Essay, Research Paper: Negotiation Process


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When the discussion on this type of topic comes up, it is important to
understand several key points. First is the fact that negotiations of this
nature are done by one group (or institution) to another group. Now, knowing
this it is also safe to assume that groups of people are not a collective of one
mind and one thought, and thus the group will not act as one. Inside these
groups, many different and sometimes conflicting ideas and interests are bound
to hinder a straightforward negotiation. These internal problems creeping into
the wood work before the other party has even made in to the table will
ultimately create new layers in the bargaining process. This is not to say all
internal negotiations are bad. In my opinion if a group will argue between them
to smooth out all the potential internal interests and concerns; then it can
also be sure that as a group the entire entity was come to the bargaining table
with the knowledge that all of its main views have already been addressed. Then
as a result the bargainer knows what as a group they would accept and decline.
As it was briefly covered in the article the internal bickering within one group
does have its downfalls which in the long run hinder the group more then promote
it. If certain people within the group have personal agendas such as personal
wealth or influence in mind, these views of the few that can go against the
optimum deal for the entire group. Then as these people fight to have their
views and solutions pushed forward the group may lose more in the long run.
(Albeit the few people in the group may come out even stronger.) I believe the
key to getting beyond the internal negotiations and out onto the bargaining
table with the other party is to as a group not bicker over 1 or 2 minor things,
but to look at these deals “one pie” which may have many different
ingredients within it. The pie is only ready for the oven (ei. bargaining table)
by the group when they have all added their own ingredients, and come to a
resolution on these ingredients and the level of each. Once this is done, then
it is time for external negotiations. I will use the cooking of a pie as a
simile for the bargaining process to outline my views. In this way I hope to
outline the reasons as they are presented in the article in my own way as I
understand and agree with them. As it was rationalized in the article, external
negotiations must be completely different process. Just as one doesn’t add
more ingredients to a pie after it’s put in the oven, internal bickering
within a group of what should have or shouldn’t have gone into the pie has no
place in the negotiations with the other party. Sure it is possible to change
the ovens cooking time and even add new ideas to the pie before entering the
oven, if that is what is needed to form an agreement. But as stated before, the
pie represents the interests (hopefully the best interests.) of the group, and
thus external negotiations should be keep out of the directions to make it. That
being said, external negotiations will usually have conflicts within them due
the large chance that the two party’s interests are usually in conflict. One
groups pie will bake in 5 minutes while the other’s needs 10 minutes due to
the ingredients in the pies, and thus the oven temperature will need to be
addressed. This is when each group must appoint a “chef.” These people
should know all the ingredients within each other pies as well as why they were
put in the pies in the first place. They need to be an expert in how to shape
the oven so that both groups pie with be baked to their mutual satisfaction, but
yet work together in hopes the “BATNA” has be reached. To do this the chefs
(negotiators) must work together, they a partisans, try to find out how using
the ingredients of each group will be baked into the pies without wreaking the
pies or causing one of them to be burnt. One other major importance is the chefs
will have to understand that some ingredients of the pies may have to be
rearranged or taken out to reach an agreement. The chefs will need to share in
this process, but as it is likely to occur, each pie may have “secret”
ingredients or amounts within them that either chef may not want to revel. When
this happens it can cause serious problems as to what the optimum temperature is
going to be, so disclosing the ingredient may come around, but the amount of the
ingredient may be left out and thus making it possible to reach a solution. (Or
vice-versa) If these problems come to a head, it needs to be up to the chefs to
individually address their respective groups responsible for the insertion of
the ingredients and advise them the needs for altercations. It is hopeful each
group has appointed a chef with lots of “cooking” experience in getting the
pies fit for human consumption, and to each of the group’s tastes. Agents -
Hidden Agenda or Strategic Tool? As I read over this article, several points
were made in both directions leaning towards the use of agents and also why the
use of agents can also hamper ones negotiation. I will overview what I thought
were the key points in both views and then expand them with my views on each. As
outlined in the article, the obvious effect of agents is the complication that
the agents cause in the transactions. The principals are not personally
interacting with the party they are trying to bargain with. This may in turn
limit the principal’s input and knowledge as well limit the agent’s
usefulness if they do not properly understand the principal’s views and
limits. A break down in communication, representation and coordination are all
increased with the use of agents, and can multiple as the number of people
representing the principal increases. This came be especially the case when
dealing in a negotiation in which a lot of bargaining goes on and the different
principals mediating between agents becomes very complex such as in a lease or
business takeover. It could become over complex in the technicalities of the
deal and loose sight of the real goals the principals are after. There are other
strong points of view made in the article which caution the use of agents,
foremost being agents may have alternative motives. When I read the article I
came to agree that these are plausible arguments which one must take into
account. First, if agent may have alternative motives on top of the ones you
have hired him/her to work towards, the two motives may in fact conflict. The
agent depending on the level of conflict may be able to negotiate around them,
or settle on something less then perfect for the principal so that the agent can
reap future rewards. The example used in the article is that of a lawyer who is
paid by the hour. The longer he works the more he is paid, so even though he
could of reached an agreement in 5 hours of negotiating, he takes 9 and the
principle fits the bill in the end. That being said, the other hand shows many
useful reasons for incorporating an agent into ones negotiation tactics. The
first and in my opinion the foremost reason is an agents expertise in the area
the principal may be negotiating in. The article outlines 3 different
‘stripes’ of expertise: Substantive knowledge, Process expertise, and
Special influence. All 3 have excellent points and depending on the situation
the principal is in many help the principal immensely. Thus in my view when the
situation calls for the use of an agent it is mostly if not always wise to
consider using one. If I for one were arrested for Tax Fraud, I would want a tax
lawyer to help me out. Likewise if I’m pulling for a seat on city council and
I had a friend on it already, then I would be inclined to ask for his help and
to pull some strings for me. This brings the point of tactical flexibility. In
it, agents can play key roles between the principal and the other party, either
by playing the agent in a role of ambassador with no real power and thus
collaborating against another party. The article quotes many phrases for example
such as the “stalking horse” or “good cop/ bad cop ploys.” All these are
good suggests for using agents, but only when the ideas call for it and could be
used effectively. There would be no real point in using a tactical flex plan on
another party who has nothing significant or personally important to gain or
lose from the deal, it would be implausible and the principal using the agent
would most likely lose out in the long run. There are other strong reasons for
leading towards representation, one being the nice and pleasant process of
divorce. As outlined in the article, when the opposing principals have problems
between them and negotiating a deal between them is hampered by interaction, it
would be advisable to seek representatives to handle the talks. The main point
would be that human nature can call emotions onto the playing field between two
ex-lovers opposed to two formal lawyers a lot more often and for a deal to be
signed with any fairness and rationality one would need outside help. Overall
the use of agents boils down to the given situation. In most cases when the
principal is either over this head or even looking for an angle over the other
party then an agent can be considered useful, but as outlined above, the agent
may cause more problems their they’re worth. In my opinion it’s a scale one
needs to be weighed on an individual base, and then determined if an agent is
needed and then if needed, what type of agent would produce the best results.
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