chapter  8
21 Pages

Negotiation

From ancient times, negotiation has played an important role in managing human competition in a quest for more power and wealth as an alternative means to war and conquest. Bargaining has been necessary to reach an agreement in the exchange of goods for the satisfaction of material interests as well as dividing land. In the contemporary world, negotiation has been broadly conceptualized as an inevitable part of daily life, ranging from holiday plans between spouses to making decisions on the purchase of a new car, a house or other expensive goods. Others involve collective entities (as illustrated by deals between unions and a company over severance packages, health, and other benefits; corporate takeovers and mergers, alliances between airlines or between Internet companies, etc.). Negotiation is also part of managing international relations through treaty making between two countries or on a multilateral basis. In the broadest terms, negotiating activities entail trading of concessions and invention of options for mutual gain. Bargaining tests each other’s interests and explores commonly agreeable solutions. Negotiation, as a game of influence, entails varied aspects of human interactions, the dynamics of which are affected by emotions, culture, and social environment. Mistrust and fear are an inevitable part of negotiation relationships between adversaries; owing to deep-seated hostilities, the 1993 Oslo Accord and the 1994 US-North Korean Framework Agreement have faltered even after serious progress was made in the implementation of mutual obligations. On the other hand, the agreements to end the apartheid regime in South Africa and British rule in Northern Ireland successfully brought new relations between former adversaries with the creation of alternative institutions. As demonstrated by nearly three decades of negotiation over the distribution of water between India and Bangladesh, the process of negotiation is often likely to embody fluctuations in broad political relations. This chapter deals with the steps toward initiating negotiation, the process of reaching an agreement and its implementation. Parties to negotiation have different goals and relationships with each other. It is important to examine a bargaining context, histories of negotiating engagement, and matters of contention. The structural, strategic, psychological, and cultural dimensions of negotiations have an impact on reframing issues and the complexities of bargaining relationships. In presenting the diverse aspects of the negotiating process, the chapter also explores the factors behind failed and successful negotiation.