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The Workplace Conflict

Negotiation is a process whereby parties involved in a conflict solve the issue and to reach a standard agreement while avoiding disputes and arguments with the aim of obtaining individual personal gain without altering the central demand (Goldberg et al., 2014).

I had just joined a government institution as an intern after my fourth-year study as an undergraduate. During my internship period, my expected responsibilities were to market and advertise company products. The company had given every individual a price goal that was expected of every employee.  I created a social media page in various platforms where I would market the company products. By the third month of my practice at the company, the products I was selling had gained prominence and were the primary income earning product for the enterprise. The managers were very impressed with my work to the extent that they nominated me to train staff members on my marketing strategies. I also won awards as the best employee of the season. By the end of my fifth month as an intern, I had been promoted as the lead marketer for volunteers and the interns. Nonetheless, I felt so much unhappy and discouraged with the promotion. The responsibilities that I was expected to carry out were more than the company contract agreement that I had signed. I also received so much opposition from other employees who felt that the firm managerial teams were favoring me unnecessarily. Despite the added responsibilities at the workplace, my salary was never revised. At some point, I felt like quitting my job before the end of my one-year contract as the company was misusing my skills.  My zeal for work had reduced, I starting viewing the company as a money-making camp rather than a career development opportunity for me as an intern.  I decided to approach my supervisor on how I was feeling about my responsibilities at the workplace. I explained that I wanted my duties to be reduced to fit that of an intern or to be transferred to another department where I will work under someone and not as a leader.

I expressed my feelings about the opposition I was facing and how it had caused enmity between others employees and me within my department.  I also expressed my honest feeling to the manager that my responsibilities no longer presented a development opportunity for me as I received no form of appreciation and motivation both from the administrative department and the staff. I purposed to quit the company if my interests were not addressed. The manager proposed that I should be patient and deal with the problems I was undergoing as they may absorb me as a staff after completing my internship. The offer, to me, sounded more of a delay tactic and as a company strategy to continue misusing my skills. I later wrote a resignation letter to the company and decided to look for employment opportunities from other competent companies.

Integrative (Principled) Negotiation

I intend to discuss on the primary contributions that preceded my resignation from a promising job and how both my actions and that of my colleagues at the company would have promoted a better ground for negotiation if I would have heard knowledge on effective negotiation skills.

The kind of negotiation demonstrated from the background story is an integrative negotiation.  An integrative negotiation is also known as principled negotiation; this type of negotiation involves techniques that aim to advance the eminence of negotiated agreement by taking advantage of verifying that different parties valued outcomes (Liu, 2014). Integrative negotiation intends to create significance during the negotiation discussion. Integrative negotiation is evident whereby the manager promises the employee a job when he declares his resignation interest. Integrative negotiation revolves around four broad principles which include;

  • Separation of people from the problem; advocates for separating people from substantive issues and approaching the issues independently (Jones et al., 2013).
  • Focusing on interest; involves solving the problem about what people are in dire need of, and not what they say they want. For instance, the employee complaint that he wanted a position shift and leadership demotion while in the real sense he wanted a salary increment and a solution to the misunderstandings between him and his fellow colleagues. The employee was making such demands with an objective of fulfilling his interest and not for the mutual benefit of the organization.
  • The invention of mutual gain options: through building an investment approach to negotiation, individuals can form mutual benefits (Hagiu, 2014). Negotiators should, therefore, develop a new solution to the problems that will promote a win-win result.
  • Insisting on objective gain criteria; involving consulting an outside objective standard with similar conflict with the aim of attaining fairness. The objective approach provides both sides under conflict with guidance on achieving balance.

Position Centered Rather Than Interest Focused

The negotiation was based more on position than on interests; both parties presented their ideas based on positions rather than interests of the organization. For instance, the employee wanted his needs addressed for personal demands and not to solve the  situation. The manager, on the other hand, wanted the employee to keep working at the same position given his influence on organization interests.

