“Negotiation is a process in which two or more parties exchange goods or services and attempt to agree on the exchange rate for them”
In real life scenarios, all negations are similar; they involve people taking initial positions, offering proposals, counter proposals, and concessions, until finally, coming to an agreement. Academics, such as Walton & McKersie (1965), identify two different types of negotiation behaviour: distributive and integrative bargaining strategies.
Distributive bargaining emphasizes individual gains, where sources are viewed as limited and everyone wants to claim their share of the pie. People negotiating in this way view the other parties as “the enemy” to be defeated. The negotiation’s aim is not to find an alternative solution that would benefit both parties, but to agree upon a solution between the target point (what they would like to achieve) and the resistance point (what is the lowest outcome they would accept).
Integrative bargaining emphasizes joint gains by engaging in cooperative problem solving with the ultimate goal to expand the pie, so there is more for everyone. In this case negotiators view the other party as a partner or a teammate. Resources are not seen as limited, so the pie must not be shared. The bargaining is seen as an opportunity to be creative and think outside of the box in order to make the pie bigger.
I think we all agree when I say that the integrative bargaining is the right negotiation behaviour to use when dealing with conflict. This type of resolution will help building long-term relationships and trust between the parties.
When negotiating, is important to keep in mind the three steps of principled negotiation:
- Separate the people from the problem. Even thought they are the cause of it, that doesn’t mean they are the problem.
- Focus on interests, not positions. Sometimes people take positions that do not reflect their real interest; when bargaining, try to focus on what you need and not what you want.
- Be creative! You have to brainstorm and think at every possible solution that can get you to a resolution. Just after you considered all your options, you can agree upon what’s best for both parties.
The key to all this is two-way communication.
How frustrating is to talk to somebody and to realise that they are not listening or not understanding what you are trying to say? When you negotiate with somebody, be sure both of you are on the same page. Is fundamental to make to other party understand your point of view. Remember that, responsibility for the answer lies with the individual and that different people require different ways to communicate; so when you negotiate ask yourself: I am asking the right question?