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Professionalism is a key tactic that can lead a collective bargaining team to desired results. Labor relations and professionally negotiating differences can build relationships, which could contribute to achieving choice of goals and/or goal types. One of the most important goals in negotiating is making a professional attempt to see what the other side wants. Lewicki et.al (2016) concurred as they argued “By professionally exchanging concerns, interests, preferences, and priorities â€œnegotiators make a true effort to understand what the other side really wants to achieveâ€ ( p. 62).
Collective bargaining can coerce even the best negotiators become exhausted and implode or explode emotionally. Thus, it is paramount for leaders to share with their members involved in the process what’s expected of them before negotiation commence. The approach might contribute to leaders and members keeping calm and remaining focus on concerns as well as desired results. Young et.al (2007) agreed as they argued “One way to exercise control of leadership behaviors is through role negotiation in which a leader and members tell each other what is expected and why”(p. 59). Moreover, leaders and members seeking a beneficial collective bargaining agreement must be sensitive to what the other party is after so that a relationship amongst the collective bargaining members can act as catalyst in achieving result sought. Hargrove (2010) supported the argument as Hargrove stated “Successful negotiating requires both sides recognize their goals that are different and agree to work cooperatively to resolve these goals” (p. 229-240). However, these goals must be measurable and concrete rather than unobtainable. Dailey (2013) provided incite on measurable goals. Dailey states “Measurable goals are the real objectives; they are often seeable, quantifiable and sometimes concrete” CMU, Conflict Management Lecture).
Upon reflecting on being a member of a collective bargaining team, it was imperative that we collect information from “union members” such as the most important benefits, including incremental monetary benefits. After gathering essential needs and wants, our team developed strategies to getting the administration to give us what we wanted. Of course, the administration had their own agenda. Our strategy consisted of two members acting as the hard-liners. They refused to give up anything. They (union members) were to come in working to the opponents emotions. After an intense exchanged, I would call for a caucus to settle everyone down and get our members to refocus. After all, it was our strategy. Upon re-entering the well lit room, I began asking the opponents what they wanted and how we know that it was important for the city to save money. “Let’s come to some agreement so our members will be happy and the city can make the citizens happy.” One member of the other negotiating team said “Now, that is the type attitude we can work with!” We began negotiating; and over the next few day, we were able to reach a beneficial agreement. Therefore, professionalism is a key tactic that can lead a collectivebargaining team to desired results.
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Dailey, W. (2013). Conflict Management. Com665. Retrieved from https://chipcast.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=9ce6cc47-5220-4c30-9ed1-05f577e51653 on June 7, 2016.
Dailey, W. (2013). Negotiation: CMU: Com665 [Slides]. Retrieved from https://chipcast.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=8c593718-4005-485b-acd5-ae31590ed28a on June 7, 2016.
The importance of clearly defined goals in negotiation
I grew up in a union family. My Father started in the auto industry after graduating high school as he followed in the footsteps of his Father, Brother and Uncle. Starting his career in the mid-70â€™s he discussed the importance of the union to the working conditions and contractual agreements through the negotiation process. At the time he explained the union as a support for the workers against the organization to ensure that when they worked hard they would be fairly compensated and that both sides had ultimately the same goal to make the company more profitable. When there were other incidents of conflict, goals were defined from the employees to the union to negotiate with management. Lewicki et al (2011), stresses the importance and first step in developing and executing a negotiation strategy is to determine oneâ€™s goals. There needs to be a focus on the goals they want to achieve in a negotiation and focus on how to achieve those goals. Lewicki et al (2011), discusses four ways that goals affect negotiation; wishes are not goals, a wish is a fantasy, a hope that something might happen, linkage between two partiesâ€™ goals defines an issue to be settled and is often the source of conflict. If one side is able to achieve the goal without the other side, then there is no need for negotiation, goals must be attainable and realistic like an increase in wages or better benefits and effective goals must be concrete, specific, and measurable and once negotiations are complete the results have to be obvious. â€œWhile it may in some sense be just for unions that have failed to represent all their members adequately to bear the consequences of competition for workersâ€¦â€ (Silverstein, 1979). Dailey (2013), discusses that when one side gains in a negotiation the other side loses as there is only so much resources to go around. â€œWith effective planning and goal setting, most negotiators can achieve their objectives; without them, results occur more by chance than by negotiator effortâ€ (Lewicki et al, 2011).
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Dailey, D. W. (2013) COM 665: Negotiation. Lecture Video. Central Michigan
University. Retrieved from
A singular goal may yield two types of negotiation strategy.
Before taking this class, I didnâ€™t really see myself as a â€œnegotiatorâ€. However, after reading through the material (especially this weekâ€™s), I have found that I negotiate every day. In my daily role as an Administrative Account Manager, I find myself in both distributive bargaining situations and integrative negotiations. In each of these types of negotiations, my goal is the same: to gain and maintain profitable business.
Distributive bargaining situations typically present themselves regarding external negotiations; i.e. when I am negotiating a customerâ€™s contract pricing. In these situations, my goal is to earn the highest possible profit for the company whereas the customerâ€™s goal is to achieve the lowest price. These goals are in direct conflict with one another. â€œDistributive bargaining is basically a competition over who is going to get the most of a limited resource, which is often moneyâ€ (Lewicki et al, 2016, p. 29). Dailey (2013) offers the representation that â€œWhatever one side gains, the other side must, by definition, loseâ€.
