As it was specified in the PWCS Interview, negotiating is a cornerstone of the course (FBL UON). The models we had experienced during the course are online asynchronous negotiation model, one-to-one video negotiation, and multiple party video. The asynchronous negotiation was diluted with textual elements which were very helpful. The one-to-one video had its negotiation pattern but helped communicate the meaning nevertheless. The multiple-party video negotiation felt like a conference on the one hand. On the other, there was some anxiety that the parties involved should break into chaos but the negotiations went relatively smoothly.
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The subject matter of the negotiation was Enterprise bargaining between the management side and the workers’ union. During the negotiation, the parties had to agree to the flexibility of dairy production (from the management side) and reward (which was what the workers wanted). During the negotiation, we were the representatives of the management. Among other things, we had to redraft the 16 clauses of the 2012 agreement to establish a more formal procedure of workers’ nomination for training.
We had to establish a more formal system: for example, a worker can be only promoted by a manager or supervisor. We also had to redraft clause 22 and optimize the schedules of the shifts based on busy and slack work periods. We have referred to relevant fact sheets to establish the lack of formality in this area (Enterprise Agreement 2012-2015, n.d.; Enterprise Bargaining, n.d.; Hall, 2006). We needed to negotiate the necessity to revise the clauses and at the same time increase productivity. Among other factors we had to consider was the pay to remain stable so that the workers could safely stay within the company. The conflict was resolved via the BATNA strategy.
Concerning the BATNA, it is worth saying that it is an incredibly useful strategy for reaching an agreement in negotiations such as these. The strategy was especially handy considering the conflict of interests. The strategy assumes one can reach an alternative by developing a list of attractive solutions that do not match what is initially negotiated for, satisfying all the parties (BATNA, n.d.). We decided to redraft the clause 8 basing on the BATNA, which implied that the workers create their committee to inform the management about their opinion on particular issues before final decision-making.
We did not offer the solution at once; rather, the solution was availed after it became clear that the workers’ position would remain stable. Overall, the procedure went well, despite some initial concerns over the chaotic direction that multiple-party negotiations could take. The order was maintained and the parties were helpful and respectful to each other. It is possible that such behavior can be attributed to BATNA, which is indeed the best alternative to a negotiated agreement.
Through BATNA, it was possible to develop individual skills at finding a compromise in a situation where no compromise seemed possible, in the first place. Also, the strategy helped increase the capability to convert the ideas into projects that are feasible in the short term and the long run. Outside of the BATNA, the most obvious benefit that can be attributed to negotiations is that they develop interpersonal skills. Another valuable asset to be enlisted in terms of development is the emotional one: negotiations are a perfect means of developing biased-free and empathic behavior and helpfulness.
BATNA Basics: Boost Your Power at the Bargaining Table. (2012). Web.
Enterprise Agreement 2012-2015. (n.d.). Web.
Enterprise Bargaining. (n.d.). Web.
FBL UON. (2016). PWCS Full Interview. Web.
Hall, Richard (2006). “Australian Industrial Relations in 2005 – The WorkChoices Revolution.” Journal of Industrial Relations 48(3): 291-303. Web.