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Negotiation

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An Analysis of Negotiation Processes

February 10, 2011

Introduction

Kelly is a Canadian who holds a college degree and has spent some time in Japan as a child. She was excited to learn of an opportunity to work in this country for one year. The position of interest requires working closely with Japanese educators who are teaching English. The program provides a contract that provides specifics on salary, working hours, and benefits, to include sick days and personal holidays.

Cathy travels to Japan after being accepted and discovers that she will be working with Mark, also from Canada, Andrea, and American, and Suzanne, from Great Britain. However, she is made aware of cultural differences very quickly because the Japanese people voluntarily work long hours without pay, to include working on weekends. Moreover, Mr. Higashi, the head coordinator of the program frequently insists that Kelly and her co-workers take part of Japanese cultural events and they are resentful because they feel that Mr. Higashi is trying to make them conform.

In addition to the cultural conflicts, Kelly and her peers are also disliked by the Japanese workers because they believe that everyone should show dedication to their jobs by working long hours without pay. Needless to say, the foreigners do not agree and are committed to honoring what’s contained in their contracts only.

Things begin to go awry when Kelly calls out sick while experiencing flu-like symptoms. Mr. Higashi responds and tells her that she must bring in a doctor’s note that attests to her sickness upon return and this irritates her but she complies. Ironically, Mark and Suzanne also call out sick on this day and Mr. Higashi becomes very suspicious and believes that there may be a conspiracy to miss work. Upon return, Kelly presents her note and is approached from a representative from human resources regarding her pay for the days she was out. She is about to sign when she noticed that she was going to be paid out of her personal leave for the two days that she out. Kelly protests and says that she has a contract that says she is entitled to sick days and she brought in a doctor’s note that proves she was sick. Mr. Higashi is uninterested and states that she will paid out of her personal leave because this is what the Japanese do when they are sick because they are committed to the company. Resultantly, Kelly and the others talk about coming up with strategies to complain about this so they can be paid according to their contract.

Four Phases of Negotiation

The first phase of the negotiation process is called pre-negotiation. During this phase, Kelly, Mark, and Suzanne will sit down and determine if there really is cause for concern that will require negotiation. According to Hayncz (n.d,), it is important to decide what is important (p. 2). Thus, they will begin to prepare a strategy or strategies that seek to resolve the underlying issue to their favor. The pre-negotiation phase should be highly organized and structured and an agenda should be drawn up so that the meeting flows logically and freely. Moreover, each individual shall be assigned specific tasks so that all of those involved will be able to contribute equally to the endeavor. Each individual should also be given the opportunity to outline their specific grievances. Kelly, Mark, and Suzanne will discuss the conflicts they experience at work because of cultural issues. In like manner, they will identify the main issue which is the failure to be paid out of their sick leave in accordance with their contract.
Conceptualization is the second phase and it is here that Kelly, Mark, and Suzanne will develop a blueprint, or frame of the issue(s). Hayncz (n.d.) says the workers will began to gather information that will be presented to Mr. Higashi at a later date (p. 2). In addition, the three will agree on the things that they will seek to negotiate, which is to demand that the workers be paid according to their contract which stipulates that are entitled to use sick days when they are sick. As an example, the three can draft an outline that proposes the grievance and then provide a solution to rectify the situation.
The third phase is the providing details phase and Kelly, Mark, and Suzanne will provide the details of the grievances to the third party which is Mr. Higashi and the human resource department in written format. As such, they will send the grievances and bid them for review (Hayncz, n.d., p.2 ), as well as explain that it is understood that they are cultural differences between the Japanese and the workers; however, they have legal contracts that the Japanese are not honoring which means they are not in compliance with the program. The three workers should state that they expect to be compensated according to the contract or they will have to file a formal grievance with the office that administers the program. The three workers will also provide details regarding their interoffice conflicts regarding cultural differences as it pertains to work ethics while explaining that they all come from different cultural backgrounds and they should all work together to embrace other cultures and diversity as opposed to disliking them. Hayncz (n.d.) has stated that grievances sometimes are re-opened and negotiated when either party is dissatisfied (p. 2).
The last and final phase of the negotiation process regards follow-up. It is during this phase that the workers will decide to have periodic meetings with Mr. Higashi to discuss issues and concerns and to ensure that each side is satisfied with the terms of the negotiation processes.
Frames: Framing Issues during Negotiation

