Problems To Agreements Essay, Research Paper
The method of principled negotiation provides an alternative which combines both hard and soft ways and look into issues based on their merits. It is a method hard on merits while soft on people. It also helps the negotiator acquire what he is entitled to in a fair manner and at the same time prevents unnecessary exploitations. There are four basic points to the method: Firstly, to separate the people from the problem, secondly, to focus on interests and not positions, thirdly, to generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do and lastly, to insist that the result be based on some objective standard. Next, the question of whether the method helps in overcoming problems arising from standard strategies of positional bargaining? Before I begin on that, let me identify the likely problems of positional bargaining.
Positional bargaining takes place when each side to a conflict take a position and makes concessions to reach a compromise. Although such a way of negotiation might result in agreement, however the process is not efficient and sometimes can prove to be not amicable. The reason is due to the parties’ tendency towards locking themselves into their positions and this worsens the moment he tries to defend his position. Gradually, egoism comes into play and in order to “save face”, it becomes increasingly difficult for both parties to arrive at an agreement that reconcile their original interests. Thus the underlying issues that concerns the parties will be neglected if they put too much emphasis in positions and have the consequence whereby any agreement, if any, is unsatisfactory for both parties as it is not crafted to meet their needs. In other words, there is no win-win situation.
Another problem that comes with positional bargaining is that of time and cost. This is due to the fact that negotiators tend to stall settlements in order to “strengthen” their position. This happens when both parties start with extreme opening positions and hold on to it strongly, making minimal concessions that are sufficient to continue talks. As such, a lot of time and effort would be wasted in the search for an agreement. This is further accentuated if the parties decide to employ tactics involving threat. This brings us to the next point of relationship between the parties. This way of negotiation often have the consequence of strained or even shattered relationships. The reason being the parties are now wrestling against each other to try and force the opponent to change its position, rather than cooperating to devise a mutually agreeable solution. For example, one party would make a remark like “I will not change my stand, it is either this or nothing!” . In such a situation, even if the other party do agree to the request, he will feel that he is doing something against his own will and his own concerns are unaddressed.
The number of parties to a negotiation can also be a problematic issue. In positional bargaining, the situation is worsened because when the number of people involved increase, it becomes difficult to establish common ground given the number of differing views present. In such cases, small interest groups may form which adds to the problem as they will tend to defend their position even more strongly once it is developed.
As discussed above, the two extremes to negotiation are undertaking either soft or hard positional bargaining. The demerits of the latter in soured relationship, time and costs are known to many. In response to that, the general tendency is for people to take a stance that is closer to the former where relationships are more likely to be maintained where the negotiator look to the other party as a friend, seek agreement rather than victory, entrust them, make concessions, be soft on both people and problem and avoid contesting of will to search for an answer agreeable by the other party. Though this method can prove to be efficient in certain cases like among family members and friends, the outcome might not be satisfactory as it places the negotiator in a susceptible position when faced with a hard positional bargainer. It inevitably places the soft positional bargainer in a less than satisfactory position, and feeling of resentment might ultimately surface when he feels that his needs are not taken care of.