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Negotiation Outcome Between Teacher’s Union and US Government Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Apr 30th, 2019

Our main goal was to stop the layoff of teachers, not to reduce prep time, increase salary, and possibly reduce workload on the teachers. The outcome of the negotiation was in favor of the teacher’s union. However, due to the constraint in the budget, many of our demands were not met. The board had a budget deficit of $188,6902, it was difficult for us to negotiation our demands of increasing the salary of the teachers.

The parents union was a strong third party influence that strongly opposed any form of strike or disruption of normal schooling. Therefore, the negotiation process went through a distributive form of procedure wherein the Board of Education, the teacher’s union, and the parents’ body together tried to solve the problem.

The process was more integrative as all parties wanted to come to a middle point wherein all their demands were satisfied to some extent . The bargaining process must be convergent and not divergent as this would increase individual differences of the negotiators and therefore no outcome would be possible to be reached.

Negotiation is believed to be “non zero-sum game” wherein the outcome can be that of mutual gain and that is ensured through an integrative bargaining process . This process has been followed in out negotiation process, such that the outcome of the process is beneficial to all the parties involved.

The distributive process involved in the negotiation is related to the distribution of pay, the ratio of teachers and pupils, the total number of employees in the school, the duration of the working day and the recall period. This aspect dominated the beginning of the negotiation process. However, the first phase of negotiation based on this approach did not end satisfactorily for either of the parties.

This led to the use of an integrative process of negotiation in order to satisfy the requirements of both the parties. The integrative process of negotiation put forward the proposal of increasing the salary of the teachers through direct contributions made by the parents. Further this process also helped us finding innovative proposals to reduce the deficit in budget.

According to the study conducted by Beersma and de Dreu integrative process of negotiation helps in deriving better outcome than distributive process and they also found that the former helps in creating better atmosphere for the bargaining process to take place.

The teacher’s association employed a number of negotiating tools to achieve their goals. In doing so, the association consciously acknowledged and accepted the goal of the board to reduce the number of teachers and increase the productivity of the paper stationeries.

In this respect a more cost effective means of sending the study material through emails to the students was suggested by the association in order to reduce the cost of printing. This helped the association and the board to reduce the cost of the materials, and therefore reduced the budget deficit considerably.

As the budget deficit was the main reason for the disagreement between the parties, most of the time in the negotiating process was spent on this issue. The process of integrative negotiation led both the parties to agree on the errors that had occurred in pricing of the materials and therefore the budget deficit could further be reduced.

There were other errors in calculation of the utilities that were reduced through the bargaining process. This process helped in reducing the deficit 47 percent of the initial deficit. This encouraged the association to dwell further, and look into the savings in order to reduce deficit to zero.

Due to the evident errors in the budget that were found in the process of the bargaining process, the association put forth a proposal for reviewing of the budget deficit presented by the board of education and make a more balanced deficit. However, this was not negotiated and agreed upon by the board who showed their reluctance in dealing with any further.

Bias and bad intention during negotiation process can make the process redundant as such an unethical behavior would make the process useless . Such a behavior by the board put doubt regarding the intention of the board as has been indicated in the negotiation literature on ethical negotiation.

The association was willing to loose on to financially in order to come across a better and more mutually beneficial negotiation. As Ertel believes that at times financial losses done intentionally during a negotiation process can become advantageous for the whole process.

Compromise in the final phase also indicates the intention of the parties to conclude a deal rather than stretching it indefinitely towards a deadlock . Therefore readiness of the teachers’ association and the board to accommodate and reconcile to few demands of the other party indicated their willingness to come to a mutually beneficial conclusion.

Value creation is a necessary process for the both negotiating parties to achieve positive outcome . This was done by proposing that the administrative and the clerical staff to be reduced, and the teachers’ association offered to do extra administrative work. This was done by foregoing a lot of extra time and taking up extra load in order to reduce the budget deficit as showed by the board.

