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