Nobody would argue with the fact that the modern business environment as well as geopolitical tendencies imply numerous difficulties for negotiations. Negotiations remain to be a crucial element of many spheres of human activity, creating various approaches to meeting successful agreements between all parties. Nevertheless, external factors place a strong pressure on most negotiation processes. As a result, negotiations do not produce desirable effects as they end in a deadlock. However, a negotiation impasse is also a natural phenomenon, but the need to avoid such cases is clear to many international organizations, politicians, and businessmen. That is why, an efficient set of solutions is requested for practical application. So, a certain negotiating strategy should be developed. Regarding that, deployment of negotiation strategies is a key component of any successful discussion.
To clarify the purpose of the study, it is appropriate to point out that it focuses on discussing main strategies of negotiations as well as applicability of a concept model, which is developed by the following paper. The paper presents a combination of strategies as they are reflected in the deployment of the concept model in terms of the practical environment. In the same way, the study describes and discusses basic principles of the element s of the concept model. What is more, it depicts a specifically developed framework and methodology for placing the concept model in the practical environment of negotiations.
A large volume of literature has been published on the subject of negotiation strategies. One of the most applicable models to the contemporary negotiating environment is described by Andrew Trask and Andrew DeGuire (2013). This strategy presupposes filtering of multiple options of negotiations. In other words, requests of each party comprise a scope of negotiations. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the more options are presented the more arguments arise in consequence. By the same token, a wide range of negotiating options imply a devaluation of a single option, as negotiations expect each party to tolerate distinct limitations to some extent.
That may result in negotiation dissatisfaction or even an impasse, which is why multiple options are suggested, depending on the context of negotiations. All options are not equal because they are influenced in a discourse of negotiations. In such a way, value of decision-making is respectively lower as its outcomes are exposed to the opponent’s decisions, which usually tend to contradict the statements of the party.
Thus, filtering of options is an appropriate strategy since negotiations are supposed to fulfil a distinct common goal instead of satisfying each party independently. Options are filtered according to a priority of the negotiations goal, so that all parties have to equally avoid insisting on some of their requests, which may prevent the negotiations from reaching the primary goal (Trask & DeGuire, 2013). Filtering is quite an effective strategy to focus on a scope of negotiations, but it is likely to compromise initial intentions of the parties. To explain it simply, some of parties may refuse to proceed with negotiations since one of their key positions will be not included (Trask & DeGuire, 2013). Risks of negotiation deadlocks are quite high as a non-material factor is much stronger than material benefits nowadays. Hence, this strategy is limited to the extent of its effectiveness.
Another negotiation strategy is presented by George Siedel (2014). The strategy is based on a development of interpersonal communication with the opponent. Needless to say, establishment of interpersonal communication results in mutual empathy (Siedel, 2014). That will provide an environment in which a negotiator can learn more about the opponent. This benefit is one of the key factors in negotiations, as many negotiations fail, owing to the lack of intelligence about the opposing party.
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In addition, interaction with the opponent helps to avoid psychological traps and creates a favorable environment for cooperation. The strategy requires a negotiator to follow simple instructions. Communication with the opponent, however, should be limited to the subject of the negotiations. A negotiator is recommended to listen carefully and ask more questions about the opponent. Psychologically, people tend to express themselves about issues that concern them (Siedel, 2014). Moreover, interest in the opponent’s anxieties and desires results in establishment of trust and willingness to cooperate.
Effectiveness of this strategy is evident, but it is appropriate to note that a probability of an impasse is still present. Provided that negotiations happen to face a deadlock, the strategy of interpersonal communication will be dramatically inefficient. Close relationships with the opponent work in both ways. Tension in the relationships may adversely affect any further argument produced by negotiators. Negotiations always presuppose a global context of communication, which is why solution of the problem in terms of interpersonal discourse is fairly insufficient. As a result, this strategy can be utilized in a complex with other strategies that are able to avoid basic causes of negotiations arguments. Common practice suggests that communication strategies, which are particularly oriented at solving negotiation disputes, deliver high effectiveness to the entire process of negotiations. Regarding that, a solution-focused strategy has to be also discussed.
