Integrative Bargaining

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It will be the purpose of this essay to clearly demonstrate that integrative bargaining can and should be used as an effective tool for negotiations in situations where unequal bargaining power exist. It has been defined for this essay that integrative bargaining is the process of defining goals that allow both sides to achieve their objectives, and engage in a process that permits both parties to maximize their objectives (Lewicki, 2007). Integrative bargaining can be used as an effective strategy to manoeuvre out from under superior bargaining power being held over you, or as a means to create greater value for all parties involved. Bargaining power, described as the capacity of one party to dominate the other due to its influence, power, size, status or through a combination of different persuasion tactics (Lewicki, 2007) is an important determinant in framing issues, however not essential to determining end agreements (Picard, 2004). Nonetheless, during the course of negotiation, one must be careful not to divulge too much sensitive material without receiving concessions in return. This has the potential to create a far greater distance among bargaining power that potentially may prevent any agreement from being reached. Other key terms necessary for the full understanding of this essay include distributive bargaining; being the process of trying to achieve one’s own objectives at the loss of the other’s (Lewicki, 2007), anchor; being an initial position around which negotiations make adjustments (Lewicki, 2007), BANTA; being the best alternative to an negotiated agreement (Lewicki, 2007), resistance points; those being the least favourable point at which a party would agree to a negotiated agreement (Lewicki, 2007), and bargaining range; the range between either parties’ resistance points (Lewicki, 2007). The essay will then proceed to conclude by summarizing the main points discussed within this essay.

As previously defined, integrative bargaining is a form of negotiation that involves a win/win mentality where cooperation takes priority over competition (Lewicki, 2007). All potential settlements are considered with the aim of solving problems, not defending positions (Lewicki, 2007). Integrative bargaining does have some preconditions and should be attempted when satisfied to achieve greater results. The formation of common ground is essential to building a dialogue amongst two parties. In addition, having faith in one’s own ability to solve problems, lends to build confidence and achieve credibility as a negotiator (Lewicki, 2007). Having motivation to work together allows for open disclosure to begin, which in turn facilitates clear, concise communication (Lewicki, 2007). By focusing on creating common ground or shared interests, both parties can begin to create value within the negotiations for their respective positions (Lewicki, 2007). When reversed, in situations where bargaining power exists in one’s own favour, integrative bargaining is still an effective tool at your disposal. Allowing for increased effective communication, improved relationships, and fostering a win/win mentality, integrative bargaining has the potential to affect aspects even outside of the negotiation. Positive negotiations can lead to future dealings where other strategies might not necessarily create such constructive outcomes. Promoting future relations from an integrative perspective creates far more value for both individuals in contrast to distributive bargaining that only focuses on ‘dividing the pie’ in front of them. The reason integrative bargaining should be used as a means of negotiation where differences between bargaining powers exist, is that it simply creates value for both negotiating parties where distributive bargaining only caters to one individual.

Integrative bargaining creates effective communication. In situations where a stalemate exists between two parties with unequal bargaining power, negotiations...
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