1WE4 's BLOG

Blogging on Conflict Management and Negotiation

Definition of Negotiation

The word “negotiation” is from the Latin expression, “negotiatus”, past participle of negotiare which means “to carry on business”. Negotiation is a dialogue intended to resolves disputes to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, or to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests. It is the primary method of alternetive dispute resolution.

negotiationNegotiation occurs in business, non-profit organizations, government branches, legal proceedings, among nations and in personal situations such as marriage, divorce, parenting, and everyday life. The study of the subject is called negotiation theory. Professional negotiators are often specialized, such as union negotiators, leverage buyout negotiators, peace negotiators, hostage negotiators, or may work under other titles, such as diplomats,legislators or brokers.

October 2, 2009 Posted by | Definition, negotiation | , , | 1 Comment

Definition of Conflict

A conflict is a situation between two or more people in which one person perceives that another person has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affect, something that the first person cares about.  This definition of conflict contains three elements, all of which must be present in order for a conflict to exist.  First of all, there is a specific perception on part of one or more of the people involved in the conflict.  The perception may or may not be accurate, but it is held by the conflicting parties.  Secondly, the perception is generally negative.  One party believes the other party is going to do something that will have a negative impact in some direct or indirect way.  Finally, the issue surrounding the conflict must be something that both parties care about.  If one person does something that the other person doesn’t care about, then a conflict does not exist.

Based on this definition, not all disagreements are conflicts. conflictFor example, two people may disagree on how something should be done.  But a conflict doesn’t exist unless both people care significantly about the issue at hand, and believe that the other party will do something that has a negative impact on their interests.  If one of the people is willing to “give in” because the issue is just not that important to them, then the dispute is not a conflict.  Likewise, the parties may disagree, and the issue may be important to both people, but if neither person believes the other person will have any impact on their goals or interests, then the disagreement is not a conflict.

October 2, 2009 Posted by | Definition, Types of conflict | , | Leave a comment

Defending Against Dirty Tricks In Negotiation

Unfortunately, some people will resort to “dirty tricks” in an effort get what they want in a negotiation. Below are a few examples of common tricks, along with some methods on how you can defend yourself, if not turn it back on them:

One aggressive technique is the use of threats in a negotiation. Often this tactic practiced by an inexperienced or poor negotiator. The best way to respond is to say something like, “Let me see if I understand you. If I can’t meet your price on this bidnegotiation-fight, you plan to break my legs? Is that correct?” By simply kicking it back to them, it can force them to better explain what they meant and why. It also gives you time to think about how to handle this threat. If the threat is just a bluff, you move the negotiation on or just ignore it. If it is real, you can suggest a reciprocal action like talking to their supervisor about the threat or contacting the local trade journal.

Another rather common dirty trick is the “good cop/bad cop” routine. In this scenario, the other side uses two negotiators. One is the good cop and your buddy who acts sympathetic to you. The other is the bad cop who is aggressive and argumentative. The best way to handle this situation would be to flip it back on them saying, “You two don’t seem to be on the same page. Maybe you two need to (meet separately) (that sounds contradictory; consider rephrasing) to iron out your disagreement. How about we take a ten minute break?” This response will totally disarm them and they will likely apologize for the mixed message. In the meantime, you just bought some time to figure out your next move.

Finally, a petty but common practice by buyers and purchasing agents is to keep the sales rep waiting in the lobby. Other versions of this dirty trick includes answering phone calls during your meeting, accepting visitors during the meeting, or excusing themselves in the middle of your presentation. All of these tricks or diversions, which could be totally staged or planned ahead, are meant to fluster, interrupt, or “buffalo” you. This passive-aggressive technique is a real time-waster. The best thing to do is confront them on the tactic and suggest that your time is valuable and that maybe a reschedule of the meeting is in order. Odds are they will get the message and stop the dirty tricks.

October 2, 2009 Posted by | negotiation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Contrary to popular opinion

Q : I am on a taskforce that is working on no longer term goals and strategies for the company, and there is one individual who has a contrary opinion to everything the rest of us agree upon. No matter what approach we take, he seems to pride himself on criticizing it and pushing for things to be done his way. How do you deal with someone such as this?

59290_FullA : Contrary to popular belief, there are many circumstances where are contrarian is an important asset in group decision-making. However, a great deal depends on your contrarian. If he is simply displaying self-oriented behavior and voicing his input either to hear himself speak or to control the group, that is a real problem. An honest look at his inputs can be very telling in this regard.

The positive side of having this type of individual on the taskforce is that he can prevent the group from nodding into a state of agreement without carefully considering a broader range of options. If he is truly focused on helping the quality of decisions by the group, his comments, criticism, and suggestions can actually be a source of innovative and creative solutions.

