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Negotiation is the process where two or more parties are involved in a communication process. Several options are explored and a choice is made to satisfy their interest (Zartman, 2002). In a negotiation between a dry cleaner and a customer, several parties are involved. The customer complains to the dry cleaner about his coat. He says his coat has shrunk after it was washed and he claims a replacement for the damage. This is in contradiction with the dry cleaner who is unwilling to pay. Parties involved in this negotiation are the customer, the dry cleaner, other customers, and the textile company.
During a negotiation, a negotiator’s interest is the agreement that will ensure continuity and comfort to his life. Interests move the negotiation process and determine the possible outcome (Fisher, 2008). They should be distinguished from negotiation positions. The dry cleaner’s position is the customer to take the loss for his coat but he may change his mind to compensate the customer. This will maintain his business reputation in the future. This is his interest.
Monetary terms, fair treatment during negotiations, and respect satisfy interests. Conflicting interests force the negotiators to explore other options. The customer’s interest is for his coat to be replaced. Firm positions taken will lead to an assumption that the other party is not fair to the other (Ury, 2008). This will be the best assumption. However, another customer can advise the two parties to consider their relationship over the monetary value and drop their interest to reach an agreement.
Options in negotiations are the position taken by both parties that is near their interest. It can be anything agreed upon to end a negotiation (Fisher, 2008). The dry cleaner may decide to take various actions to achieve his interest. First, he may decide to pursue the company to compensate for his customer. This is because he followed the correct labeled instructions. He may also choose to compensate the customer to maintain his business reputation. As a customer, I would accept the dry cleaner to pursue the company to satisfy my interest. The relationship with the dry cleaner will force me to accept the loss.
Legitimacy is how parties are treated during negotiations. It is the most important element of planning that determines the agreement to be taken. Whenever the parties feel fairly treated in the negotiation, an agreement is easily reached (Lax, 2006). The customer will accept the dry cleaner’s offer to accept a total loss if it is fairly proven that the dry cleaner did not cause the damage. However, it depends on how the two parties regard something as fair so as to reach an agreement. The objective standard for the dry cleaner to pay when it is proven that he destroyed the coat.
Alternatives during negotiations are the next step negotiators will take without informing each other (Sebenius, 2006). Various alternatives can be chosen to settle a dispute. The most preferred alternative is called the Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. The customer and drycleaners BATNA is a replacement for the coat. When the coat is replaced by the company both parties will be satisfied. My best assumption is that the dry cleaner will succeed to pursue the company to replace the coat.
A commitment to negotiation is reached when both parties choose to formalize an agreement. Offers and demands can be given as a commitment. It can be reached at any stage during the negotiating process (Neale, 2009). It is realized in a negotiation when one negotiator chooses an option to end the negotiation. When the commitment is for a later date, then it is put in writing and all the details of the agreement shown. Parties will be required to append their signature. In the above case, the dry cleaner will commit to replacing the coat within the next month. Third parties will serve as a witness.
Communication is an important element in preparing a negotiation because it provides the avenue through which other elements interact to reach an agreement. The medium for communication should be understood by both parties to avoid confusion (Zartman, 2002). To test my assumption, the following questions should be asked. Did you read the washing instructions? Which is the best agreement that will satisfy our interest? And what ways can we use to create value out of this negotiation? The following questions will be asked to me. What is your BATNA, what is the cost of your coat and are you willing to accept a lesser amount. During the negotiation, I will maintain a low tone, respective language, and avoid being emotional.
The relationship between negotiating parties makes agreements easier especially when there is trust among the parties. In the absence of trust, the process becomes harder. Outcomes of negotiations will either strengthen or worsen the relationship (Bezerman, 2009). The relationship with other third parties also influences the outcome of the negotiation. Agreements will be reached to maintain the good relationship that exists now and the future.
Fisher, R. & Ury, W. (2008) Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. Penguin Books, New York: USA.
Lax, D. & Sebenius, J. (2006) The Manager as Negotiator. Free Press, New York: USA.
Neale, M. & Bezerman, H. (2009) The Effects of Framing And Negotiator Overconfidence on Bargaining Behaviors and Outcomes, Academic Management Journal, 24:38-42.
Zartman, W. (2002) The Negotiation Process: Theories and Applications. Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, California, USA.