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I - I Captain: Interests in Integrative Negotiation

Posted by admin VIP     1 Comment(s)    Add a Comment  comment-icon.png
09/10/2012 01:43 PM

Last entry, we introduced the main concept of integrative negotiations - "Going Below The Line".  Essentially, to make a negotiation integrative, the parties must recognize interests, in addition to the issues and partys' positions.  To go below the line, there are four strategies the negotiator should utilize.

To create an integrative negotiation, the parties need to: 1. Focus on interests; 2. Be hard on the dispute's substance, but easy on the people; 3.  Develop options with mutual gain; and 4. Evaluate potential solutions.

These four strategies may be viewed as a circle.  Like a circle, a cycle does not have an end.  Parties may need to repeat the four strategies throughout the negotiations.  In reality, we do not always get each strategy right and more than one interest will emerge as more information is shared in the negotiation.  So to be effective in integrative negotiation, be prepared to move in either direction and to go around a few times.

Let's examine strategy #1 - Focus on Interests.  To focus on interests, first distinguish interest from issues.  As explained last time, issues are are identifiable and concrete concerns the parties need to address.  Interests are the parties' needs.  There are four main types of interest to try and identify: Process, Substance, Relationship, and Principles.

Process Interests are procedures -  how the parties go about negotiating an agreement.  For example, will they meet face-to-face or use some other communication method.  Does each party get a certain amount of time to speak, do they allow interruptions, etc.

Substance Interests are interests which relate to the negoitation's issues and the parties' positions.  For example, how goods are to be transported - packaging, by air or truck, etc.

Relationship Interests concern the relationship between the parties and other third parties.  If parties have concerns about future business relations or how the negotiati0n will affect relations with another supplier are examples of relationship interests.

Principle Interests are the beliefs, ethics, or morals the parties hold and how they relate to the negotiation.  For example, if one party has a strong belief in the golden rule (treat others as you would like to be treated), the other party will want to make the agreement appear to be beneficial to both parties.

Beyond a simple identification of the interets, serious integrative negotiators will try to find reasons behind the other party's position.  This can be done by asking WWWHW questions - Who, What, When, How, and Why.  One caveat though, human nature tends to disfavor the "Why" and "Who" questions.  The savvy integrative negotiator discovers answers to those questions through the other three.  Lastly, the integrative negotiator should listen for the unstated - listing to what is not said, attention to body language, and all other sources of information. 

Next time we will explore strategy # 2 - Be hard on the substance, easy on the people.  Please share any thoughts you have by commenting below.  

1 Comment
Added by Sports Coat
April 29th, 2013

Hi, I am Lisa. I am a teacher. There is an old saying from China. Never too late to learn. I learned a lot from your blog. like your article so much.
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