Reflection Paper 1
Dr. Laurie Milton
Negotiation is a day to day process that people engage in everyday of their lives, sometimes without even knowing it. Negotiations occur for several reasons: to agree on how to share or divide a limited resource, to create something new that neither party could do on their own, or to resolve a problem or dispute between parties (Lewicki, Barry, Saunders & Tasa, 2010, p. 2). Since negotiations are so common, one of the most important things I learned from participating in this Business Negotiations class was the importance of preparation. In previous negotiations I was involved in, I would usually enter into the negotiation with little or no idea of the outcome, or how I would reach it. After participating in a few negotiations in class, I soon discovered there are many benefits to be gained by taking the time to prepare for a negotiation. Knowing your limits (reservation point) and alternatives (BATNA) before sitting at the negotiation table for example, can give you the power to ensure that your needs and interests are met, whether by coming to an agreement, or by walking away (Lewicki et al., 2010, p. 74). Going along with this, knowing your settlement point and initial offer can help you anchor your subsequent offers while at the same time gauging whether the negotiation is going in a positive direction.
Another important aspect of the preparation phase is knowing what style of negotiation you are participating in and how to go about the actually negotiating process. There are two basic types of negotiation styles which we discussed in class; distributive and integrative. In distributive negotiations, negotiators are “motivated to ... beat the other party to gain the largest piece of the fixed resource that they can” (Lewicki et al., 2010, p. 10). Negotiators participating in this style generally use a competitive approach. On the other hand, integrative negotiation situations aim to “employ win-win strategies and tactics” for the purpose of finding a way for all parties to meet their objectives cooperatively (Lewicki et al., 2010, p. 10). In reality, most negotiations are a combination of both styles (Lewicki et al., 2010, p. 10). This was the case for the Coast News negotiation simulation. The fixed nature of the available resources, in this instance the new press, was a significant indication that distributive tactics could be utilized. There were, however, many factors that indicated integrative techniques could also be used. According to Lewicki et al. (2010) there are four factors that indicate an integrative approach is called for; if the situation includes more than one issue, there is a possibility to add more issues to the mix, the negotiation is likely to recur over time, and parties have a varying preference across the issues (Lewicki et al., 2010, p. 47). In the case of Coast News three out of four of these factors were present. First off, in terms of issues, there were a total of five issues that were under discussion, which made the negotiation more complex in nature and allowed the opportunity for more cooperation. Secondly, it is reasonable to assume that a negotiation such as this would be likely to recur in the future as the newspaper grows and adds more presses; hence keeping the relationship between both parties on good terms was imminent. Lastly, both parties had different priorities and different perceptions of which issues were of utmost importance to the value of the newspaper, increasing the likelihood that compromises could be made.
Due to the existence of evidence that both negotiation styles could be utilized in this case, I was faced with the classic negotiator’s dilemma (Lewicki et al., 2010, p. 49), where I felt torn between whether to proceed in a competitive or cooperative manner. All the negotiations we had completed up to that point were of a distributive nature, where there was a scarce resource that needed