Lacked the Capacity of Separating People from the Problem

The employee never portrayed active listening as he had made up his mind on leaving the company and did not, therefore, wanted to listen to any form of solution given to him. For example, he turned down the promotion after internship offer viewing it as company intent to retain him. The manager fails to portray leadership trait like empathy and understanding as he did not deal with circumstances behind the employee concerns.

Lacked Mutual Gain Options

The solutions to the negotiation resulted in losing –lose scenario as both parties were not able to develop returns that would have favored both of them. All the conflicting parties wanted the solution to benefit their gains; I.e. the employee wanted a salary hike and departmental transfer, while the manager interest was to improve company sales by requesting the employ to persevere his position.

Objective Criteria Assumptions

The employee conversation with the manager assumed other objective criteria to solving the conflict. The administration would have solved the misunderstanding between the staff and colleagues by shifting the employees to another department rather than asking him to endure. Alternatively, the employee would have taken upon his responsibility to settle scores with those employees. By doing this, the employee would have fostered a more united team that would have easily promoted the organization vision and mission.

Principles of Integrative Negotiation

Interest

Interest is more focused on negotiation with the aim of creating a collaborative scenario where available options can be expounded. Interest approach to negotiation creates a win-win opportunity as it satisfies both individuals’ gains (Rousseau et al., 2016). Interests should create a better chance of mutual benefits over positions. The two parties should come to an agreement aimed to help them and the organization at the same time.

Alternatives

The alternative involves finding out the best solution for the crisis. The individuals participating in a conflict have to weigh different options and identify the best one from the various options (Daniels et al., n.d.). Weighing options often enable individuals to prepare for negotiation and develop effective arguments. The alternative should be based on considering other parties needs while weighing the options (Wallenstein, 2015). Both sides would have examined the possibilities of each need to the circumstance at hand, then develop solutions to the problem based on the organization structure. It is important to raise awareness on parties’ alternative and guide the parties on the pros and cons of each option so as to enable opposing party to arrive at a favorable decision.

Relationships

During the preparation for the negotiations, the parties should figure out their interests about developed alternatives. The parties should analyze the significance of the relationship they have with the negotiator, other conflicting parties and the group they are representing. The value of a relationship usually determines the stand of the decisions that are likely to be arrived at. Individuals should be careful not to engage in the negotiation "gun blazes’ (Ganson, 2014).  Conflicting parties should also consider their interactions as they may never get another chance to interact with each other. It is therefore important not to burn bridges. The two parties did not consider the significance of their relationship to the organization and other staff members; they also geared their interest on a position rather than on mutual benefits thus making it hard to stabilize their reputation

Options

Parties should focus on meeting the needs of each other when considering options. This can be done through developing the possible options, evaluating the options and listing down all the options and analyzing whether they fulfill each other demands. This will promote collaboration and inhibit confrontation this withdrawing participant’s idea from focusing on only two choices. It will also create a satisfaction attitude among the participants as they are both allowed ownership right in arriving at a solution. The two parties should create an option base to enable them to reach an equally valid agreement.

Preparing for Negotiation

Legitimacy

Legitimacy helps the parties in conflict in approving the fairness of decisions made by involving the effort of a neutral professional third party (mediator). Both parties should ensure that their interests are solved amicably (Bendersky, 2015).The parties in the above story are not able to reach a fair agreement; it will be appreciated for them to involve a neutral third party to help them reach a deal.

Communication

Conflicting parties should engage an effective communication approach so as to enable understanding (Bess & Dee, 2014).Effective listening enables each party understands their colleagues. Participants involved in conflict embraces self-esteem by speaking for themselves or their team they are representing without generalizing people feelings towards the situation. People also develop empathy by putting themselves in the shoes of others. Open-ended questions help participants garner more information about each other. Reflection during the communication process helps individuals identify the different prices they have undertaken during the negotiation and its impact on the reaching an agreement (Holbrook and Cook, n.d.). The two parties lacked major elements of effective communication skills thus losing the negotiation. Healthy discussion among the disputes would have facilitated a better understanding and conflict solving.

