Negotiation is the process of engaging in mutual dialogue between conflicting parties/people/groups which is mainly aimed at enhancing a balanced and fair agreement between the conflicting sides to foster a collective outcome which is satisfactory for the various interests and needs of the parties in conflict. Negotiation comes in handy when conflicting groups have identified their interests and have put them forward to be deliberated in order to come up with small concessions aimed at working a way to come up with a solution that favours the interests of both parties in order to set a balance and come up with a long lasting solution and agreement. Majorly negotiations are tailored at Fostering win-win solutions for both parties by finding a fair compromise.
Negotiation is believed to be a continuing process which may attract different kinds of third parties/mediators and prominent personnel depending with the magnitude of the conflict at hand. Negotiation as a process can take varying forms depending with the position at which the conflicting sides are in. It entails a third party who is neutral and who both parties within the conflict are satisfied and comfortable with their position as a third party. Depending with the preference of the conflicting parties, negotiation can either be formal or informal depending with the arrangement and likeness of the parties and the mediator.
The negotiation process is the simplest and most used form of diplomatic settlement of disputes. Majorly, most negotiation process doesnt involve third parties in its initial stages, as both parties are believed to be in a good position to solve their problem at their peril. The negotiation process is the initial stages of the peaceful diplomatic settlement of disputes, which determines the route the conflicting parties will take if a consensus is not met at this stage. Negotiation has always been viewed as the most successful and formal way of dispute resolutions, as both parties in conflict are there physically and therefore easily compromised to reach an agreement.
Negotiation as a process entails varying degrees of conflict resolution processes, which vary depending with the magnitude of the conflict and the interests of the conflicting parties. The negotiation process can to some extent can be lead to a win-lose situation or a win-win kind of situation, depending with the bargaining power of the parties. Negotiation process can be classified into:
a) Distributive negotiation orientations
This kind of negotiation process is referred to as a positioning or hard bargaining negotiation. This negotiation orientation method tends to enter into a negotiation table with a hard stand on an issue. Here both parties are believed to adopt a position which they believe favors them most, and they stand by it despite the odds. This kind of negotiation enhances a win-lose kind of solution, as the party with the hard bargaining power tends to win the day. Therefore, this method is not efficient in offering a balanced and collective bargaining on a conflict. Mostly this mode of negotiation delays the negation process, which may lead to parties in conflict seeking other alternative conflict resolution methods which may not be healthy for their relationship.
b) Integrative negotiation orientation
It is regarded as an interest-based/principled kind of negotiation process. This mode of the negotiation process is believed to be inclusive and tries to offer an accommodative room for both parties in conflict. Integrative negotiation process tries to base its values on the key interests of the parties. It is aimed at enhancing a quicker and long lasting resolution to the conflict. It enhances higher standards of trust and mutual respects for the parties. This model of the negotiation process is mainly considered to yield a win-win solution to the conflict.
Negotiators in the negotiating process differ depending with the environment in which they originate from. Negotiators have been identified into three spheres which distinguish them from one another. Negotiators can either be soft bargainers, hard bargainers, and principled bargainers.
Soft bargainers are negotiators who yield easily to other demands to avoid unnecessary competitions. They are mainly driven to finding a solution and reaching an agreement with ease. They have much respect for the other party, and they will work hard to ensure a solution is reached at even if it means making an offer which is not going in accordance with their interests.
Hard bargainers are considered to focus on a win-win situation or a win-lose situation, where they achieve all the gains. Their goal in a negotiation is to achieve victory no matter the outcome. These kinds of negotiators are believed to have a hard stand on issues and are more unlikely to care about the other partys needs, as they are focused on their successes.
Principled bargainers focus on the issues at hand rather than the intentions and the interests of the parties in conflict. They base their values on objectivity, validity and proper mode of conflict resolution, rather than yielding to pressure and self-interest. They base their judgments on moral standards governing the conflict resolution process.
It is empirical for parties in negotiation to enhance moral standards in their negotiation process, by having mutual respect for each others needs and wants, practice just and fair negotiation that limits hard stands which makes the process to be one sided thus resulting in a poor negotiation process which can culminate to further conflicts in the future.
Philosophical Approach to Negotiation
Negotiation process over the years has been advanced to fit the modern standards of conflict resolution process. The philosophical approach of negotiation identifies negotiation theory as a process for analyzing behavioral decision making and negotiation analysis. Negotiation theorists see negotiation as a concept that utilizes four approaches in its dealings. They view negotiation as a puzzle solving, bargaining game, organization management and as a diplomatic politics. According to the negotiation theorists, they have identified five crucial levels of analysis that try to explain further the concept of negotiation approaches. These approaches include the strategic approach, structural approach, processual approach, behavioral and integrative approach.
i. Structural Approach
A structural approach to negotiations is a concept employed by negotiation theorists which have based its mode of negotiation on the virtue of power. This concept believes in empowering of the parties in the negotiation table to offer them an equal platform to air their grievances. Structural approach believes that power is the central organ between the negotiating parties. Analysts who adopt this approach use power to foster agreement, which can either be win-win situation or win-lose, depending with the party that seemed to yield a lot of power. This approach has been criticized, as major analysts argue that this approach offers the strongest chance to the party that yield more power, hence does not offer a collective understanding between parties in conflict.
ii. Strategic Approach
A strategic approach to negotiation process put more emphasis on the way and means of finding and determining the outcome to a conflict. This approach identifies negotiators as rational decision makers who use all means basing on their understanding of the conflict to come up with a decision. Strategic approach sees parties in conflict as having independent powers and says to the way their negotiation is handled. Therefore they can opt to cooperate with the process or defect if they so wish. Strategic approach believes in enhancing trust within the negotiation process to make both parties comfortable with the process. Therefore, this approach advocates for the negotiator to be properly versed with the issue at hand to enhance fair and equal negotiating platform.
iii. Behavioral Approach
This approach is more focused on the role parties in conflict, negotiators or individuals characteristics are instrumental in determining the outcome of the negotiation process. Behavioral approach is inclined on the stands that the parties in conflict utilize in their quest to reach a consensus. This approach believes that parties in conflict can be hardliners or soft-liners depending with the magnitude of the conflict and the environment in which they are. Analysts argue that before any negotiation process it is important to understand the other partys ideologists, their stands and what they value most to be able to work out a quick and formidable solution to the conflict.
iv. Concession Exchange Approach
Concession exchange approach has placed it believes on learning. This approach is also called processual approach, and it tries to look at negotiation as a learning process whereby parties react to each others concession behaviors. Analysts argue that the problem with this approach is that parties in conflict fail to find new resolutions to problem when they engage much in learning each others concession behaviors
v. Integrative Approach
This approach of negotiation process identifies a win-win potential for parties in conflict. Integrative approach sees negotiation as a process of coming up with an effort to solve a conflict. This approach emphasizes the importance of exchange of ideas between parties to advance agreement between the parties in conflict. A proponent of this approach believes that for an issue to be solved amicably, parties in conflict must be willing to share informational openly to understand the position of the other parties and come up with a level platform to solve the conflict.
Underlying Assumption of the Negotiation Theory
Publications, Beverly Hills, California, USA.The basic assumption of this theory identifies that negotiation can be attained well if one party requires the other party to reach amicably a solution. This assumption presumes that an agreement can only be met if both parties in conflict are willing to sit down and solve their problem.
The theory assumes that the major aim of negotiating is to come up with a long-term solution to the problem, which will enhance trust and mutual understanding between the conflicting parties.
This theory assumes that negotiating parties have the ability to...
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