Negotiation: Strategies for Mutual Gain

How do you enhance your negotiating power? Negotiation: Strategies for Mutual Gain, is an attempt to answer that. Negotiation: Strategies for Mutual Gain, is a collection of key ideas and process strategies about negotiating and resolving disputes more effectively. It is about breaking the paradigm of winning and losing and transforming negotiation into a search for improved solutions to problems. This book is for all people of all careers and all purposes whether at work, at home, the store or any place were Negotiations ideas prove useful. In this paper I will outline and summarize the methods and ideas of the three main parts of the book, which are: Frameworks for Effective Negotiation, Applying Mutual Gains to Organizations and Perspectives on Individual Negotiators. In part 1, chapter 1 outlines the authors Fisher and Ury techniques to negotiating; in chapter 2 it outlines Raiffa’s highly analytic approach to negotiating and chapter 3 outlines Straus’s theories. Part 2 themes are how to apply the authors mentioned ideas of problem –solving frameworks to organizations. In part 3, each of the authors discusses how the issues of individual style, perception and gender affect the process of negotiation. All of the authors offer coherent techniques and incisive ideas for readers to integrate into their own negotiation frameworks (Hall 2). I feel anyone and everyone can use these ideas of negotiation in their lives and become a better negotiator.

In chapter one of part one it deals with the issue on how you negotiate and prepare to negotiate. In negotiation the way you negotiate makes all the difference in the world. Negotiation power is the ability to persuade someone to do something (4). There are many sources of negotiation power, one is having good BATNA- Best Alternative To a Negotiation power are people, interests, options and objective criteria.

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Developing a good working relationship between parties is excellent source of negotiation power. If you treat the other side with respect, use two-way communication with good listening and show you understand each other sides then negotiations are more likely to be easier and more successful. Good listening can increase your negotiation power by increasing information you have about the other side’s interests or about possible options (7). If you listen to the other side they are more likely to listen to you. The better your working relationship the better able each of you is to influence the other.

You can use standards of legitimacy both as a sword to persuade others, and as a shield to help you resist pressure to give in arbitrarily (9). So a negotiator can enhance his or her power by finding precedents, principles and other external criteria of fairness and by thinking of ways to present them forcefully and tellingly (9). If you are able to convince the other side that you are asking for what is fair, nothing more, nothing less, you can make a strong argument.

A fundamental way to increase your negotiation power is by improving your walk-way alternative (BATNA). The stronger your BATNA the stronger your argument and the easier it is to persuade the other side. Sometimes it is not only possible to strength you BATNA but to weaken the other side’s BATNA in the process. Improving your own BATNA and weakening theirs is a critical way to obtaining your negotiating power.

One way to enhance your negotiating power is to make a commit on what you will and will not do. If you make a commit on what you will and will not do it makes it easier on the other side to commit on an agreement but this will give up your freedom to haggle over better terms. You must be careful about locking into a position because this stalls negotiations but there is far less risk if you understand the other sides interests and have explored the options for joint gains. Finally, clarify what you want them to do, for this insures both parties understand the agreement thoroughly and the likely hood of misunderstanding is decreased.

In order to make the most of your negotiating power you should use all your sources of power in harmony with other sources of power. You will be a more effective negotiator if you believe in what you are saying and doing.

Chapter Two deals with introducing a third-party intervener to help resolve conflicts in the negotiation process. There are several types of third-party interventions that can help parties reach more efficient agreements. (14) A facilitator helps with the logistics in the proceedings of meetings. A mediator guides or helps people come to a voluntary agreement. An arbitrator tries to understand the issues on all sides and then imposes an agreement, as a judge (14). The first category of intervention activities is that ordinarily undertaken by a facilitator: convening meetings, leading discussions, preparing neutral minutes and attesting to the good faith of the bargaining procedure (15). A third partier biggest contribution in an intervention is bringing the two sides together to negotiate. The second category is those activities that set the ambience: maintaining the rules of civilized debate, diffusing personality conflicts, and helping restrain speakers. The third category is the third party’s role in the exchange of information (15). In integrative bargaining, the pie can grow through the exchange of information and in distributive bargaining the pie is divided up by a fix rate.

A third party while dealing with a distributive bargaining problem can receive confidential information and determine whether an agreement can be made. Because of this knowledge a third party representative can urge the parties to keep working with the agreement and not to give up. Without a third party, information would be kept totally to the individual party and agreements might never start to form. The third party representative can urge the parties to keep with it if there is hope for an agreement.

An intervener can employ several intervention mechanisms to improve integrative bargaining agreements. There are four main mechanisms, which include: postsettlement-settlement, rules of manipulation, neutral analysis and contingent contract. A postsettlement- settlement is when parties try to improve on a previous agreement by having a second negotiation in hopes of finding more joint gains. In another rules manipulation, the intervener, rather than play the role of a typical mediator or arbitrator, sets up a dynamic mechanism such as a bidding procedure to resolve the conflict that would ordinarily be resolved in a different fashion (17). A third method of intervention mechanisms is neutral analysis. That is the third party is completely neutral and comes in to analyze the situation. A situation were a neutral analysis can be used is when a county is worried about the effects of an industrial plants pollution in the air. Each city has its own interests in the pollution matter and there are many economic and scientific uncertainties involved. The county or its cities do not have the resources to conduct its own study so they would bring in the state to give a neutral analysis.

In a contingent contract, each party agrees to pay a certain sum, with the stipulation that depending on what happens in the future more or less money will be paid (24). This is great for agreements were uncertainty of the future market value is present.

These are just some of the techniques used by third party interveners to help parties resolve disagreements with better joint gains for all. Many of these techniques can be done without the third party but often it is the case that the intervener is more knowledgeable about the constructive processes of negotiations.

