some aspirations motivate negotiators to work harder to achieve desirable outcomes. Further, aspirations should be optimistic, and specific, based on objectives, and reasons to fail for a negotiator. The role of aspirations and their importance to successful negotiations should become part of the universal concepts taught in every negotiation class.

Authors:
  1. Muhammad Haseeb Shakil
    Executive Research Operations (ORIC)
    The Superior University, Lahore
    Email: haseeb.shakil@superior.edu.pk