Negotiation style

Negotiation style
Primary topic
Related topics
Methods and techniques

Negotiations are a difficult and complicated process of making a joint decision, in which each participant wants to pursue their own interests. When preparing for negotiations, we need to determine what final effect we want to achieve and in what atmosphere we want to carry it out, to choose the right style of negotiation.

The style of conducting negotiations results from the personality predispositions, conscious choice or attitude based on the assumption that a particular way of acting is the most appropriate in a given situation.

People differ in reactions due to the occurrence of a conflict situation and show an unequal degree of focus on their own and the other's interests. The negotiator should have strong personality traits, stick to facts and focus on the problem, not on the participants, should have a good reputation, have authority, be resistant to stress, and should have the ability to persuade and persuade. It can not be biased, self-centered or suspicious.

Referring to the basic dimension of each interaction, the following types of negotiations can be distinguished:

  • Negotiations conducted by parties with symmetrical status, e.g. diplomats of a similar level.
  • Negotiations with asymmetric status, in which one side has a much higher status than the other.

The second case appears much more frequently. Unequal negotiating positions are caused by the difference in the resources possessed and the availability of goods that both sides have.

In the negotiations, we can distinguish two dimensions: "cooperation or struggle" and "activity or passivity". Combining both dimensions, we obtain four styles of negotiation.

Types of negotiation styles[edit]

Apart from the above-mentioned criterion of the division of negotiations, there are several basic styles, most often described in the literature on the subject: cooperative style, competition style and material style.

Competition style[edit]

The competition style is a strongly competitive style, and among others the least constructive, expressed in the following strategies: "winning - loser" or "loser - loser". The negotiator demands unilateral concessions and puts pressure. The type of negotiations assumes victory at all costs. A partner in talks is treated as a competitor or enemy. You are looking for a solution that is only beneficial to yourself. Negotiators presenting this style take a hard stance towards people and the problem. When planning long-term contacts during business, hard style is not useful. Negotiations often result in the opponent being exhausted during negotiations.

The characteristic features of the competition style are:

  • putting pressure,
  • insisting on yours,
  • the use of threats, demands and blackmail, and misleading the partner.

The main goal is to win, and the partner is the opponent. The presented competition model assumes the satisfaction of the maximum of its own interests at the expense of the opposing party. "Hard" negotiations are only profitable if the contact with the parties is one-off. Almost always one party pays high costs, and the destructive consequences make cooperation difficult.

Cooperative style[edit]

The cooperative style tends to make concessions to the other party, while giving up their own needs, in order to maintain good relations with the partner. Wishing to maintain the sympathy of the other party, he gives up and resigns from pursuing his own interests. The reason for this behavior may be fear of partner's reaction or inability to recite. The cooperative model is a form of adjustment, because the negotiator tries to avoid conflict and easily gives way, so as to reach an agreement. It also happens that the site is usually friendly and unaccustomed to the conflict, wanting to end the contentious issue as soon as possible.

Characteristics of the cooperative style:

  • looking for a solution that will be accepted by the partner,
  • the approval of losses in the name of a specific agreement,
  • the lower limit of what is acceptable is shown,
  • positions are easily and frequently changed,
  • new offers are not rarely desired, wanting to gain trust.

Often the "soft" negotiator ends the dispute with the feeling that he has been used and feels uncomfortable about it.

A material style[edit]

The material style draws attention to the interests and values ​​of the parties as well as to interpersonal relations. The seriousness and honesty of the negotiators brings a settlement and benefits for both parties. The material model is expressed in the "win-win" strategy, where the solution is obtained in an effective and amicable way. It is based on making decisions on specific issues and relies on the merits of the case, but not on the tender around what both sides say they will do or will not do. This style suggests that during conflicting interests it should be demanded that the final of talks be based on criteria independent of the will of the parties.

Negotiations based on such principles can be applied regardless of whether one or several issues are being negotiated, whether one or more parties are involved in the negotiations, whether the manner of conducting talks is formalized (e.g. collective disputes) or determined at the moment (e.g. negotiations with hijackers). Also regardless of whether the other party has experience and whether its representative is a tough or friendly negotiator. (Fisher, Ury, 2007).

The essence of a material style can be presented in the form of four guidelines, applicable in almost every situation:

  • People - separate people from the problem
  • Interests - focus on business, not on positions
  • Possibilities of solutions - develop many possibilities, you will make a decision for it
  • Criteria - demand that the outcome of the talks be based on objective criteria.

Direct comparison of negotiation styles[edit]

Comparison of negotiation styles-table

Cooperative style Competition style Material style
Participants are friends Participants are opponents Participants solve the problem
The goal is to reach an agreement The goal is to win The goal is a wise result achieved effectively and amicably
They give way to cultivate mutual relations They demand concessions as conditions for mutual relations Separate people from the problem
Be soft against people and the problem Be hard against people and the problem Be soft against people, hard against the problem
Trust in others Do not trust others Act independently and trust
Easily change your position Entrench your position Focus on business, not on positions
Use threats Explore and discover interests
Show the bottom line of the agreement Deceive the bottom line of the agreement Avoid having a bottom line of agreement
Accept unilateral losses in the name of reaching an agreement Demand for unilateral benefits as conditions for concluding an agreement Develop opportunities that benefit both parties
Insist on communication Insist on your position Insist on using objective criteria
Try to avoid the fight of the will Try to win the fight of the will Try to achieve a result based on objective criteria
Give in to pressure Put pressure Justify and be open to justification.

Give in to rules, not pressure

References[edit]