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PURE wants me to reach a successful agreement so that there are not any delays or stumbling blocks to the opening of the amusement park. However, while our interests are closely aligned, it would be erroneous to assume that our interests are identical. PURE is highly interested in receiving a tax rate below 1.5% and in minimizing the amounts of its voluntary payments to the towns. However, PURE has authorized me to enter into an agreement with a 1.5% tax rate and to make certain voluntary payments based upon the taxing amount. This means that I might be pressure to give the towns more than they are actually going to demand in order to reach an agreement for the company. I would still be seen as a successful negotiator, as long as I was able to help negotiate an agreement that might block development of the park, but PURE might face substantial financial losses.
The reality is that, as an agent for PURE, my duty is to ensure that I am always looking out for PURE's best interests. However, as a negotiator working with human beings with valid concerns, I have to keep in mind that the financial bottom line is not always the best bottom line and that focusing solely on finances could be detrimental to PURE's long-term interests in the area. I also need to keep in mind that it is possible that my principal needs additional information before committing to a decision. While this answer may be unpopular with the board, it is important to realize that negotiations can and should be places where the parties come together and develop creative solutions to problems. I cannot possibly anticipate all of the possible solutions that the towns might propose, and neither can the board members of PURE. Internal negotiations can stifle external negotiations. Therefore, I feel like I must remind the board that "no matter how creative and flexible the internal process may be, it is likely to result in instructions that unduly tie the hands of a negotiator acting on behalf of an institution" (Fisher, 1990).
In order to ensure that I represent PURE's interests, I am going to focus on things other than getting a commitment from the towns. That does not mean that I will agree to something outside of my authority. However, it does mean that I am going to look at the interests of all the parties, the legitimacy of any proposed agreement, the relationship between the parties, the BATNAs for each party, the options for each party, the commitment for each party, and the communications between the parties (Fisher, 1990). If I do not focus on things other than getting the commitment, it is possible that I might actually agree to something detrimental to PURE's interests. Therefore, if one of the towns has a proposal that seems as if it will be beneficial to PURE, but is contingent upon something outside of my authorization, then I am not going to reject that solution out-of-hand. If the creative proposal really seems that it might be in PURE's best interests, then I will be honest with the other parties, tell them that element is outside of what I am authorized to negotiate, but that I think it would be of interest to PURE and would like the opportunity to bring it to the company. I understand that this might greatly compromise my future with PURE, but, as an agent, my duty is to PURE, not to my own future. Furthermore, if I am able to spot an opportunity and provide a greater benefit to the company, that is only going to add value to my reputation as a negotiator.
3. A long serving board member is a little concerned about your style of influence and she wants to know how you will manage this in a potentially difficult negotiation. Most people have an inherent style of negotiating. Please go back to the Kilmann profile you developed in class and provide how you can use this profile to your advantage in this negotiation. (Please avoid general description of each negotiation style as that is not the question)
There are strengths and weaknesses to each negotiation style, depending on the goal of the negotiation. Many people think that a competing negotiation style is necessary, because the assumed goal of the negotiation is that the negotiator wants to win the negotiation at all costs. I may be incorrect, but I think that is probably the board member's concern, since I do not score highly in competing. In fact, with a competing score of 2, that is my lowest negotiation area. Moreover, I am relatively high in both avoiding and accommodating, with 5s in both areas, so I can see some concern that I would acquiesce on important issues in order to reach a consensus with the towns. However, my highest scoring areas are collaborating, where I score a 10, and compromise, where I score an 8. Fortunately, those are the two areas that will be needed the most for this negotiation.
While many business people think that negotiation is about entering a room and coming out the victor, the reality is that such a scenario does not reflect negotiation, but bullying. Negotiation does not have to be a form of dispute resolution, but can be a form of deal making, instead. In fact, my high scores in compromise and collaborating are a great reflection of how I view the negotiation process. To me, negotiation is not supposed to be an adversarial process, especially when the parties to the negotiation are expecting to continue in a long-term business relationship. To approach the mayors as if they were my adversaries would create long-term problems for PURE and would be detrimental to the likelihood that the parties would reach some type of agreement. Because I have selected a joint-decision making model, I will need to approach the negotiation from a collaborative perspective, and try to find a win-win solution for all of the parties involved. This will be especially complicated given the number of participants in the negotiation. Furthermore, because some of the participants are coming into the negotiation at a disadvantage when compared to other participants, it may be difficult to keep my empathy for them from swaying my professional position.
However, it is possible to combine empathy and assertiveness in negotiations. Empathy refers to an "understanding of the other side's needs, interests, and perspectives, without necessarily agreeing" while assertiveness is "advocacy of one's own needs, interests, and perspectives" (Mnookin, Peppet, & Tulumello, 2000). Empathy, which is a tremendous part of the collaborative process, does not mean that I am going to somehow begin advocating for the other parties. My role and my goals can still be clearly defined, even at the same time as I am exercising empathy for the other parties involved in the negotiation. "Empathy requires neither sympathy nor agreement…nor is empathy about being nice" (Mnookin, Peppet, & Tulumello, 2000). Instead, it is a way of exploring someone else's perspective without making any commitment to it. Because I want to encourage the towns to explore non-monetary solutions to their concerns, I need to understand their perspectives, even if I do not agree with them.
That I do not have a competing negotiation style makes me less likely to engage in the type of belligerent behavior that some people incorrectly associate with being assertive. "An assertive negotiator begins with the assumption that his interests are valid and that having them satisfied is legitimate" (Mnookin, Peppet, & Tulumello, 2000). Moreover, an assertive negotiator is able to identify interests, explain them clearly, make arguments if necessary, and ask difficult questions (Mnookin, Peppet, & Tulumello, 2000). This is the type of behavior expected by the French during negotiations, so, even though my scores in accommodating and avoiding are relatively high, I should be able to be assertive without fearing the social consequences for doing so.
In fact, my collaborating/compromising negotiation style reflects the fact that I am able to combine empathy with assertiveness. Successful negotiators need to possess that ability, and the fact that I can do so means that I will have an advantage in the negotiations, even if the other parties enter the negotiations with different styles. Of course, it is true that a collaborative approach by all the parties would be the most helpful, since "problem-solving negotiations go better for everyone when each side has well-honed empathy and assertiveness skills" (Mnookin, Peppet, & Tulumello, 2000). However, my success is not dependent upon the other parties' abilities. "Problem-solving negotiations go better for an individual negotiator if she both empathizes and asserts, even if the other side does not follow her lead" (Mnookin, Peppet, & Tulumello, 2000). Moreover, empathy and assertiveness help in two areas of negotiation: value-creation and value distribution. Moreover, "the assertive negotiator confronts interpersonal difficulties as they occur, rather than permitting them to fester, and thus makes…[continue]
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