Chapter Three is Straus’s on how collaborative problem solving stresses the value of inclusivity. Meaning to develop a step-by-step process of resolving problems, rather than jumping to solutions too quickly. In designing a consensus-based process the first principle is including all people in position of making decisions into the process. The second step in designing a consensus is that you agree on what the problem is. The key to a successful collaborative plan is to first find the causes of the problem before deciding the solutions. People must feel they are a part of the process that is they own it and it must be easy for outsiders to join the process and contribute. The process must also be open and visible to everyone involved. The people involved must be open to learning new skills so they can teach them later. The consensus-building process allows solutions to be developed and applied that wouldn’t normally be developed under ordinary conditions.

In general part two is about creating awareness of how different participants perceive the problem and helping to change locked-in, unproductive habits and applying the problem-solving frameworks to organizations.

Frank Sanders introduces alternative dispute resolutions mechanisms and the ways in which they can be further implemented into the court system. He uses three concepts to examine disputes and their resolution: the dispute pyramid, the process spectrum, and inside- the- court and outside-the-court mechanisms.

The dispute pyramid is an inverted pyramid (43). At the top of pyramid is perceived injurious experiences, that is a person feels hurt by someone. The next level is the person who is responsible for the hurt, hence the grievance. Next is the claim the person hurt makes against the culprit. The last level is the dispute between the parties. What is learned from the dispute pyramid is that courts can only resolve a small proportion of people’s perceived injurious experiences.

The process spectrum is another useful tool in examining the dispute resolution process. (46) As one moves along the spectrum from right to left, third party involvement increases. At the extreme right end there is avoidance which is comparable with the level of the dispute pyramid at which a person decides not to voice a claim (46). The most common form of dispute resolution is bargaining or negotiation. There is increased third-party involvement in the resolution as you move along the spectrum from negotiation to mediation and finally to adjudication. There are essentially three types of adjudication in courts, arbitration, and that in administrative agencies (46).

The key point of the process spectrum is that mediation will attempt to explore the interests of each disputant and then come up with a resolution that fits the situation.

Some of the regularly used outside-the-court dispute resolution mechanisms are: labor arbitration, commercial arbitration, consumer protection mechanisms, internal grievance mechanisms in prison and hospitals, media complaint mechanisms, private divorce mediation, and environmental mediation (50). There are at least five reasons why cases do not settle out of court. One is the parties have different information and facts. Second is the parties might have the same information but feels it has a better chance to win in court. The third reason is the client and lawyer do not see the information the same and the client won’t settle. Sometimes the client will settle but the lawyer allows the case to drag on through. The fourth reason is the defendant feels he has the upper hand and drags the process to a crawl in order to win better terms. The final reason is people allow their emotions to get involved and are only out to prove the other wrong.

There are two categories of mechanisms that courts can use to resolve issues and reduce cases: categorical referral and individual referral. Categorical referral is a mechanism by which the legislature takes certain categories of cases out of the courts and requires that an attempt be made to resolve them through other mechanism (52). Court-annexed arbitration is one of the more common used mechanisms of categorical referral. Some of the cases required to go through this process include: personal inquiry, malpractice, consumer, and other money claim cases below a certain dollar amount and are held outside the courtroom.

Individual referral mechanisms include mediation (sometimes through a special master), neutral experts, and minitrials and summary jury trials (54). Special masters do three things: they find facts, supervise the implementation of the decision and resolve complex multiparty dispute. A neutral expert is used when there is a technical question that is preventing the resolution of a case (55). Minitrial is an informal trial created by lawyers who have ran up court fees for years and need a fast resolution. The trial would essentially be an information exchange between the top officials of each party and would last for a set period of time which is usually a day. A summary trial is similar to a minitrial except that there is a mock six-person jury (56).

All of these mechanisms involve taking different components and putting them together in some creative way to produce a negotiation process. The significance is that they can be manipulate in a way to fit particular cases; and parties and the new process can best suit the situation.

Chapter Ten of Part Three deals with role of gender in negotiation and the dilemmas that women face in negotiating. (149) Kolb develops two themes, the first arguing from existing feminist literature, describes what a woman’s voice in negotiation might sound like if given the opportunity and setting, women might create an alternative structure and process in public negotiation(149). The new voice would open up the negotiation process and be heard loud and clear and greatly differ from the male dominant views of negotiation. (149) The second theme relates to the typical situation where the voice is not only hushed but the speaker is open to compromise and exploitation. To the degree that negotiation signals conflict and competing interests, a situation often at odds with the voice she speaks, women may experience anxiety and fraudulence in that place. These feelings compounded by her demeanor and style of communication may impact and sometimes impair her efficacy at the bargaining table (149). Women need to become better at expressing their voices and having it recognized for what it is there voice of negotiation. They need to try a variety of presentation modes and find their own voice at the table so they can be fully recognized in the negotiation process and add a new perspective to the negotiation process to benefit all.

All of these mechanisms and negotiation styles list in detail above can help enhance your negotiating power at the table. Negotiation power is the ability to persuade someone to do something the way you see fit and having a good BATNA, working relationship, complete understanding of both sides of the issue and a grasp of how to coordinate your resources are all great ways of enhancing your negotiating power. Negotiation : Strategies for Mutual Gain, is a collection of key ideas and process strategies about negotiating and resolving disputes more efficiently. This book is for all people of all lifestyles and all purposes whether at work, home or a peace treaty in the Middle East, these methods can work any place were negotiations ideas prove useful.

Hall,Lavinia. Negotiation:Strategies for Mutual Gain. Sage Publ. New York 1993 p.205

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Negotiation: Strategies for Mutual Gain. (2018, Aug 26). Retrieved from