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Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Research Paper


Negotiations are often held in order to achieve goals that exist in an environment of contention. This means that there has to be more that one party that seeks to take advantage of scarce or shared resources. The need to ensure that one gets the most out of a negotiation warrants the identification of a number of steps that have to be followed as well as a number of underlying issues that have to be identified and incorporated in the negotiation process.

The main goal of following these steps as well as incorporating all the varied issues in the process does not necessarily lie in the achievement of a particular resource advantage over the other parties involved, but rather the sustenance of the entire negotiation process. Some of the most heated negotiation scenarios, which are identified to be quite common, are business transactions.

These involve different parties that seek to acquire particular products at the lowest possible price while other parties seek to dispose of a product and gain the most in terms of the respective exchange resource identified (Ramsbotham, Woodhouse and Miall 37). The need to maximize the benefits reaped out of a negotiation warrants not only the identification of one’s stakes in the negotiation, but those of the other parties as well.


While preparing for a negotiation it is important to identify a number of issues that are not only important in identifying one’s position in the negotiation process, but also the position that the other parties to the negotiation are. This serves to ensure that all the parties are aware of all the stakes involved so as to avoid a situation where one of the parties is blindsided or ambushed.

This has been known to be quite detrimental to a negotiation especially where one of the parties decides to pull out after identifying that he or she may be getting the sharp end of the stick. The fact that one has to get into a negotiation while he or she is already aware of the underlying issues that are under negotiation means that there has to be prior debriefing where all the identified objectives of the negotiation are identified and communicated (Christie 31).

These should be divided into a number of categories, which range from the most important to the least important, since this helps to identify the particular objectives that can be leveraged if the negotiation seems to be too stiff and the other parties seem to be unrelenting in making a balanced argument.


The need to leverage one’s position in the negotiation also warrants an identification of all the priorities that the different parties to the whole negotiation process have. This should help in identifying the stakes that are held in the negotiation especially where the parties may have to make sacrifices so as to accommodate the demands of the other parties.

It is obvious to assume that all the parties in every negotiation have a number of bargaining chips on the side, but this may not be the case all the time as the adequate preparation of all parties through a situational audit usually helps in identifying the situation that the other party is in (Krivis 82). This helps to identify just how far one can push the negotiation before the other party snaps or gives in.

It is identified that pushing an individual who does not have much to leverage may result in negative outcomes especially where they may choose to pull out of the whole process after identifying that they may be the biggest losers in the whole process. The need to assure all the parties involved that they will most probably come out of the negotiation as winners helps to ensure that the whole process is successful.

By identifying the particular objectives as well as priorities held in the negotiation process, one is also able to ensure that they achieve their goal with as much efficiency as is possible. In a business negotiation, the objectives identified may vary from maximizing the monetary resource to maximizing one’s control on a particular resource. Identifying one’s needs as well as those of the other parties involved ensures one of leverage especially where they are in a position to control the outcomes of the party (Moffitt et, al. 91).


The main motivation towards negotiating is often the need to win or achieve something that the other party is in control of. This means that there has to be adequate information on the particular stakes that are in the whole negotiation process. Having adequate or even more information than the other parties in the negotiation often gives one an upper hand in the whole process by ensuring that they can identify the different weaknesses that the other parties have and taking advantage of them.

The particular information needed in the negotiation process has to relate to both the main issues as well as any other underlying issues that may serve to boost one’s position in the whole process. The balance of power in this case should allow one to identify where to shift the negotiation process to weaken the opponent especially if the opponent may be too strong or rather, may be presenting a very strong case that one cannot dispute (Bercovitch and Jackson 92).

The fact that the priorities held by both parties have already been identified serves to cement one’s position in the whole process where the weak who have less to leverage end up losing out.

Business information is often free to obtain in the market, but while most of the information in such negotiations may be common knowledge, the information that actually matters is the one that even the party that it belongs to does not know is out there in the market. This type of information can be used to gain immense negotiation power especially where one may be blindsided.

Solid arguments that cannot be disputed are identified to give a negotiator an upper hand especially where they present a very strong case against the other party in the negotiation. This also ensures that a negotiator is not taken by surprise where one of the parties identifies a fact that negates the progress of the whole process or reduces one’s leverage as well as priorities that make the difference between winning and losing.

This should, however, not mean that there is no possibility of factoring in a number of assumptions especially where the issue under contention is known to all the parties involved (Zartman 103). While complex information may serve to give one an upper hand in the whole negotiation process, the lack of it could result in failure and substituting the available information that is yet to be substantiated with a common assumption may serve to save the whole negotiation process.

This also works where the parties involved may not be fully aware of other underlying factors or issues that are in the industry or environment. This is especially important where there are unknown variables that may shift the whole balance of power in the negotiation process.

