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Analysis of Nelson Mandela Negotiation Skills Essay

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Updated: Jun 16th, 2022


Any engagements of people, groups or nations create opportunities for conflicts that must be reported for peaceful coexistence. Nelson Mandela is among few global leaders that have exercised strong and effective negotiation skills that are collaborative and competitive to bring a consensus in a middle of conflicting positions with their rivals. With proper negotiation skills and consensus, people or nations can come into a mutual understanding that is acceptable to all. Various regions such as the DRC have experienced consistent conflicts involving external influencers, national leaderships, bordering nations and the citizens.

Nelson Mandela’s Negotiation Competence

Nelson Mandela has proved commendable his negotiation approach which led to a lifelong impact on contemporary negotiation practice. He can project his needs, values and rights through global affairs diplomacy of a qualitatively new kind. A good outcome of negotiation in practice is dependent on the competence of those involved in the process, Mandela proved to be one of such. He had strong democratic perspectives that placed people’s interest in the frontline having a clear vision of expected outcomes.

Relationship And Substantive Interests

The focus of each parties negotiating is to build trust within a relationship so that they can be cooperative with their counterparts. Without respecting the views of the others, the negotiators cannot come to an understanding easily. A good and functional relationship would unearth negotiation partner’s hidden interests and a better agreement can be achieved in the process.

Integrative And Distributive Modes

Mandela appealed for peace and respect toward human dignity and DRC’s sovereignty. He pushed to minimize human losses and settle military conflicts by peaceful means, as it was in the Congolese Conflict settlement demonstrates that he was bound to integrative approach. Nelson pushed for a win-win strategy that would allow positive outcomes and one that prioritized the results of bargaining, not competing over his interests.


Nelson Mandela invested in creating a relationship and this was an opportunity to have his opponents appreciate his views despite them having a higher power. Mandela understood the influential power of the West, and through the understanding of the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, he pushed his ideals of defending the human rights and freedom of the people. Mandela’s opponents had a higher power based on their overruling position in terrorizing people. However, Mandela was powerful mentally as he was confident on the values he was seeking leverage on.


Mandela convinced his followers that they must ensure their human dignity and justice was upheld. He painted his opponent in a negative light, which is an aspect of competition, but geared to persuade the people to see his ultimate goal. The ANC led by Mandela had persuaded a number of people to their side, even though the government had the power and authority. The whites were not expecting Mandala to shift his dedication to ANC’s Alliance with the South African Communist Party.

Mediation Culture

The impression that the Whites are powerful and able to influence other regions depicted what their opponents would think about them. The resolution of a conflict is a result of negotiation and considerate conversation that is examined from various angles. The qualitative change in conflict resolution and fighting for human rights on an international level were obtained through the competence and mediation skills of Mandela as a negotiator.

Ethical Considerations

Understanding cultural aspects of the opposing party is key in how to relate with them so that a relationship for negotiation can be created by prioritizing their grounds. Both parties should endeavor to learn each other’s formalities so that they approach the issues at hand with trust. Also, the attitudes that each party has is significant since this determines whether they will be collaborate in their approach or confrontational. Mandela understand his opposing party and sought to collaborate and focus his efforts on solving the problems at hand, even at the expense of his interest.

Structural And Strategic Approach To Negotiations

Concerning structural approach to negotiations, relative power of every parties influences their propensity to attain their personal goals through negotiations. Power refers to the ability of a party to win through having resources and monopoly of ideas. The dual concern model should bring on board conflicting and accommodative ideas, which is opposed to the emphasis that Mandela reinforced that people’s rights had to be respected. This is an opposing approach on issues that could be better explained through structural approach that exemplifies issues. Strategic approach thrives on critical thing so that the winning view has been thought and determined to be workable.

Concluding Remarks

Negotiators should be concerned with how to create value and come up with mutual principles that are foundation for the critical thinking or moral reasoning. The integrative bargaining grants parties opportunity to apply problem solving behavior such as was supported in Nelson Mandela’s case. Integrative models prioritize dimension that creates value so that parties can share more from their negotiation. Mandela wanted to solve infringement of rights and he was willing to suppress his interests to make the opponents see value in his line of reasoning.


Balton, Neeshan. “Principles, Tactics, and Negotiations with the Oppressor.” Yale Hum. Rts. & Dev. LJ 20 (2019): 31.

Havlik, Vratislav, and Petra Kuchyňková. “Cities and regions in competition? Negotiations for the 2014-2020 programming period in the Czech Republic.” Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences 13, no. 50 (2017): 90-109.

Houston, Gregory. “Nelson Mandela’s leadership during negotiations: collective versus individual leadership.” (2018):1-29.

Makgetlaneng, Sehlare. “Mandela’s Call for a Negotiated Settlement of the Congolese Conflict.” The Thinker, 79 (2019): 8-18.

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