The best step in this case is to look honestly at the group and at this individual. It is also important to remember that groups that operate without any disagreement or conflict can often point to a lack of interest, involvement and passion on the part of the members. Disagreement in a group is often healthy, even if some disagree with this fact.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | Q & A | Leave a comment

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September 30, 2009 Posted by | Definition, negotiation, Q & A, Types of conflict, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

The snap decision

Q : My manager snapped at me in public and I snapped back at him. I know he’s upset with me, but i’m not sure if I should let it pass and avoid turning it into a bigger issue, or if I should meet with him to discuss it. What do you think?

A : If you and your manager snapped at each other, you should definitely meet with him to discuss what happened, and make it snappy. At this point, your encounter is an open wound, and if you leave it untreated, it will only become worse.

image0_tb01Instead of wondering if you should meet with him, the real issue is what to say when you sit down with him. before doing so, organize your thoughts as to what really occurred, and be prepared to deal with fact and behaviors, and not opinions and assumptions.

Open the discussion by thanking him for taking the time to meet with you. Tell him that you are most interested in working productively with him again. Walk him through the specifics of the incident, and tell him how you honestly feel. For example, if you were embarrassed or humiliated by the public reprimand, tell him. if you feel that your performance did or did not merit some negative feedback, tell him. And, if you feel that you may have overreacted by snapping back at him, tell him that too. The fact is that you both made a mistake. He should not have reprimanded you in public and you should not have snapped back at him in public.

Let him know that you will do all you can perform at a level that does not merit any reprimands, while committing to demonstrate more self-control when  receiving such feedback. Having made these conciliatory commitments, tell him that you and your fellow employees can be far more productive when feedback is provided in private. Ask him what he thinks and then be quiet and listen.

If he makes a commitment in return to try to privatize the public feedback, that is step in the right direction. However, if he cannot manage to make this small step, the fact is he cannot manage. This does not call for a snap decision on your part but it does have implications regarding your near-term career plans.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | Q & A | Leave a comment

Conflict styles ~when to use which style~

AVOIDANCE

Avoidance is characterized by behaviors that either ignore or refuse to engage in the conflict.  While avoidance is presented by some theorists as a negative style that shows low concern for both one’s own and the other party’s interests, there are sometimes strategic reasons to avoid conflict.

• often appropriate when~~time is short and a decision not necessary or the issue is trivial

•often inappropriate when~~you care about both relationship and the issue involved or negative feelings may linger

COMPETITION

Competition, or win/lose, is a style that maximizes reaching one’s own goals or getting the problem solved at the cost of the other party’s goals or feelings.  While always choosing competition has negative repercussions for relationships, businesses and cultures, it can occasionally be the right style to choose if the other party is firmly fixed in a competitive style or there are genuinely scarce resources.  While competitive tactics are not necessarily dysfunctional, competition can easily slide into a destructive scenario.  Understanding the tactics and strategies of others who use competitive styles can assist conflict managers in defusing the negative consequences of competition and working toward a mutual gains approach.

♦ often appropriate when~~you’re sure you’re right or the issue is trivial and no one care about what really happens

♦often inappropriate when~~collaboration has not yet been attempted or cooperations from others is important

ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation involves giving in to the other’s wishes or smoothing the choppy waves of a conflict. Accommodation sacrifices one’s own goals for the sake of the other person.  Accommodators often use phrases like:  “Whatever you want is fine with me.”

•often appropriate when~~you really don’t care about the issue or when you realize that you are wrong

•often inappropriate when~~used habitually in order to gain acceptance or when others wish to collaborate and will feel like enforces if you accommodate

COMPROMISE

Compromise is a give and take of resources. The classic compromise in negotiating is to “split the difference” between two positions. While there is no victor from compromise, each person also fails to achieve her or his original goal.

♦often appropriate when~~cooperation is important but time or resources are limited

♦often inappropriate when~~finding the most creative solution is essential

COLLABORATION

Collaboration occurs when parties cooperatively work together until a mutually agreeable solution is found.

•often appropriate when~~the issues and relationship are both significant or when cooperation is important

•often inappropriate when~~time is short or you are over-loaded

September 26, 2009 Posted by | Types of conflict | 1 Comment

CONFLICT?? what is it about?

Conflict is actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests. It can be explain in many ways such as disagreement between individuals, groups or organizations for an issue of mutual interests. Conflict has elevated to an emotional level because it interrupts the normal work activity by distracting team members and undermining team spirit.

Fortunately, in a positive perception, conflict can be healthy for everyone especially the organizations. If conflicts are merely accepted as healthy backgroundnoise, without generating any managerial attention, they can easily transform from wild disagreement to wild disagreement.

A more productive approach is to accept conflict as a normal and healthy life reality, while remembering that there are boundaries, acceptable ranges of behavior and a process of conflict management to keep the conflicts open and robust, without busting anyone. In this context, conflict can encourage thinking outside the box, individual and organizational growth and productives changes.

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It is important for people at any job level to recognizethat they have the power to manage many aspect in their life. Sometimes, the causes of conflicts are exists a healthy range of conflict and an easily accesible set of strategies to deal with it.

September 26, 2009 Posted by | Definition | 1 Comment