This model is clearly described by Bundo and Simon (2015). The strategy focuses on alignment of all driving forces with the primary goal of negotiations. In such a way, the strategy implies collection of the strongest options of negotiators. The parties are expected to develop a complex of actions that will result in solving the problem of negotiations. It is becoming abundantly clear that actions should be taken regardless of internal purposes of each party. One may argue that such a strategy leads to disputes. Nevertheless, it does not necessarily mean that this strategy leads to arguments. The solution-focused strategy switches attention of negotiators from their personal intentions to a common result (Budno & Simon, 2015). This strategy changes the entire attitude towards negotiations. As a matter of fact, negotiations are associated with mutual respect of interests, while contemporary negotiators seek personal advantages in this regard. Hence, the solution-focused model unifies efforts of parties in addressing the initial issue of negotiations.
On the contrary, this strategy cannot be used as a single model for reaching a consensus. The solution-focused model presents an effective model for negotiations, but it does not contain any methodology (Budno & Simon, 2015). Negotiations may require a profound framework for actions aimed at addressing the common goal, while the solution-focused strategy simply suggests what actions should be taken. Generally speaking, the strategy answers the question what to do?, but successful negotiations also include the answer to the question how to do that? However, absence of methodology is just one drawback. Still, the solution-focused strategy contains a peculiar mindset that produces an extremely positive impact on behaviors of negotiators. As a consequence, the solution-focused model is recommended for creating a distinct ideological foundation, while other models serve the methodological function. Thus, a problem-solving strategy becomes an important consideration. As it is closely connected to the solution-focused mindset, its main attributes should be also outlined.
An ensured consistency of the standard solving model should be indicated. Solving model also unifies negotiators for the achievement of a common goal. Therefore, only one solution to the negotiations has to be designed. The solving model includes six steps for the establishment of a manageable agenda that divides responsibilities between the involved parties (Restructuring Associates, 2008). The following solving model leads to the establishment of favorable conditions for positive changes, helping negotiations to finally succeed. By the same token, a linear approach contains rationale for each action, which is why risks as well internal hesitations of the opponents are not persistent (Restructuring Associates, 2008). Generally speaking, the solving model is quite simple, but it remains an efficient strategy for addressing negotiations. It develops all solutions with relevant evidence that is satisfactory for each party. In addition, it heavily relies on justified decisions, so that probability success in negotiations is initially high.
The best practice suggests that the solving method is utilized with a strategy of visualization the priorities. Thus, one of the recent technological advances should be discussed for a more effective application of the solving method. In fact, prioritization of negotiations’ objectives has to be visualized. In such a way, each party will be able to see the overall context. To serve that purpose, bar charts are created for demonstration of all priorities and respectively divided requirements to every single party in the group of negotiators (Zarate, Camilleri, & Kamissoko, 2014).
Parties can directly observe what they are expected to complete to reach a certain common goal. This approach addresses a global context that will raise a level of priority awareness among negotiators. Furthermore, visual representation is easier for perception because each party is able to measure its opportunities and threats related to the negotiations (Zarate et al., 2014). This method proved to deliver high-scale reliability, but combination with other negotiation strategies may require additional attention.
To be more specific, some negotiators fail to acquire purposes of the visualization strategy as the data presented happens to be complicated for them (Zarate et al., 2014). It may result in a dramatic misunderstanding of priorities, so that the negotiation impasse will be entirely possible. To avoid such a possibility, simplification of this technology is advised (Zarate et al., 2014). It will not confuse negotiators and intensify the process of decision-making as certain decisions produce an impact on a final solution of the negotiation’s issue.
The strategy of visualization has to be applied to the problem-solving model as well as to any other strategies that address negotiations and various communicative purposes. It is worth admitting that prioritization does not have to include complete compliance with the negotiations’ scope, as long as it is practically not possible. This is just one gap in the strategy of visualization, but the best practice suggests that application of this model in combination with the problem-solving strategy ensures high efficacy and reliability for any type of negotiations.
