1. What is negotiation?
“Negotiation” is a process by which two or more individuals communicate with the purpose of furthering or achieving differing or conflicting perceived interests or objectives. Further, negotiation is an instance in which parties engage in the negotiation process. The essence of negotiation is that the parties have the option of arriving at more than one outcome. That is, the results of the parties’ interaction are uncertain. As such, each party believes that communicating with the other party will allow her to further her interest or objective in the situation. For a negotiation to be successful, the parties must arrive at an agreement that fits with a range of situational outcomes acceptable to both parties. This does not mean that the parties must reach their desired outcomes. The outcome must simply be acceptable to each negotiator.
• Discussion: Why do you think that negotiations result from conflicts or differing interests? Are the differences always real or simply perceived by the negotiators? Do parties ever negotiate when a single outcome is inevitable? Why must a negotiator believe that she can improve her position through negotiation? Is it important for a negotiator to understand what terms or results of a negotiation are acceptable before beginning to negotiate?