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Negotiation is the research of an agreement focussed on material interests or quantifiable issues between two or more parties (someone can not negotiate with himself) in a limited time. This research of agreement involves the confrontation of conflicting interests. During a negotiation, a set of mutual concessions will be defined in order to attempt to make compatible the conflicting interests of each party.


[edit] Misconceptions about Negotiation

  • "I do not negotiate with myself, I deliberate";
  • "I do not negotiate with my spouse, I dialogue";
  • "I do not negotiate with my child, I educate";

[edit] Results of the Negotiation

The negotiation may lead to an agreement or fail to do so. If the negotiation succeeds in a cooperative mode, it generally leads to an agreement in which both parties consider themselves winners (win-win).

However, if the negotiation takes place in a competitive or distributive mode, the agreement may be a win-lose situation therefore unstable, or even lose-lose.

In other words, the agreement quality depends as much or even more on its long term consequences on relations between the parties than the reached gains.

[edit] Examples of Failure Causes of a Negotiation

  • Incompatible parties' positions (one of them has reached its breaking point; no more concessions can be given).
  • Lack of time.

[edit] Formalization of an Agreement

The agreement resulting from negotiations will often be formalized by:

  • A contract (economic area)
  • A legal homologation (in the context of judicial proceedings)
  • A treaty (in the political area; Francis Walder gives an example in "Saint-Germain or the Negotiation" which is a narrative inspired by a conference during which the third War of Religion in France was ended; the Peace of Saint-Germain lasted only two years.)
  • An "agreement" or a convention (social area)
  • A compromise
  • An arrangement
  • An adaptation,
  • A consensus.

Conceptions of negotiation

[edit] Examples

[edit] Commercial Negotiation

Two companies want to work together: one of them provides specific goods (or services) while the other pays under general conditions (terms of payment, agreement duration, commitment on the quantities purchased, etc...).

First of all, the act of negotiating must be demystified: 90% of the result comes from the preparation (and not from the face-to-face) and its psychological "techniques".

[edit] Milestones

  • Writing of the specifications
  • What are the needs of the company: volume, technical specifications, service quality expected, delivery points, etc...?
  • This step is fundamental because, first of all, it enables to streamline the needs of the company and let the various protagonists step into line with each other; and secondly, to communicate with the market in a clear and identical way for all.
  • Market Analysis
  • Who are the suppliers? In which countries are they located?
  • What is their manufacturing process?
  • What are the main factors of the cost?
  • What is the relationship between supply and demand?
  • Drafting of the call of tender
  • Examination of the tenders and analysis of the results
  • Analysis of strengths / weaknesses of each of the parties involved
  • Strategy
  • Act of negotiating. It can be realized in a face-to-face meeting, or using Internet tools, it can be a reverse auction.
  • Writing and signature of the contract

[edit] Social Negotiation

  • Negotiations between unions and employers.

[edit] Political Negotiation

  • A famous example: negotiations within the framework of agreements Israel / Palestine;
  • Negotiation of nuclear disarmament agreements (bilateral or multilateral);
  • Multilateral Negotiations: WTO, Kyoto Protocol, etc…

[edit] Related Terms

  • Palaver: mode of discussion that aims at finding a collective agreement (at least between two parties), with a “wise” to lead the discussions.
  • Bargaining: discussions to acquire or sell something at the best price. In fact it is a negotiation with a single point of negotiation: the price.
  • Talks: Conversation, conference between two or more people dealing with business or common interests. The talks may be a precondition to negotiations.
  • Dealings: a set of steps and informal talks in which operations and bargains are made.
  • Sale: term often used as a synonym of negotiation. However it must be noticed that negotiation differs from sale by its object (not necessary commercial), its wider flexibility and the issues considered as more important (a car is sold but a weapons contract is negotiated).
  • Mediation: implies the presence of a neutral, impartial, independent third party who ensures operation and communication rules (like confidentiality) which are defined with the parties. However the negotiation part that follows from mediation is contributive. It means that parties reach an agreement in a sustainability concern and accept the possibility of recourse into mediation in case of difficulty.
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