Commitment

This stage is geared towards ensuring that the conflicting parties can fulfill their agreed solutions.  The participants should be encouraged only to develop solutions that they can stick to. In any case, the parties are not able to.  Commitment should involve what the individuals intend to or do not intend to do (Lieberfeld, 2016).The commitment solutions in the workplace scenario should be attainable and realistic.

Preparation and Planning

All conflict participants gather information relevant to the negotiation during this phase. Information gathering helps participants add value to the situational claims (Roeder and Simcard, 2013). Preparation fosters cooperation and creation of a rapport between the members thus leading to the creation of clear objectives.  Before commencing the negotiation, each party should be given a chance to choose a more appropriate approach.

Ground Rules Definition

This phase involves looking unto factors like the Location of the consultation process, the time constraints to the negotiation, limits to reaching an agreement and alternative options to negotiation failure (Aust, 2013). The parties should consider the demands and expectations and settle for realistic and achievable expectations.

Clarification and Justification

This stage involve amplification, clarification, bolstering and explanation of involved parties needs, this process should not be confrontational, it should be an educative and informative phase that promotes accomplishment of participants initial claims. The parties may supply each other with supportive conflict resolution documents.

Effective Communication Approach

Bargaining and Problem Solving

Bargaining process is whereby the two sides involved in conflicts to debate and discusses the developed solutions with an intent of picking the best from the varieties. The parties then develop a problem-solving approach to solving approach to deal with the shortcomings (Rubin & Brown, 2013).

Closure and implementation

This process involves the formalization of the agreed upon goals. The formalized goals are then implemented and monitored to ensure that they operate as planned (Fisher, 2016). The negotiation process is then closed after it ascertains to have clarified the needs of each party.

Conclusion

Negotiation can be adequately developed if the parties involved in a conflict can identify the crisis, evaluate the cause and develop a mutual gain problem-solving approach. Unconditional behavior to effective negotiation requires; free communication among the participants, effective communication, understanding, empathy, genuineness and accepting each other faults and learning from the mistakes.

References

AUST, A. (2013). Modern treaty law and practice. 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ Press.

Bendersky, C. (2015). Appreciation for the Interdependent Elements of A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations the Workplace Context. Negotiation Journal, 31(4), pp.429-430.

Bess, J.L., and Dee, J.R., 2014. Bridging the divide between faculty and administration: A guide to understanding the conflict in the academy. Routledge

Daniels, D., Hunter, A., McGhie, V., Horn, J., Van Jaarsveldt, M. and Van Vuuren, T. (n.d.). Business communication. 1st ed.

Fisher, R.J., 2016. Generic principles for resolving the intergroup conflict. In Ronald J. Fisher: A North American Pioneer in Interactive Conflict Resolution (pp. 87-104). Springer International Publishing.

Ganson, B. (2014). Business in Fragile Environments: Capabilities for Conflict Prevention. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 7(2), pp.121-139

Goldberg, S.B., Sander, F.E., Rogers, N.H. and Cole, S.R., 2014. Dispute Resolution: Negotiation, mediation, and other processes. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

Hagiu, A., 2014. Strategic decisions for multisided platforms. MIT Sloan Management Review, 55(2), p.71.

Holbrook, J. and Cook, B. (n.d.). Advanced negotiation and mediation. 1st ed.

Jones, S.R., Torres, V. and Arminio, J., 2013. Negotiating the complexities of qualitative research in higher education: Fundamental elements and issues. Routledge.

Lieberfeld, D., 2016. Leadership Change and Negotiation Initiatives in Intractable Civil Conflicts. International Journal of Peace Studies, 21(1)

Liu, L.A., 2014. Addressing reviewer comments as an integrative negotiation. Management and Organization Review, 10(2), pp.183-190.

Rousseau, Tomprou, Simoni, and  Ragins et al. 2016. Negotiating flexible and fair idiosyncratic deals (deals). Organizational Dynamics, 3(45), pp.185-196

Rubin, J.Z. and Brown, B.R., 2013. The social psychology of bargaining and negotiation. Elsevier.

Wallensteen, P., 2015. Understanding conflict resolution. Sage.

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