According to Pinkley and Northcraft (1994) conflicts must be managed in such a way that an organization can continue to run smoothly and efficiently (p. 193). Moreover, conflict frames lets those with grievances view the conflict (Pinkley & Northcraft, 1994, p. 193). As a result, the conflict frame gives Kelly, Mark, and Suzanne the opportunity to hone in on their main conflict, which is the disparity in pay; they were out sick but were denied the right to use their sick leave although their contract states they are entitled to do so.

Characterization frames are used to identify the people in the conflict. Kaufman, Elliot and Shmueli (2003) have said “Disputants view others in the conflict as having particular characteristics. Closely related to stereotyping, characterization frames may be either positive or negative”. As such, Kelly, Mark, and Suzanne will use this frame to identify Mr. Higashi’s character traits that are serving to fuel the conflict.

Pros and Cons of Frames

One benefits of using the conflict frame is that it helps those with grievances identify the underlying issues. In contrast, a con regards emotions which may run high when conflicts arise. Thus, Kelly, Mark and Suzanne should express their emotions during the pre-negotiation phases because they are more than likely legitimate because they are felt. Pinkley and Northcraft (1994) have suggested that expected results may not be achieved when they are negotiated with emotional appeal (p. 196). As such, the three should agree to recognize the emotions to ensure that they don’t cloud the critical thinking process which may cloud judgments.

One pro of characterization framing is that it gives those with grievances the opportunity to identify negative behaviors observed in the people that pose the conflict. In this instance, Kelly, Mark, and Suzanne can identify entities that are specific to Mr. Higashi’s personality that have served to fuel the conflict. This includes cultural biases against non-Japanese workers and a different opinion in regards to work ethics and pay standards. As a con, those with grievances may have individualized biases that are internalized which result in incorrect perceptions. As a consequence, the conflict frame seems to be the most effective because it focuses on the issue as opposed to the personality of the people involved in the conflict as the characterization frame does.

Cognitive Biases and Steps to Overcomes or Reduce Them

Individuals can sometimes experience cognitive biases that negatively impact the negotiation process. For example, those that hold the mixed pie bias develop courses of action that lack a definite plan to execute them (Kelly, 2006). In like manner, people that experience mythical bias lack flexibility and believe that there will be no change in the situation after the negotiation (Kelly, 2006). Finally, some use an anchoring and adjusting approach which ties future conflicts to the original conflict whether or not they are related (Kelly, 2006).

Kelly, Mike and Suzanne can overcome the mixed pie bias by developing a strategic plan to negotiate. In addition, they can have a positive attitude towards winning the negotiation as opposed to feeling that they can’t win to be rid of the mythical bias. Moreover, they must realize that all conflicts and negotiation are not alike which means that different strategies may have to be utilized during negotiation processes which renders the anchoring and adjusting methodology ineffective.

Reference

Hayncz, C. (n.d.). Strategic negotiation: Moving through the stages. Retrieved from http://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/research/documents/Hanycznegotiationchap4.pdf

Kaufman, S. Elliot, M. & Shmueli, D. (2003). Frames, framing and reframing. Retrieved from http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/framing/

Kelly, M. (2006). Cognitive biases. Retrieved from http://www.testingreflections.com/node/view/4293

Pinkley, R.L. & Northcraft, G.B. (1994). Conflict frames of reference: Implications for dispute processes and outcomes. Academy of Management Journal, 37 (1). Retrieved from http://staff.maxwell.syr.edu/cgerard/Fundamentals%20of%20Conflict%20Resolution/Conflict%20Frames%20of%20Referenece,%20Implications%20for%20Dispute%20Processes%20and%20Outcomes.pdf

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