This way, the teachers’ association would be able to keep their members from being laid off, and increase the productivity of the board of education. Therefore the association was willingly accommodating many of the offerings of the board in order to make the negotiation process a success.

Thus, the association was actually increasing the workload of the teachers by offering a cut of administrative and clerical staff. Such a move would increase the administrative duties of the teachers extensively. Accommodating largely is sometimes not correct as this may hamper the interest of the one’s own side, in this case, the teachers’ association itself.

Therefore the board and the teachers’ association to a great extent achieved their interests and maintained their goal. However, I believe that the teachers’ association undertook too soft a stand and may have compromised to a great extent in order to reach a positive outcome.

This section would answer the influence power and dynamics, team dynamics, and constituencies played in reaching the outcome of the negotiating process. In this answer these categories would be treated differently, and demonstrate my involvement in the negotiating process.

The negotiation that took place was from the point of view of the teachers’ association. I represented the teachers’ association in the negotiation process. The team decided to take a value creating stand, thereby, a lot of time was spent on reducing the budget deficit, which was presumed to be the root cause of t he whole situation.

Through the previous section demonstrates, during the negotiation process, the teachers’ association made excessive concession that may have made their demands too weak to be paid heed upon by the board. In many cases, the other party takes advantage of the party that fails to take a tough stand and therefore, fail to meet their own interests .

This is what has been observed in case of the negotiation process of the teachers’ association. In this respect, a better approach would be not to consider value creation at the very beginning of the negotiating process. Rather, it would be important to engage in a wider aspect of negation process.

The teachers’ association too easily agreed upon reducing the retirement age, increasing the pupil teacher ration that would inadvertently increase the workload on the teachers. Further, the teachers’ association also agreed upon increasing the workload further by doing a part of the administrative works themselves.

Therefore, the teachers’ association was willingly accepting a higher degree of workload instead of looking at the interest of the teachers, and just aiming for a positive closure to the negotiation process. Therefore, their suggestion actually would help the board to reduce to a great extent, but at the cost of the interest and greater effort put in by the teachers for similar remuneration.

The teacher’s association did not utilize the parent’s association in the negotiating process. Parents’ association was a strong third party influence on the board who would have helped the teachers as they were in direct contact with them and not the board. The association could have utilized the parents’ body to help them getting an upper hand in the negotiation and deriving greater benefit for themselves.

The parent’s association could have been utilized in attaining a few of the goals of the teachers’ association i.e. to maintain the number of teachers at 400. This would have received wide support from the parent’s body, as they would want the quality of teaching not to be hampered due to the budgetary deficit that the board faced.

Further, this would have been a helpful strategy to influence them to agree to parental contribution as a necessary factor in retaining the level of education imparted to the students and negating the possibility of an impending strike of the teachers.

Thus, if the threat of a strike as a possibility could have been removed from the scenario, the parents’ body would have been more sympathetic to the cause of the teachers, and have helped them in achieving their goals. However, mutual trust was not built between the teachers’ association and the parent body to take up their cause together .

Another area where the teachers’ association went wrong was in their ready acceptance of all the moves of the board. A powerful way of presenting one’s argument influences the other party and makes the argument heard . In the first phase when the board rejected most of the initial proposals of the association, a better stand would have been not stopping all negotiation, rather than a ready acceptance of the rejection.

This put forth a message to the board that the teachers’ association was ready to accept whatever they were willing to shell out. The teachers’ association totally sidelined their BATNA strategy and employed an integrative strategy that made their stance softer.

A negotiation process is said to pass through four phases – “relational positioning, identifying the problem, generating solutions, and reaching agreement” . Traditionally, researchers have hypothesized that negotiation in relation to power such that higher degree of power for one party led to greater positive return for the side.

However, more successful negotiation processes are found to move away from a power positioning to a more cooperative and coordinating stand . In this respect, the stand of the teachers’ association was correct, as they from the very beginning did not entail in power play. Their positioning was to understand the situation and put forth their argument in relation to the other party’s reasoning.

