1. Preparation and Planning
2. Definition of ground rules
3. Clarification and justification
4. Bargaining and problem solving
5. Closure and implementation
Following this we were split into groups of six which were further divided into teams of three. One team took on the role of an advertising agency and the other took on the role of an accounting firm. The aim of the exercise was to negotiate a win-win solution to link the two in a business partnership for the long term. Unfortunately, in the time we were allocated, our team only reached step 4 - bargaining and problem solving.
We were having some issues in settling on a mutually acceptable price (both teams had been briefed that they were not permitted to pay/accept more/less than a fixed amount - these amounts were too far apart). Although we expanded the pie, neither teams were willing to break the rules, even though we were also briefed that we were aiming to establish a long-term relationship.
This case study led me to realise that there is no simple method for settling a negotiation, especially as each situation is different. The theory provides a good structure for the process, and offers explanations for certain outcomes, but the skills needed to settle can't be learned by simply studying conflict. They must be practised and rehearsed.
After this lecture, my realisation was confirmed when I began reading 'Negotiating A Job Offer' (Thompson, 2005, pg 354) and found the following advice: "When negotiating a job...you should be comfortable with your own bargaining style. You should be well versed in building trust and rapport, know the ins and outs of power and how to handle creativity".