Describe a Range of Negotiation Styles and Evaluate Their Effectiveness

2531 Words Apr 1st, 2008 11 Pages
Describe a range of negotiation styles and evaluate their effectiveness

Definition

Negotiation, according to Tubbs and Moss (2006) is a “set of methods for resolving conflicts between and among people”. They also quote Walker and Harris (1995) who define negotiation as “the process of resolving differences through mutually acceptable trade-offs”.

To define conflict, Tubbs and Moss choose a definition by Wilmot and Hocker (1998): “an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals”. Conflict therefore does not only apply to the situations, sometimes extreme, to which it is commonly applied, such as child-parent
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The competitive approach will generally lead to animosity and distrust and can be destructive, leading to win-lose outcomes. Win-lose situations result when only one side perceives the outcome as positive. Thus, win-lose outcomes are less likely to be accepted voluntarily (Burgess and Burgess, 1997).
Finding an Effective Balance

On entering a negotiation, the parties will have a feeling for whether they need to cooperate or compete to reach their desired outcome. According to Lax and Sebenius (1986), there will always be common and conflicting goals when negotiating an acceptable agreement, and so cooperation and competition are both necessary to some extent for a resolution to be achieved. They state “negotiators must learn, in part from each other, what is jointly possible and desirable. To do so requires some degree of cooperation. But at the same time, they seek to advance their own interests. This involves some degree of competition. They propose that the key to successful negotiation is to find a balance between these approaches and they coin the term “The Negotiator’s Dilemma” to define the basic tension between cooperation and competition that is present in any negotiation.

In my work role I often have to negotiate with suppliers and my experience equates with the Lax and Sebenius theory. The way this plays out in reality means that finding the balance takes time and negotiations can therefore take place over
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