Even though one of the parties may be at an advantage in such a situation, the unpredictability involved with unknown variables may make those who seem to have more to leverage skeptical over their whole strategy and position in the negotiation process (Ramsbotham, Woodhouse and Miall 103).


The identification of the different issues that are at stake in the negotiation, which is often complemented by superior information and communication systems, helps in identifying the concessions inherent in the negotiation. These have to be identified in terms of their value where the highest is leveraged while the lowest are used to gain negotiation mileage especially where one of the parties may seem too rigid and reluctant to accepting any of the terms discussed.

The need to exchange value is advised by the fact that none of the parties to the negotiation ever wants to emerge as the loser in the whole process. This means that by identifying the different concessions that each party has to present a balance of whatever suits all parties can be identified and traded without having to degenerate into conflict over who is gaining what or loosing what since all the parties identify that they have to gain something from the other party or parties (Moore and Woodrow 23).

The value of concessions is, however, one of the issues that may be contentious as different parties may perceive the value of concessions based on whoever holds them or rather has leverage over them.

The fact that negotiations are often fueled by the different stakes that the different parties hold means that each party has the liberty to name their price, but have to expect the other party to reciprocate accordingly. Where one may seem as if they are losing out of the negotiated deal, they may just choose to redeem themselves by issuing high value concessions that the other parties may not be in a position to match.

Discretion and caution is, therefore, advised when identifying or defining the value of concessions in every negotiation (Whetten and Cameron 47). The fact the previously set up information and communication systems are able to bring out the underlying facts on the condition of all the parties involved, serves to ease the whole process of valuing concessions.

Since not all concessions may be identified to be of value in the particular situation that one is in, there is a need to evaluate those presented to ensure that the value is maintained at relevant levels without having to lose out on a good deal. The reverse should also be identified where one has to identify the particular concessions that he or she holds that may be of the highest value to the other parties depending on their situation.

This should help build their already leveraged position to ensure that they are in a better position to negotiate for the best possible terms as per their case. The fact that everyone who takes part in a negotiation does so under the assumption that he or she stands to gain or equally lose if the whole negotiation process is not successful means that one’s position in the negotiation is fully dependent on their ability to present the other party with concessions that they need after which they have to get what they in turn need (Krivis 104).

This should, therefore, create a situation where all the parties involved go home with confidence in the belief that they have won while the other party lost.


The success of a negotiation process to one of the parties with no regard to other parties involved mainly lies in the ability of one of the parties to achieve their personal interests as they set out to do at the beginning of the negotiation. The fact that some of the interests are often disguised under leverage and concessions means that there may be a chance where not all of the individual interests may be achieved at the end of the whole process.

There is, therefore, a need to identify the most vital interests so as to ensure that one gets the best deal out of the whole negotiation process. The fact that different parties often have varied interests means that there is a high chance for all the parties involved to identify different vital interests and this may serve to increase the chance of a successful agreement at the end of the negotiation as well as reduce the time taken in the whole process.

By identifying one’s vital interests he or she may be in a position to ensure that the whole negotiation process is conducted with one single goal in sight (Deutsch 42). This serves to reduce the time lost while negotiating for other issues in the process of trying to shift the power balance to one’s favor.

It also serves to reduce the chances of the negotiator being blindsided or taken by surprise in the process, thereby losing his or her leverage against the other parties. Being aware of the interest of the other parties also serves to increase ones chances of winning and closing as a winner especially where he or she is able to match up to the unexpected leverage presented by the other parties.

This also helps to predict the whole flow of the negotiation process and to identify the different variables that are in play, which then gives one some level of control over the whole negotiation process.

Bridging factors have to be identified to ensure that all the parties remain relevant in the negotiation process. While ensuring that the negotiation continues smoothly may be identified as a secondary goal, which comes after ensuring that one gets the best deal out of the negotiation, the need to ensure that the negotiation flows smoothly to fruition is as important as the decision to join the negotiations in the first place (Moffitt et, al. 129).

These are identified as the shared interests between the parties involved. These factors should always be leveraged by relinquishing some of the power that one may hold in a particular negotiation especially where the sustenance of the whole negotiation process may be at stake.

At one point in the negotiation one has to identify particular interests that have to be given up to ensure that the process continues and that the he or she achieves the main or rater critical interests. The need to relinquish some of the leverage held should always be advised by some thorough research into the other parties to the negotiation (Bercovitch and Jackson 149).

This should help in ensuring that one identifies the best interests that he or she may have to give up so as to ensure that they reach an agreement on the ones that are most desired.

The fact that the other parties may pull out a fast one after one has relinquished some of his or her leverage means that there has to be a fallback position that will ensure that there is the safe reorganization of priorities as well as leverage ones power and position in the whole process (Christie 48).

