The whole cosmic economy is interactive phenomenon of animate and inanimate objects. In addition, the objects are interdependent on each other for growth and survival. Human beings are epitome of Divine Creative Activity. The interactive feature of mankind is vital aspect of Divine Scheme of Creation. A rational-moral human interaction quickens / softens evolution of individuals & groups. Mankind faces multiple challenges during varied interactions. The most complex, harmful, and frequent problem of interactive life is miscommunication. It creates mutual hatred and distrust among individuals / groups / nations and leads towards conspiracies, rivalries, and wars. The very basis of miscommunication are Perceptual Errors.Perceptual errors produce misconception among individuals / groups so that miscommunication is surfaced. Consequently, the people involved brake contacts with each other and opt long silence or confrontation or indifference. The unwanted situation can be solved through negotiation. Negotiation is helpful in every sphere of interactive life; it is used to bridge the gaps between husband and wife, parents and children, entrepreneurs and workers, business partners, political leaders, etc. In order to realize successful negotiation we must understand ins and outs of negotiation. Negotiation is the conflict management process of communication to make a compromise/better solution.The successful negotiation is called Effective Negotiation. Effective negotiation is knowledge based, manner driven, and wisdom led negotiation. It creates pragmatic and satisfactory solutions for each party.
Man is intelligent creation of Absolute Intelligence. The distinctive human trait, intellect or perceptual intelligence, make the human being supreme creation of universe. But, intellect can misjudge/misinterpret due to ignorance or lustful tendencies of human nature. Perceptual errors or intellectual mistakes lead to biases in information processing / final judgments. There may arise three types of perceptual errors in a communication process.
Generalization: —Small amount of information are used to draw universal conclusions, e.g., old people are conservative, this person is old so that is conservative, or a humble person is judged to be more honest than a scowling person, even there is no consistent relationship between conservativeness & age or courtesy and honesty. The multiple social rifts such as family rifts and neighborhood rifts are surfaced due to unscientific generalizations.
Projection: —It occurs when people ascribe to others the characteristics or feelings that they have, for instance, a person feels that he will be frustrated if he were in the other position, then he is likely to perceive that the other person is frustrated. People respond differently to similar situations so that projection of own feeling to other may be incorrect. The multiple political mis-communications are generally due to wrong projections.
Power: — Power is an important leverage during interactions; it gives edge to one party over the other. Power develops the perception that you have power and you can impose a verdict, the power-perception limits viable options or can make someone wrongdoer, because, power has germs of corruption-development — in Acton’s words, ‘Power tends to corrupt and absolute powers corrupts absolutely.’ The major sources of power are — Information and Expertise, Control over resources, Location / Position in an organization. Power tactics should be used only as last resort. Ignoring temporal suitability of power tactics may create chaos in the environment; a chaotic situation has certain aftermath for the power user.
CHARACTERISTICS OF NEGOTIATION PROCESS
The prominent characteristics of a negotiation process are:
Interdependence: — In negotiation both parties need each other to arrive at some solution. This situation is called interdependence. Interdependence leads towards mutual adjustments during negotiation.
Mutual Adjustments: — Negotiating parties know that they can influence the other’s outcome and the other can in turn, influence their outcome. This mutual adjustment continues through out the negotiating process. Mutual Adjustments persuade the negotiating parties towards flexibility and concessions.
Flexibility and Concession: — Flexibility and concession is necessary for a settlement. In order to arrive at some acceptable outcome, it is essential to know what we want and what we are prepared to give to get something. It sounds simple but most people enter negotiations without planning their desired outcomes and believe that it is a matter of power or tactics The lopsided approach may lead towards failure. It is noteworthy that a lenient approach on concessions may lead towards unfair demands while strict approach towards concessions may create angry environ. An optimal mix of perceptual intelligence, emotional intelligence, & intentional intelligence is invoked for honest/accurate flexibility and concessions. A negotiation generally encounters two dilemmas:
- Dilemma of Honesty: —The dilemma is concerned how much of the truth is to tell to other party. On the one hand, telling the person everything about your situation may give that person the opportunity to take advantage of you. On the other hand, not telling the other person anything about your needs and desires may lead to a deadlock due to lack of information. A principle stand towards information sharing is extremely effective for successful negotiation. It is noteworthy that the forgery of information/emotions is uncovered ultimately.
