Negotiation is a part of everyday life, professionally and personally. Setting up favourable outcomes requires skillful negotiation. Awareness of the processes involved will better prepare me career-wise; understanding guidelines for negotiation preparation, and conduct, is integral to job acquisition and execution e.g. negotiating employment contracts, salary increases and client/supplier commerce.
The core resource (Luecke, 2003) emphasises use of a “BATNA” (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) in conjunction with a nine-step preparation process. Negotiation is necessary because it offers the most potential for the best possible outcome; the BATNA, a fallback position, sets the minimum requirement for your outcome (Luecke, 2003). Aside from a BATNA, are there other ways of achieving an optimum agreement?
Research reveals three schools of thought that interest me:
1. A ‘BATNA-alternative’, looking at what aspects of the BATNA contribute to it’s success, and if they can be used in isolation (Brett, Pinkley and Jackofsky, 1996),
2. A “3-D” negotiation structure - ‘tactics’, for interactions within the negotiation; ‘deal design’, for value creation; ‘setup’, for favourable placement within the negotiation scenario (Lax and Sebenius, 2003),
3. The concept of ‘cognitive’ and ‘emotional’ intelligence, as a key tool for negotiation (Fulmer and Barry, 2004).
Brett, Pinkley and Jackofsky (1996) identified three components of the BATNA strategy: (i) a goal (framed from the BATNA), (ii) self-efficacy of the negotiator (from achieving the BATNA) and (iii) the alternative (suggested by the BATNA), proposing their use without an official BATNA. The paper suggests perseverance, focus and creative thinking/problem-solving, increases the likelihood of positive outcomes. This can be achieved by having (i) a specific/complex goal, that requires problem-solving and critical thinking, or (ii) self-efficacy, derived from previous success/confidence. The presence of (iii) a high-quality/value alternative allows negotiators the option to walk away, avoiding a low-value outcome, by providing a baseline requirement. In this instance, creating a BATNA is preferable, as it creates the context for these three components to exist organically and cooperatively.
The “3-D” approach (Lax and Sebenius, 2003) is similar to the nine-step preparation process (Luecke, 2003) However, it extends the boundaries of the issue you are dealing with, and can introduce new parties to the negotiation who share your cause. Most importantly, 3D negotiation is integrative, creating bigger value for both parties, rather than distributive. Furthermore, value creation becomes a goal in itself, rather than a means to avoid deadlock or create enmity, as the other core author, Fells (1986) ‘process of negotiation’, implies.
Lax and Sebenius (2003) look beyond ‘at the table’, and BATNA-inspired, strategies that offer only two distributive options: settle, or walk away. Their method suggests negotiation is mostly won “away from the table” (Lax and Sebenius, 2003) through preparation – the ‘setup’
“Acting… away from the table, [negotiators] ensure that the right parties are approached in the right order to deal with the right issues, by the right means, at the right time, under the right set of expectations, and facing the right no-deal options” (Lax and Sebenius, 2003)
This approach appears more flexible than the nine-step, BATNA method, as preparation guides the formulation of alternatives. The first two dimensions, tactics and deal design, also tie in well with the influence of intelligence on negotiation outcomes, suggested by Fulmer and Barry (2004).
Fulmer and Barry (2004) put forward eight propositions addressing four key aspects of the negotiation process, and how the theories surrounding cognitive (IQ) and emotional (EQ) intelligence relate to them.
Fulmer and Barry (2004) propose that high levels of IQ and EQ facilitate information acquisition, and encourage rational, risk-minimised decisions. Furthermore, IQ is important for quickly adapting to new information and claiming value from an agreement, while EQ helps create this value using the new information. EQ also minimises conflict, generating an atmosphere for an ideal outcome, through emotional awareness and regulation.
Overall, preparation is clearly the most important factor in negotiation. Setting clear goals, and being perceptive of yourself and the others, should be a minimum requirement; astuteness and flexibility, are advantageous. Experience, and increased IQ and EQ, enable better preparation and skill enhancement.
Table 2: Action plan/Timeline
|Assess IQ to identify weak areas||
April 2014 – May 2014
|Work on specific IQ weaknesses||May 2014 – Nov 2014|
|Devise responses to current affairs by evaluating pro’s and con’s to exercise my mind (increasing breadth and depth of intelligence - IQ)||April 2014 - ongoing|
|Familiarise myself with preferred negotiation guidelines and formulate a checklist to use in preparation for negotiation||April 2014|
|Source academic case-studies and exercises regarding negotiation||
April 2014 – May 2014
|Simulate negotiation scenarios, through role-playing, debate and sourced case-studies/academically designed exercises||May 2014 - ongoing|
|Continue EQ development plan (see appendix I)||
April 2014 - Nov 2014
Appendix I: EQ development action plan devised by, and for, Nicole Campbell, 2014
|Read further regarding leadership skills/EQ||
April 2014 – May 2014
|Determine an assessment to find my leadership and EQ strengths/weaknesses||
May 2014 - June 2014
|Work on weaknesses, using feedback from peers||June 2014 - Nov 2014|
Brett, JF, Pinkley, RL and Jackofsky, EF (1996) Alternatives to having a BATNA in dyadic negotiation: the influence of goals, self-efficacy, and alternatives on negotiated outcomes, The International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 7, Iss. 2, pp. 121-138 (Online Emerald)
Fells, RE (1986) Managing the Process of Negotiation, Education Researcher, Vol. 8, Iss. 1, pp. 17-22 (Online Emerald)
Fulmer, IS and Barry, B (2004) The smart negotiator: cognitive ability and emotional intelligence in negotiation, The International Journal of Conflict Management Vol. 15, Iss. 3, pp. 245-272 (Online Emerald)
Lax, DA and Sebenius, JK (2003), 3-D negotiation: playing the whole game, Harvard Business Review – printed Nov 2003 (Online Ebsco)
Luecke, R (2003) Negotiation: Harvard business essential series, Harvard Business Press, Cambridge, pp. 15-32