This may often happen where fact on the other parties or even the issues being negotiated may be distorted or just plain wrong, in which case one may find it tough to convince other parties to accept flawed arguments.


The need to come up with a basic strategy complements the objectives identified. This strategy should incorporate all the variables identified as well as concessions established. It should also exploit the identified information and communication structures to ensure that the whole process remains successful all through.

The need for a basic strategy also serves to ensure that a negotiating team is cooperative in its efforts and flows in unison where the efforts of each team member complements those of the other team members. The size of the team has to be factored in the process of formulating a negotiation strategy (Whetten and Cameron 78).

While it may be identified that predictability may work negatively on one’s negotiating position and power, it is identified that simplicity and flexibility in the strategy adopted serves to improve one’s chances of success especially where the issues being negotiated are too complex and the negotiating teams may be large.

It is identified that while simplicity serves to ensure that there is a steady flow as well as cooperation in the negotiation process, flexibility in strategy on the other hand serves to ensure that one is ready for any challenges that he or she may face in the process, especially where the other parties in the negotiation may be in a position of power or have more to leverage (Deutsch 135).

The ability to adapt especially in light of questioning sessions that may often be used to weaken one of the parties, serves to increase one’s chances of increasing his or her bargaining power. A strategy has to incorporate the needs of all the parties involved without becoming too complex to a point where no one can comprehend its basic tenets let alone apply it in the real negotiation.


Where a team of negotiators is involved, the cooperation between the different team members often has a significant impact on the success of the whole process. To achieve the best synchrony there has to be defined tasks that have to be performed by each team member. The first should be the team leader who should be in a position to coordinate the activities of the team not only during the negotiation, but also before the negotiation when the team is still in the planning and the strategy formulation phases (Zartman 164).

This should serve to ensure they are all aware of their input in the whole process as well as ensure that all the team members have each other’s back in case the negotiation process becomes too heated. There has to be a main speaker who will initiate dialogue with the other party while directing the whole flow of the negotiation process.

This particular individual should have excellent communication and negotiation skills as well as be quite versed on the subject matter of the negotiation even though not in detail. A support speaker should be able to handle any questions or arguments that the main speaker may not be in a position to satisfactorily answer.

There has to be a questioner who should be aware of all the interests of the parties as well as be extremely versed on the subject matter so as to be able to identify any underlying issues raised by the other party, which may lead to insufficient outcomes. There should be someone to summarize who should then serve to close the deal by ensuring that he or she captures the interest of the other party while ensuring that the team’s interests are served effectively (Moore and Woodrow 36).

The fact that the team needs to understand the other party to the negotiation as well as learn from the negotiation process means that there has to be an observer who has to identify the main issues in the negotiation process and ensure that the process stays on track and the main objectives are effectively served. These different positions in every team can at times be shared among the same persons and at times they can overlap each other depending on the negation and the resources available in the negation process.


Most negotiations involve arguments, but this may not be guaranteed depending on the individuals involved as well as the nature of the negotiation. This requires brief and strong statements so as to decrease one’s chances of confusing oneself. The fact that heated arguments may degenerate to include emotional outbursts means that one has to exercise caution while trying to induce emotion into the process while keeping his or her own emotions manageable (Moffitt et, al. 172).

There is also a need to exchange information freely by ensuring that the other party gets a chance to communicate. Listening is often identified as courteous while at the same time serving to increase one’s chance of identifying loop holes that can be exploited to improve his or her position in the whole process. Questions serve to give one a chance to seek clarification as well as to convince the other party that one is paying attention.

This is often advantageous in increasing trust as well as affirming ones interest in the whole negotiation, which serves to sustain the negation to a point where all the parties reach an amicable agreement. This gives one a chance to look out for clues that serve to improve one’s position in the negotiation while at the same time building on the other party’s ideas (Krivis 243).

In a business negotiation, the making of a sale should be based on what the other party needs and how best to satisfy that need. The fact that most personal needs are unique makes it hard to actually pitch an exact idea as that held by the other party and the best way to ensure that the negotiation is fool proof is by initiating an argument that should then ensure that the other party appreciates one’s efforts.


The process of proposing has to be preceded by an evaluation of the position that one is in as far as the negotiation is concerned. The strength of one’s position at this point should dictate the weight of the proposal made. In the case of a business negotiation, where one may be playing the defensive card over in efficiencies identified by the other party, it may not be so wise to make a significant proposal or even propose anything at all.

Strait facts are quite important and the gathering of important and factual information on the issues at hand as well as on the other parties in the negotiation should be of paramount importance (Zartman 218).

Where the negotiation is done using factual background information, it is identified that there is less ambiguity and control can be established based on the nature of the factual information held. Where one is in a position of power and still has some leverage left, one can propose anything and even go further to give conditions to ensure that he or she gets the best out of the deal.