- Dilemma of Trust: — The second dilemma is concerned with how much to believe of what the other party tells you. If you believe everything that the other party says, he/she may take advantage of you. If you believe nothing, there would be deadlock. The trust depends on many factors such as reputation of party, past experiences, and present circumstances. The principle, «truth is ever green» is very much relevant for successful negotiation; otherwise one has to speak countless lies to conceal one lie even then truth is exposed ultimately.
PATTERN OF NEGOTIATION PROCESS
There is no standard and scientific pattern of successful negotiation; however, a general outline can be prepared to start any negotiation.
Framing: —It is the conceptual platform by which the parties in a negotiation define the problem. For example, Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan can be negotiated on religious frame or on historical frame.
Goal Setting: —It gives foundation to negotiation. It is necessary for successful negotiation. Goal setting includes stating goals, setting goal priorities, identifying multi-goal packages.
Planning: —Effective planning requires hard work on number of steps, such as:
- Defining Issues, (agenda) — Controlling the number and size of issues in the discussion,
- Desirability of the defined issues — Enhancing the desirability of the options and alternatives that each party presents to the other,
- Define Common interests / needs — Establishing a common ground on which the parties can find a basis for agreement on issues,
- Research — It includes consulting related stakeholders, gathering information, developing supporting arguments, and analyzing the party.
Developing Strategy: —Strategy is an intentional work-pattern to achieve some goals. It is based on good planning. Strategy formulation modal of effective negotiation identify four elements to formulate effective strategies:
- Choice: — negotiation is voluntary, i.e., a matter of choice and the solution cannot be imposed.
- Constraints: — Negotiation outcomes are subject to some constraints. The modal suggests pragmatism over doctrine.
- Interdependence: — Parties motives are interdependent,
- Imperfect Information: — Parties have imperfect information about each others strengths / weaknesses.
TYPES OF NEGOTIATION
In win-lose / distributive bargaining parties seek their own maximum advantage through concealing information, misleading or using manipulative tactics. All these actions may lead towards bitterness or hostility. It is noteworthy that effective negotiation is an attempt to resolve a conflict with reason or without force. The second type of distributive bargaining is accommodative or lose-win strategy. One party is ready for some loss for the time being or in short run to achieve some long-run benefits.
It is win-win / cooperative negotiation. It allows both sides to achieve their goals. The multiple business links such as partnership and varied social linkages such as kinship are generally based on win-win approach, i.e., both parties get benefits from contact. The approach behind integrative negotiation is synergy, i.e., to expand/create possibilities so that benefits will be increased for all parties.
Negotiation is extremely complex phenomena. It demands knowledge, wisdom, and courtesy to arrive at some acceptable outcome for the negotiating parties. The decision-making process in negotiation passes through four phases:
Orientation — In orientation phase, group members socialize, set up certain rules of communication, and agree on their reason for meeting.
Conflict — In the conflict phase, parties begin to discuss their positions on the problem, the environment is filled with arguments / confrontation / war of words.
Emergence — In the emergence phase, members arrive at some acceptable solution and put aside the differences and objections because they are convinced.
Reinforcement — In the reinforced phase, group feelings are rebuilt, outcomes of negotiation are summarized for each party, and solution is implemented in a way to block future conflicts.
The negotiating parties come up with three solutions — win-win, win-lose, and lose-win. The principle behind the win-win strategy is that the parties in conflict can better solve their problem by working together than by waging war. The principle behind the win-lose strategy is that the parties in conflict can reap more benefits by manipulating the situation than by developing consensus. The decision about manipulation should be based on pure reason subject to certain moral values. Otherwise, it would be harmful for manipulator. The principle behind the lose-win or accommodative strategy is that the one party in conflict can reap more benefits in the long run by accommodating the other party in the short run. The decision about accommodative bargain should be based on pure reason subject to certain scientific evaluation; otherwise, it may be harmful for the accommodating party.
Muhammad Ilyas Qadri