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Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In is the book that deals with the psychology of negotiation. It is written by Roger Fisher and William Ury, who described their method of principled negotiation in details for the readers to find out how they can win any dispute.
According to the authors’ method, one should maintain four fundamental principles of negotiation to make a good agreement. These are:
- “separate the people from the problem;
- focus on interests rather than positions;
- invent multiple options looking for mutual gains before deciding what to do;
- insist that the result be based on some objective standard” (Fisher and Ury 124).
These principles correspond with the main elements of negotiation. Thus, one is to cope with the situation considering “people, interests, options and criteria” (Fisher and Ury 123).
Even though the theory was proved to be working, it was questioned by many authors, and Alan Tidwell was one of them (Matyók, Senehi, and Byrne 389). I also have some concerns about it. First of all, I believe that the authors failed to pay needed attention to the situation and context of the dispute. General ideas and steps are not always the best things one should follow. For example, if the problem is a person, then the considered issue cannot be solved using the first principle.
If a person deals with the feelings, it might be impossible to have an objective standard (Funken 4). All feelings are originally subjunctive, and people can try to create a certain framework to evaluate them and prove their opinion to win the dispute, but the basis of the results will be biased. Moreover, when the issue is found within an extremely strict environment, mutual gains are often impossible to reach. For instance, if the problem occurred at work and one who fails to prove his/her opinion would be considered guilty and fired, it is impossible to achieve mutual gain.
The idea to pay more attention to the person’s interests is also questionable. Provis underlines that the things people want are not always good for them (Forrester 92). Thus, it would be better if the authors considered the risks that are likely to occur when unsound interests are in the focus. One may prove his/her thoughts to be true and get into a dangerous situation. Moreover, one’s interests do not always correspond with the values and beliefs and can be inconsistent with cultural or religious views.
It often occurs that the parties are not on equal terms and the results are gained not due to the usage of the principles (Bühring-Uhle, Kirchhoff, Scherer 157). When we are talking about the issue between people of different age or social status or companies who have different income and recognition, we usually can easily predict whose interests will be victorious. The power of one of the opponents is neglected by the authors. Fisher and Ury claim that they should not use any tricks in the process of negotiation. However, such approach is rarely seen in today’s society, which is proved by McCarthy (Umbreit 226).
Getting to Yes was meant to help people manage the process of negotiation; however, the principles that are said to be followed cannot be applied to all possible issues. They have lots to be improved and distinguished to become undeniable.
Bühring-Uhle, Christian, Lars Kirchhoff, and Gabriele Scherer. Arbitration and Mediation in International Business, Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International, 2006. Print.
Fisher, Roger, and William Ury. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, New York: Random House, 2012. Print.
Forrester, Michael. Moral Beliefs and Moral Theory, Springer Science & Business Media, 2013. Print.
Funken, Katja 2001, The Pros and Cons of Getting to Yes. Web.
Matyók, Thomas, Jessica Senehi, and Sean Byrne. Critical Issues in Peace and Conflict Studies, Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2011. Print.
Umbreit, Mark. Mediating Interpersonal Conflicts, Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2006. Print.