When bargaining, one has to identify the particular interests of the other party and match them with his or her own to ensure that he or she does not lose out on resources that would have otherwise been placed on the table (Moore and Woodrow 152). The fact that the value of the variables identified dictates that interests have to conform to a particular hierarchy means that one should protect the most important interests in the negotiation while using the less important interests as bargaining chips.

Having leveraged heavily in the argument and proposal, one should be in a position to compel the other party to give up some of their important interests in exchange for some less important ones. This should ensure that the maximum amount of gains is made out of the whole negotiation process.

At times, one may need to act tough, but caution should be exercised to ensure that one does not negate all the progress made in the negotiation by coming out as being uncooperative and conservative (Whetten and Cameron 126). Leading with conditions increases one’s chance of ensuring that he or she is calling the shots and keeping everything negotiated linked serves to cement this authority by assuring the other party that they stand to lose more if one’s demands are not met.


The condition that one is in during closing in terms of interests enjoyed after one’s proposal has been accepted often dictates the type of closing to be made. This may either be a summary closing, a conditional closing or a concessional closing, in which case the next step is identified to vary between adjournment, denial or acceptance.

One may also need to evaluate whatever has been agreed on so as to ensure that everything is clear as well as to identify any outstanding issues that may have been over looked (Bercovitch and Jackson 324). This is meant to avert any future legal proceedings arising out of conflicting interests not covered in the negation or wrongly interpreted in the process of negotiation.


The strategy should be able to incorporate logic and reason so as to cover factual negotiations that cannot be disputed in the negotiation process as well as in the future where there may be legal proceedings seeking to reverse or negate the decisions made in the negotiation. In a business situation one has use logic and reason to get the other party to accept the proposal made.

The application of previously identified information should serve to ensure that one raises perceptions of integrity that often reduce the chances of being ambushed with questions that require factual answers, which often serve to weaken the other party (Christie 62). This should also serve to increase trust since it is identified that people trust those who know more about the business subject and expect them to be right.

This should serve to give one an upper hand in the negotiation especially in as far as convincing the other party is concerned. One may also need to incorporate emotional issues in the subject matter under negotiation to arouse the personal and emotional feeling of the other party.

This works to ensure that one captures the full attention of the other party and is in a position of power where he or she is able to influence the thinking of the other people or person in the negation (Deutsch 214). An appeal to the emotions of other people is a powerful way to persuade them since it forces them to let their guard down and sympathize with the sentiments raised by the negotiator.

The use of questions in the negotiation process can also be aimed at leading the other party to accepting one’s terms by making him or her believe in the stakes raised in the process of negotiation. This should also allow the negotiator to force relationships on the other parties by allowing them to answer rhetorical questions that identify positive and clear facts. The use of repetition also serves to fulfill the same purpose where answers given serve to imply acceptance to proposals made.

The fact that the use of lead questions serves to direct the other party to insinuate concessions before they are even verbalized means that, one is able to maintain a powerful rapport even when the other party may not be so willing to accept to the terms of the agreement. It also eases the way for one to make the formal proposal over the terms of the negotiation.

There is a need to identify faults and problems before the other party identifies them to ensure that one maintains their control over the whole process, however, caution has to be exercised to ensure that one does not take responsibility over faults that may be detrimental to the whole negotiation process especially where they may serve to compromise one’s leverage over the other party involved.

Where the other party identifies such faults and limitation, the information identified before the whole process should come in handy in asserting one’s authority over his or her credibility in the negotiation and the stakes involved.

Works Cited

Bercovitch Jacob, and Jackson, Richard. Conflict Resolution in the Twenty-First Century: Principles, Methods, and Approaches. Boston: University of Michigan Press. 2009. Print.

Christie, Edward. Finding Solutions For Environmental Conflicts: Power and Negotiation. New York: Edward Elgar Publishing. 2008. Print.

Deutsch, Morton. The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 2006. Print.

Krivis, Jeffrey. Improvisational Negotiation: A Mediator’s Stories of Conflict About Love, Money, Anger–And the Strategies That Resolved Them. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 2006. Print.

Moffitt, Michael. et, al. The Handbook of Dispute Resolution. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 2005. Print.

Moore Christopher, and Woodrow, Peter. Handbook of Global and Multicultural Negotiation. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 2010. Print.

Ramsbotham Oliver, Woodhouse, Tom, and Miall, Hugh. Contemporary Conflict Resolution. New York: Polity. 2011. Print.

Whetten David, and Cameron, Kim. Developing management skills. New York: Prentice Hall. 2007. Print.

Zartman, William. Negotiation and Conflict Management: Essays on Theory and Practice. London: Routledge. 2008. Print.

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