On the basis of a literature review, the following concept model of the negotiation strategy should be outlined. It is a combination of problem-solving and visualization models with application of the solution-focused mindset.
The problem-solving strategy begins with indication of the key problem. It is expected to be specified, but awareness of the most widespread problems in negotiations will simplify problem identification. This step has to be taken in cooperation, otherwise there is a possibility to define different problems (and not appropriate ones, as a common sense suggests). This stage defines the entire direction of further problem solving, which is why detection of the basic problem has to be as objective as possible. The second step is determination of potential problems in negotiations (Restructuring Associates, 2008).
Again, the ability to recognize general factors of negotiation problems will direct negotiators towards a distinct area that should be reworked. The causes of negotiations problems are the most specified elements within a solving model, and that is why their identification should not be prevented because of concerns about the opponent’s opinion (Restructuring Associates, 2008). At the same time, none of the parties should be criticized. These two phases are crucial for the whole process of negotiations since they help to establish a collaborative relationship between the parties.
The third step includes the development of numerous and diverse scenarios of solution. All parties are required to develop a maximum of ideas concerning the identified issue of negotiations regardless of their frameworks and implications for each party. The main purpose of this step is to establish a scope of possible actions in order to avoid a potential negotiations deadlock. Therefore, each solution has to be related to a specific negotiations issue while similar ideas can be merged into concept models (Restructuring Associates, 2008). These simple activities will increase efficiency of the model as well as satisfaction of the opponents. Consequently, the choice of the most appropriate issue of negotiations is the fourth stage of the problem-solving strategy. A solution should be chosen in accordance with its technical feasibility and general acceptance that will be rendered initially as it is the result of common work on the issue.
The fifth phase is deployment of the solution in the empirical environment. This is the most difficult stage, as an inappropriate choice of priorities can result in a failure of negotiations. Thus, solutions are expected to be incorporated with respect to the prioritization of negotiations. This step requires proactive involvement of the visualization strategy. Eventually, the sixth stage means evaluation of the outcomes. Provided that some outcomes are unsatisfactory, the same sequence of actions should be conducted once again (Restructuring Associates, 2008). The main purpose of the problem-solving model is to simplify and specify the issue of negotiations, which is why it is subdivided into six independent steps. Nevertheless, approaches to detecting issues, developing solutions and implementations, and evaluation are commonly non-linear as long as multiple parties participate in the problem-solving process (Restructuring Associates, 2008).
Besides the primary problem-solving model, it is also pivotal to deploy a solution-focused mindset among negotiators. As it has been already mentioned, the mindset complies with the problem-solving strategy and represents basic requirements, which are the following. First of all, strong empathy towards the opponent has to be established. Listening to the position of the opponent does not mean that any additional contribution or effort is required (Budno & Simon, 2015). This is a natural component of negotiations, which is just one reasonable attitude towards negotiations. Likewise, personal views on the progress of negotiations have to be outlined in a suggestive form (Budno & Simon, 2015).
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Extreme politeness and tolerance can be explained not only with standards of ethics but also with a pragmatic aspect. Any negotiations are boosted with deployment of a solution, which is why involvement of maximal visions into the related issue is pivotal. The solution-focused mindset reduces external and personal motives to act in a certain way. The problem-solving model is obviously applicable to cases of negotiations, but it needs a specific methodology.
The solution-focused mindset implies proactive use of capacities available among all parties. It delivers the problem-solving strategy performance to a non-linear environment, which is particularly important to its methodology as well as framework. As it has become increasingly explicit, the problem-solving model itself is a traditionally linear strategy for negotiations (Budno & Simon, 2015). However, it contains stages that may need diverse approaches to decision-making, which is why a non-linear design of ideas may be required too. It enables negotiators to address profound objectives of negotiations, as they should not only avoid a situation of a deadlock but also to make substantial progress toward the primary goal of negotiations (Budno & Simon, 2015).
