Negotiation is a means of conflict resolution when the parties wish to maintain or continue the exchange relationship. The negotiation exists because there is a conflict, so that the parties intend to resolve it so that the negotiated solution is satisfactory for both. The elements that define the negotiation are:
– Relationship of interdependence between the parties.
– It is a motivationally contradictory relationship. People and organizations have conflicting interests that it is difficult to conjugate. The dichotomy between the satisfaction of one’s own interests and the realization of concessions makes negotiation a complex social situation.
– Conflict and negotiation are mediated by power relations.
Characteristics of Power
- Power is relational. When we talk about power we do not do it in general, but in relation to the power that some people, groups or institutions have with respect to others and in certain situations. The power of each of the elements in dispute can grow or decrease throughout the negotiating interaction.
- It arises from the dependence of resources. A needs something from B and vice versa. The dependence of resources is the basis of the social relationship, so that scarcity of resources causes competition among those who need these resources and the unequal allocation of resources creates the need for exchange.
- Power implies the freedom to make decisions. A certain balance of power is necessary for the negotiation to take place. If one of the absolute over another, what usually happens is the imposition of one’s aspirations.Power is a potential, so it can exist without being used. We can talk about two basic types of negotiation: distributive and integrative. In the distributive negotiation the results of the parties are inversely related, so that if one of the parties wins, the other loses. It is also called “fixed cake” because if we divide a cake into ten parts if one takes seven, the other has only three parts left. This type of negotiation usually appears when dealing with quantifiable (salary) or dichotomous aspects (promotion – not promotion). Logically, the results of this negotiation are negative, since the conflict of interest is evident and the costs are high.
Integrative negotiation aims to ensure that all parties are satisfied with the negotiating process. The objective is the optimal distribution of resources. This type of negotiation is usually given in non-quantifiable aspects, such as interpersonal relationships, the work environment. It is also called “variable cake”.
Phases of negotiation
We can identify five phases in the negotiation: preparation, antagonism, common framework, proposals (solutions) and closure.
In order to properly prepare a negotiation, the parties must plan the following aspects:
- Determine the conflicting nature in which they are, that is, make a prior diagnosis.
- Determine your own goals and objectives, in two terms: maximum level of aspirations (the most favorable point) and resistance zone (as far as I am willing to give up).
- Establish a list of possible concessions to the other party and their weighting.
- Develop a strategic-tactical plan.
- Save the image of the negotiator before those he represents.
- Help clarify your own goals and priorities.
- It is tested to what extent the other party can be forced to make concessions.
- Firmness is shown with respect to the objectives themselves.
- Existing divergences are made explicit.
Acceptance of the common framework
There is a moment when the parties must clarify whether they adopt a competitive, collaborative or unilateral assignment position. Given that the goal of both parties is to reach an agreement, positions can be approached whenever signs of reciprocity are perceived by the elements in conflict.
Presentation of alternatives
In this phase the offers and counteroffers are materialized to the other party, until positions are approached that allow the definitive agreement.
Once the positions have been approached and the agreements reached have been presented, the negotiation is considered concluded.