However, many believe that the process of negotiation is best done when it is broadly divided into two distinct stages – competitive in the first phase and cooperative in the second and some believe it should be done in a three staged process of conflict, tactical manipulation, and final agreement. In case of the teachers’ association, none of these possible processes were adhered to. Rather, they followed a softer stand of just being overtly cooperative from the very beginning of the negotiation process.

Competitiveness in the negotiation process is a necessity. Many researchers believe that even when the negotiators are employing a cooperative attitude towards the process, they will continuously employ competitive strategies to create greater value for themselves . The teachers’ association failed to employ the advantage they had in form of the parents’ body and could have used them to get greater value from the negotiating process. In many other cases, the negotiators of the association were too cooperative to the board, and therefore, failed to gain advantage out of the situation.

The outcome of the negotiation could be divided into tangible and intangible outcomes. The intangible outcomes included that the board offered a position in the board for one representative from the teachers’ association. Howe, the teachers’ association feels that this proposition is not a very attractive offer as this would provide a minority place for the association in the board, and their voice would be lost.

In tangible benefits, the material cost was reviewed by the board, and they proposed that the teacher to pupil ratio be increased in order to reduce material cost further. This again negated our stand of reducing cost through online system. However, the board was resistant to this point as they were unwilling to pay for a new IT system, and they had to raise money from the parents’ body that would be unwilling to do so.

The other proposition that the board put forth was to go on a joint effort to increase the awareness for greater taxes and funding to develop the education system. This is a point that both that parties have agreed upon.

The overall result of the negotiation process suggests that both the parties have reached a settlement. Both agree upon that no teachers would be laid off, and there was an increase of 5 percent annual salary of the teachers. The teacher’s salary now became $20,562,311. However, there was an increase in the workload of the teachers by 50 minutes per day.

In addition, the pre-time was reduced. Further, as suggested by the teachers’ association, some changes were brought forth in the budget deficit. First, transportation that earlier was free, was made chargeable, and therefore the deficit was reduced by $1291430. Second, online system for imparting study material and reviewing class work reduced the excessive cost of stationary also decreased cost by 1 million.

Further, there was found to be a misreporting of the local income in the deficit, and therefore that was increase by $800,000. On working out on these areas, the negotiating process helped both the parties to come across means of turning the possible deficit into a surplus, by making the above agreed upon changes. Therefore, the outcome of the negotiation value creating however was tilted on the side of the board, as in many cases soft bargaining strategies led the association to loose on their value .

The overall outcome of the negotiation process was partially successful for the teachers’ association. They prevented the major hurdles that they faced and that was of layoff. No teachers were laid off, therefore, making their association strong. Further, they were also able to increase the salary by increasing CPI by 5 percent.

The most important success of the association was in avoiding a strike that would have been a loss to all the parties. They reached a quick outcome, even though many researchers believe that a quick outcome may lead to reduction in creation of value . The tactics that was followed was to increase the benefits derived by the negotiators and increase the value created for both the parties. The aim was therefore to create the maximum possible value by generating greater value for the board.

The ideas was to create value for both the parties by looking at the relative benefit of the opposing party following research outcome of Sebenius . In the initial stage both the parties were interested in optimizing their personal value; however, the situation should have been to maximum mutual value .

One area that the association did not pay any stress on was equating the salary of the teachers with that of the teachers in the surrounding localities. This should have been a vital and stressful argument, as it could have been substantiated with statistical figures.

However, the association revealed its priority on maintaining the job level rather than increase in salary, this outcome could have been achieved for the benefit of the teachers. therefore, the teachers association failed to employ any stand for itself in terms of self-defense and in term of fairness, as they willfully accepted what was given to them by the board.

However, researchers believe that self-defense and question of fairness is a necessity for negotiation . In conclusion, the outcome was mutually beneficial; however, the association may have taken a stronger stand at the initial phase of the negotiating process, to maximize its value.

References

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