Such methodology may contain certain risks of conflict on the existing basis of negotiations. The best practice suggests that it is certainly true, but the solution-focused mindset incites negotiators to share their own expertise with opponents instead of scrutinizing and blaming them for certain problems in common performance. At this step, all negotiators are expected to motivate each other to anticipate future outcomes, which will be established during successful negotiations.
Framework for the Concept Model
General Idea. Modern cognitive and communicative studies assume that communication is used not only to initiate a process of decision-making but also to address distinct problems. A large context of these studies reveals the evidence that the decision-making process always precedes the problem-solving process because a single solution is chosen among multiple decisions (Cohen, 2014). Hence, communication is a determining factor in the success of negotiations. Negotiators are expected to proceed with interaction in order to preserve progress in the future, otherwise the deployment of the problem-solving strategy will be redundant.
Communication is closely connected to the material perspective of negotiations, as contemporary negotiators tend to hide their internal data. This process is usually mutual, which means that negotiators are expected open all available data to each other (Cohen, 2014). Preservation of internal data often leads to inappropriate recognition of the opponent’s objectives and a complete misunderstanding. Therefore, the basic requirement to the framework of the problem-solving model is ensured.
How to Meet an Agreement. In fact, consensus between parties can be reached throughout an objective method of brainstorming to find all possible solutions. The most relevant decisions can be compared with the priorities of negotiations, as the solutions may address a current problem of the negotiations, but harm the primary goals (Cohen, 2014). In the same vein, negotiators still have to verify these solutions with their internal strategy of negotiations and common sense. In case some aspect of solutions is not satisfactory, it does not have to be selected.
Observation of the Opponent’s Actions. As communication is influenced with material perspective of negotiations, the behavioral aspect can be modified with non-material factors. Solutions that affect the non-material perspective of the opponent should be avoided (Cohen, 2014). The exception can be made in cases when common sense suggests that views of the opponent should be amended for better results of the entire negotiation process. Therefore, parties are advised to rely heavily on the actions of their opponents in order to meet an agreement. Information is quite a stable parameter that does not influence the flow of negotiations while behaviors of the opponent are reflected in their decision-making (Cohen, 2014). Exchange of expertise opinion regarding a false solution suggested by the opponents is the best way to react tolerantly to the behaviors of the opponent. This method is especially efficient as long as there can be other way to address the objective of negotiations.
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All in all, this study has discussed various strategies of negotiations and developed the concept model. First of all, the study has conducted a meaningful literature review concerning the most widespread strategic approaches to negotiations. The study has developed the entire concept model that involves multiple negotiating strategies. To be more exact, the paper has described the basic principles of the problem-solving model in combination with recent technologies of the visualization strategy that is also implementable in the environment of the solving model. In addition, the study has established a meaningful framework and methodology for an empirical application of the concept model.
It is established in accordance with three key principles: communication, reliance on behavior of the opponent, and proactive generation of solutions. The related research has confirmed that these aspects present a determining function in the establishment of effective decision-making and problem-solving processes in negotiations. The paper has managed to fulfil its purpose as certain statements regarding best practices in negotiations strategies and the concept model can be distinctly presented. In this regard, the findings are the following.
It is appropriate to make a general comment on the fact that a central issue of negotiations strategies is a non-material perspective. It can be explained by the fact that concepts, outlooks, and personal views of negotiators cannot be measured or leveraged while material aspect is easier to tackle. Amendments to outlooks, beliefs, and key positions of negotiators require more efforts on the part of the opponent, which is why negotiators are usually unwilling to tolerate such drastic changes. As for the concept model developed by this study, it is entirely applicable to the practical evidence of negotiations.
Six simple steps are evidently feasible while the basic methodology establishes a solution-focused mindset among negotiators. The concept model pays special attention to prioritization, as it is one of the main components of successful negotiations. The designed methodology and framework suggest communicative basis and reliance on the opponent’s behavior to meet an agreement through generation of numerous solutions to the issue of negotiations. Eventually, a further focus of the research is related to determination of limitations regarding the concept model with suggestion of reasonable amendments. In the same way, experimental testing of the concept model will be logical too.