Many people believed the act of negotiation is all about and money. It isnt. We do it instinctively, as in our families, and in our communities as well as in business, management, industrial relations, and all levels of government. Sometimes we negotiate without realizing it. Common examples includes labour-management negotiation over wages, hours, and working conditions and negotiation between supply chain specialists and vendor involving price, delivery schedules, and credit terms. Self-managed work teams with overlapping task boundaries also need to rely on negotiated agreement. Negotiating skills are more important today than ever.
What is Negotiation?
Negotiation can be formally defined as a give-and-take decision making process involving interdependent parties with different perspectives. Negotiation is being give and take mean a process which we compromise and agree a way forward.
Negotiation is the process in which parties that perceives one or more incompatibilities between them, try to find a mutually acceptable solution. Negotiation Is Part of Life. Negotiation is a part of normal everyday life. In fact, experts on the subject have said that life, itself, is just one continuous negotiation.
Still, many people feel that they are not experienced contract negotiators. Perhaps they do not realize that there are many types of contracts. Not all are complex written agreements. Most contracts are oral agreements which may or may not involve the exchange of monetary consideration.
Without realizing it, you have probably been involved in a variety of contract negotiations every day of your life. In fact, we constantly bargain with other people to fulfill both our monetary and non-monetary needs.
In fact, you must negotiate for most things you want in life. You can only avoid negotiation if you have no desire for anything held or controlled by someone else. Regardless of your profession, skill as a negotiator is essential to your success. In Government contracting, the skill is particularly important because your daily work requires you to obtain supplies and services from responsible sources at fair and reasonable prices.
There are two basic types of negotiation: Distributive negotiation, and integrative negotiation. Negotiation experts distinguish between the two types of negotiation and understanding the difference requires a change in traditional fixed pie thinking.
A distributive negotiation usually involves a single issuefixed-piein which one person gains at the expense of the other. For example, haggling over the price of a rug in a bazzar is a distributive negotiation. In most conflicts, however, more than one the issue is at stake and each party value the issue differently. The outcomes available are no longer fixed-pie divided among all parties. All agreement can be found that is better for both parties than what they would have reached through distributive negotiation. This is an integrative negotiation.
However, parties in a negotiation often dont find these beneficial trade-off because each assumes its interest directly conflict with those of the other party. What is good for the other side must be bad for us is a common and unfortunate perspective that most people have. This is the mind-set we call the mythical fixed-pie.
Distributive negotiation involves traditional win-lose thinking while Integrative negotiation calls for a progressive win-win strategy. In a laboratory study of joint venture negotiations, team trained in integrative tactics achieved better outcomes for both sides than did untrained teams.
To be continuing
NEXT ARTICLE: Strategies for Successful Negotiation.
Rotarian T.M Akeem Gbadamosi, M.Sc Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management
Associate Partner, First-Goldmine Consulting (An HRM and Development Services firm)