National Hockey League

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Introduction

National Hockey League team was not on winning calls in the season. Gary, commissioner of N.H.L, was not satisfied by the results so cancelled the remaining games of the season which was followed by a 5 month lockout by the owners. The other party i.e. Bob, executive director of player’s association, was sad and sorry about the decision. Gary was annoyed with the demand for salary cap of the players which was countered by Bob by stating it as not true. Players would never want a lockout. This all started due to the lowering of average salary by the league. Each party offered their decision on change of salary cap. It rose to an outrageous conflict. Both parties wanted to carry forward with the negotiation. Inorder to have a clear understanding of the case, a brief explanation of the concept of negotiation is given below.

Negotiation is a process in which two or more individuals or groups, having both common and conflicting goals, state and discuss proposal for specific terms of a possible agreement. It includes a combination of compromise, collaboration, and possibly some pressures on vital issues. A negotiating situation has the following characteristics: • There is a clash of interests between two or more parties • Two or more individuals must make a decision about their interdependent goals and objectives • The individuals are committed to peaceful means for resolving their conflicts, and there is no clear or established method or procedure for making the decision.

Every negotiator is concerned with the outcome of the negotiation process in which he is participating. On the basis of stability component of negotiated settlement, the negotiation processes have been divided into two categories:

• Integrative Negotiation
It is a negotiation process in which parties on both the sides feel that they are gaining what they expected. It is a win-win situation based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others. There are certain guiding principles of Integrative Negotiation:

o Separate the people from problem – issue of negotiation has to be separated from interpersonal relationship issues o Focus on interests, not positions – focus to be given to underlying human needs and interests that had caused them to adopt those positions o Invent options for mutual gain – design optima solutions under pressure in the presence of adversary tends to narrow people’s thinking o Insist on using objective criteria – parties should discuss the conditions of the negotiation in terms of some fair standard, such as market value, expert opinion, custom or law.

• Distributive Negotiation
It is a negotiation process in which each of the parties tries to grab maximum benefit, and impose maximum losses on the other. It is a win-lose situation where people are prone to use position power, credentials, possessions, or personality to get their way. It is more of an authoritarian approach. There are certain win-lose strategies:

o I want it all – by making extreme offer and then granting concessive grudgingly, if at all, the other party hopes to wear down your resolve o Time warp – time can be used as a powerful weapon by the negotiator o Good cop, bad cop – strategy to sway person to their side by alternating sympathetic with threatening behavior o Ultimatum – strategy to try to force to you to submit to the will of the other party

Analysis

The league initially approached with two alternatives either to reduce pay to an average level or link player’s pay to league’s revenues. But this was countered by the player’s union. Then a decision of salary cap with no link to league revenue was announced by the owners. This initially appeared as an integrative approach in negotiation where both parties were better off. But...
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