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Dealing with a stalemate or conflict can at times be very challenging to two or more groups that are in conflict. Negotiation happens to be one of the most utilised conflict resolution strategies. The success of the negotiation process would rely on the strategies employed in the process and responses by the parties in conflict. Lewicki, Hiam and Olander (2007, pp. 24-28) have provided great insights on negotiation and how to make the process effective. In their article, Selecting a Strategy, the three submit that ‘If you are proactive about strategic choice, you are much more likely to get what you want than if you wait for the other to initiate action’. In this paper, I have built on this by taking the position that proactive negotiation is better than the ‘no strategy’ approach to negotiation. Effectively, the aim of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of the proactive and the ‘no strategy’ negotiation approaches, with a view of making comparisons and conclusions as to why the proactive approach to negotiation is preferable between the two.
Proactive versus ‘No Strategy’ Approach to Negotiation
Based on the submission above, there are two approaches that may be adopted by the parties on the negotiation table. In their study, Lewicki, Hiam and Olander (2007) have brought in the ‘no strategy’ approach and the ‘proactive approach’. Based on these two, major contrasts could be drawn. In the first place, the proactive approach, just as the name suggests, has the party involved in a conflict taking an active role in participating in the negotiation. This however, does not imply that the ‘no strategy’ option has the party using the strategy not participating at all. Rather, such party employing this strategy would be reactive as they would rely on what is placed on the table to give their side of the conflict. For the ‘no strategy’ camp, all the arguments would be coined around issues that are brought forth and the options that are available (Cătălina, 2009, pp. 16 – 22). This brings in the proactive strategy camp as the initiator of the discussions or the originator of the available alternatives through breaking even on issues facing the conflicting sides. Being proactive about strategic choice helps one to overcome limitations in terms of the strategic choice to be made on the negotiation table. The proactive opponents would always provide for an alternative that gives room for guile, bluffing, and brinksmanship. However, as room for guile, bluffing, and brinksmanship is given, the proactive opponent would always have an upper hand to the opposing side. The alterative given by the proactive opponent would always be one that favours their side. It would imply that the opposing side would only be craving for how the alternative or option for making a deal would be watered down or reduced so as to make them benefit (Lewicki, Barry & Saunders, 2007, pp. 22-26). The proactive strategy would, therefore, be far much better than if one was to be on the reducing side. From a psychological perspective, it is much easier to negotiate how to involve one in an activity and to what extent to do it, as compared to one negotiating on how they can be involved in an activity which has already been created. This gives the proactive opponent an upper hand to the opponent who is using the ‘no strategy’. The proactive approach is much advantageous in the negotiation process as it gives one an opportunity to comfortable deal with emerging issues from whatever angle. Robyn Haydon (2013) argues that for one to reap the most from a negotiation; they must be ready to be the generators of the ideas in the negotiation as there is no expert in the negotiation. In his article on “Tips for Improving Negotiation Skills”, Haydon asks parties in the negotiation table to make an assumption that there is nobody who...
References: Billikopf, G., 2001, Interpersonal Negotiation Skills, University of California, CA: http://nature.berkeley.edu/ucce50/ag-labor/7labor/17.htm
Bercovitch, J., 2008, Mediation and Negotiation Techniques, Arabian Journal of Business and Management, pp
Lewicki, R., Barry, B., and Saunders, D. (eds), 2007, ‘Selecting a strategy’, Negotiation: Readings, Exercises, Cases, New York: McGraw-Hill.
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