In his book, The Expert Negotiator, Saner comprehensively discusses Strategy as one of the vital tools that can be used to carve out a successful ending to the process of decision-making and negotiation. Professor Raymond Saner has given an almost perfect approach to the topic thanks to his expansive knowledge and invaluable experience as a Professor Titular at Basle Universitys Economics Department. He has also been extensively involved in reviewing of various research projects and partnered with the Swiss National Science Foundation in various research consortia; alongside the publication of other books and journals including Commodity Development Strategies in the Integrated Framework (Saner, 2005). The chapter on strategy seeks to outline and further discuss the design of a proper guideline and direction that help the negotiator achieve their objective (LaBrosse, 2008). The author makes it straightforward and concise that the right strategy puts the negotiator on the right course, and the wrong strategy counts for a similar wrong path from the beginning of the entire process. It can be thus deduced from the authors perception that strategy is the most important part of the process involved in negotiations and decision making.
The strategy is the framework upon which tactics are formulated and based upon as appoint of direct reference by the parties involved in decision making and negotiations. Therefore, a good strategy implies an equally tactic and approach and the reverse also stands. The strategy adopted in conflict resolution is framed out to identify the two key positions within the conflict, that is, assertion and cooperation. It is through these positions that the strategy can be used to manipulate the five basic behaviors and response of negotiating parties, which include competitive, collaborative, compromised, avoidant and accommodative behaviors.
Competitive behavior seeks to attain the objectives of the negotiations without much regard to the other parties involved and is by no means a cooperative approach to decision-making. The negotiator puts his best foot forward in terms of resources, strength and time in order to come out with the strongest idea that dwarfs other negotiators interests (LaBrosse, 2008). The most likely result in employing this behavior as a strategy is confrontation and wars of wills among the parties involved and eventual one of them submits to the willpower of the other.
Collaboration as a strategy involves the adoption of a complementary approach towards negotiation and decision making. The involved parties take into consideration the interests and opinions of the others, which the author terms as integrative bargaining. The parties involved are required to gather a thorough knowledge of the matter at hand together with their differences and make a unanimous decision. Extreme desires are either put aside or harmonized to bring about the required mutual consent. This is a better strategy but for the requirements of a good and mutual understanding from the involved parties.
Compromise strategy represents a win-win approach by the involved individuals. Each sides demands are met half way. There is also half cooperation and collaboration in relatively equal measures from the involved sides. This method appears to be a better option but may not be entirely welcome in most situations as it is not equally accessible practically. Avoidance strategy is where there is no commitment to any gain from both sides of the negotiation. The individual involved in the negotiation pulls away from the conflict situation and surpasses the possibility of an agreement; rather than come to terms with the conflict and present his grievances. Accommodation as another strategy outlined in this chapter is a nonassertive method of approaching issues where the negotiator drops most of their objectives and settles for a preferable choice of decision. This behavior however viewed as weakness and represents a gullible character by the sides that give in.
The knowledge of the appropriate moment, type and stage of conflict to apply these positions is as important as knowing them. An option can be seen as viable and appropriate for any situation but may not always be available as choice prompting the adoption of other positions. Or worse still a negotiator may find they are unable to fully exercise any of the behaviors as others have adopted the same. It is, therefore, critical to analyze the various strategies that can be used to guide decision making when presented with diverse situations ("Critical Analysis", 2004).
Most importantly to be noted is the element at stake. The negotiator must review the extent to which the negotiation is important to them. In this, he examines the possible consequences of the occurrence of both failure and success outcomes. Such an evaluation is vital in deciding the position one takes, be it a cooperative or assertive, bearing in mind the possible outcome and its relevance (Saner, 2005). The power play in the conflicting situation also needs to be thoroughly evaluated by a participating individual. Most commonly, sides with more power are likely to win the case, whereas weaker teams are likely to give up or loose. Knowledge of the power player enables an individual to decide whether to cooperate and how that would impact them in the future. Similarly, the evaluation of common interests among the involved parties is vital to the decision-making process. These elements also include the kind of personal relationships between these individuals. Cooperation is a direct factor of the coincidence in the interests of the negotiating sides. Non-cooperation is a product of non-shared interests.
Not all instances may favor the application of an individuals preferred strategy. In such cases, the individual is encouraged to design an adoption method to the prevailing strategy. In the course of the negotiation, it may be useful to vary the positions taken by an individual in relation to that of other negotiating teams. These variations should be well timed and positioned accordingly to eventually achieve the targeted effects. The author has exploited sixteen different routes in relation with the five starting strategic positions. These routes are alternate ways that the strategy can be manipulated should the initial plan fall out unexpectedly.
As illustrated through the examples of the business lunch with IBM and Perestroika, these strategies are useful and necessary when putting to practice in an individuals day to day life. A common instance is a negotiation to get a pay rise at work. After a person has defined their financial needs and evaluated the possibility of the pay rise, they have to adopt a strategic manner in which to convince their employers that they deserve the pay rise. Assertiveness and cooperation may equally play a part in this situation, and it is therefore suitable to adopt a compromised behavior for both parties. In these instances it is vital to evaluate the desires of the employer, the employees working rapport and the shared financial and productivity interests of both parties. A proper strategy in this case will include the consideration of alternate paths to ensure adjustment in case of change of leadership at the work station or adjustment in work or pay policies.
According to Patricia Maguet in SlideShare, the various components of successful negotiations are dependent on adequate planning and strategizing skills (Maguet, 2014). She terms the formulation of strategy as the preparative stage in conflict negotiation. The strategy adopted in negotiations affects the other concepts of decision making in a direct or indirect manner (Maguet, 2014). For instance, the approach taken will determine the position to take in negotiation, refine the negotiators desires and interests, raise useful concerns and questions and set appropriate ground rules (LaBrosse, 2008). The author has therefore succeeded in characterizing strategy as an important aspect in decision making. The approach adopted by in conflict resolution gives way to adoption of appropriate negotiation skills and effective communication. The evaluation of the position to take in a conflict; the analysis of the element at stake; the power at play; the common interests and quality of the existent relationships can be useful in the formulation of appropriate tactics to make exemplary and ethical decisions by the negotiators. Generally, the parties involved in a negotiation should be well knowledgeable of their points of strength and more importantly their limits and weaknesses. A prior awareness ensures that the negotiator adjusts accordingly in case of change in positions and strategies involved that may result due to shifts in power play, the issue at stake and the quality of the relationship existent between the negotiating parties.
Saner, R. (2005). The Expert Negotiator. Leiden: Nijhoff.
LaBrosse, M. (2008). Unleash your inner negotiator. Employ. Relat. Today, 35(1), 105-109. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ert.20193
Maguet, P. (2014). Negotiation skills - Key concepts when planning a negotiation.Slideshare.net. Retrieved 2 October 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/pmaglevy/negotiation-skills-key-concepts-when-planning-a-negotiation
Critical analysis. (2004). Www2.southeastern.edu. Retrieved 2 October 2016, from https://www2.southeastern.edu/Academics/Faculty/elejeune/critique.htm
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