4. What are the differences among negotiators that affect the negotiation process?
Individuals negotiate to further an interest or achieve an objective or resolve an existing dispute in a mutually acceptable manner. They do so in light of the characteristics of the situation (context and facts) and the other party (disposition, perception, and interest/objectives). Negotiators who are able to identify and understand these characteristics are generally more effective in the negotiation process than those who are not. Throughout this material, we address the following differing characteristics of a negotiation and the individual negotiators that affect the negotiation process:
• Nature of conflict or dispute;
• Interests and objectives ;
• Cognition (logic, philosophy, emotion, perception);
• Disposition (outlook, aversions); and
• Constraints (time preference or limits, resources, geography, culture, language, communication medium, group or team negotiations, agency relationships, etc.).
Failed negotiations, erroneous refusals to negotiate, and failures to effectively negotiate (missteps in the negotiation) are generally attributable to one or more of these differences.
• Discussion: Can you think of situations where individuals refuse to negotiate, fail to reach a negotiated agreement, or negotiate poorly that is not related to one of these identified categories? Do you think it is more important to understand the attributes of the negotiation, the counterparty, or one’s self?