Integrative negotiation typically takes place more internally between myself and the Sales Representatives in the field; i.e. when the Sales Rep is trying to advocate something for the customer, maybe an under minimum shipment of product at the companyâ€™s expense. In this situation, both myself and the Sales Rep share a common goal â€“ â€œone that all parties share equally, each one benefitting in a way that would not be possible if they did not work togetherâ€ (Lewicki et al, 2016, p. 81). In this example, our common goal would be to maintain business, but we would negotiate sending an under minimum shipment.
The same goal, in either case, drove the negotiation strategy. â€œNegotiators must anticipate what goals they want to achieve in a negotiation and focus on how to achieve these goalsâ€ (Lewicki et al, 2016, p. 90). Palmer (2006) states that â€œThe goal of every negotiation must be to achieve a result which, even if it falls short of the original objective, can be considered a satisfactory advancement towards itâ€ . For instance in the first example, although our goal is to gain business at the highest possible profit, we negotiate with our customers and often need to meet their (lower price expectations) to gain the business. Negotiating is a give and take; a two way street.
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Dailey, W. (2013). COM 665: Negotiation. Retrieved from https://chipcast.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=8c593718-4005-485b-acd5-ae31590ed28a
Lewicki, R., Saunders, D., Barry, B. (2016). Essentials of negotiation (6th ed.)
Clear goals allow strong negotiation tactics.
Lewicki states that effective goals must be concrete, specific, and measurable (2011 p. 90). Without concrete goals, one will have immense trouble negating others closer to what you want to accomplish. Both sides must have their negotiation goal in mind since without these, a final outcome can almost never be achieved. Also important to define beforehand is alternatives that you find acceptable, also known as BANTAs. â€œAlternatives are very important in both distributive and integrative processes because they define whether the current outcome is better than another possibility (Lewicki 2011 p. 101). If both sides pre-determine alternatives, they may already have a negotiation and not even know it. Although each side must keep these alternatives to themselves at first, as they begin to emerge, a settlement may be much easier.
Not only are knowing your own goals very important, but being very aware of the other sides goals is almost equally important. You cannot argue about what you do not know. It is plausible that going into negotiation without knowing the other sideâ€™s goals may put you at a disadvantage. You may give up more than you need to or offer them more than they are asking for! This is described well by Lewicki, â€œdiscovering that the other may have a different goal may be the first, and most important, step to determining whether the different goals are sufficiently compatible that we can invent a solution by which both parties achieve their goalsâ€ (Lewicki 2011 p. 103).
As we are very aware, the auto industry and the unions are constantly bargaining back and forth. A very strong lesson was learned with the auto industries were in bankruptcy. The unions would not budge much in their demands and the auto industry could not meet these demands. This leads me to believe that this could be a reason many organizations choose to be union free. â€œAs the public begins to recognize how well public sector workers are doing relative to other workers, and how bad the national and state economies are doing, they will increasingly side with municipal officials and against public sector unionsâ€ (Bluestone, 2011). I do not have experience in collective bargaining however just in my short career I have experienced companies being quite opposed to employees unionizing out of fear of bargaining being too difficult with such a large group.
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Bluestone, B. (2011). Negotiating the Future: A New Approach to Labor Relations in the Public Sector. NLC State Managers Conference. Northeastern University.
Lewicki, R.J., Saunders, D.M. & Barry, B. (2011). Essentials of negotiation (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill. P. 28-181
Goals strengthen your negotiation position. Zetik & Stuhlmacher (2002) indicated that goal setting literature shows â€œthat people with goals achieve higher outcomes than people without goalsâ€ (p. 37). During negotiations with the union in my previous company, it was always important for us to have a clear idea of what the outcomes of the negotiations should be, so we started with developing specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and time bound (SMART) goals. â€œThe model of SMART goals supports the negotiators effectively in the formulation of a clear, realistic and ambitious objectiveâ€ (Opresnik, 2014, p. 16). We developed our process goals, by determining what we can achieve and how we can achieve it and then entered negotiations with those expectations. This required making a list of all goals, prioritizing them, identifying opportunities for multigoal packages and evaluating areas for possible compromise (Lewicki, Saunders, & Barry, 2011, p. 90). It was important to know that â€œboth parties depend on each other because each has the power and will block the otherâ€™s goalsâ€ (Dailey, 2013). Therefore, during the goal setting process, we spent time also analyzing the goals of the union. We knew they wanted wage increases and our goal was to renew the contract for only one year with no wage increases.
During the negotiation process we were careful to manage our relationship with the union to ensure that negotiations progressed in the direction most favorable to meeting the companyâ€™s goals. Lewicki et al (2011) stated that negotiations are affected by â€œhow we perceive, analyze and feel about the other party, the situation, and our own interests and positionsâ€ (p.139). While there were items in the current contract that were a source of continuous disagreement between the company and the union, we were able to maintain our stance on certain issues by remaining â€œsoft on the people, hard on the issuesâ€ (Dailey, 2013). The company understood that the â€œchoice of words may not only signal a position but also shape and predict the conversation that ensuesâ€ (Lewicki et al., 2011, p. 170). Therefore, when the union requested wage increases, we provided them our financial statements as evidence of the companyâ€™s severe losses over the prior year and also provided them a comprehensive benchmarking study of similar facilities, which showed that current wages were competitive not only on island, but also on the US mainland. As Opresnik (2014) indicated, companies should â€œnegotiate effectively and appropriately by formulating the problem and include the negotiating partners in the problem-solving processâ€¦â€ (p. 17). As such, we achieved one of our primary goals when the union agreed it was more beneficial to receive a one-time bonus payment at the signing of the new one year contract instead of wage increases.
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Dailey, W., PhD. (2013).COM 665: Negotiation[PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved June 7, 2016, from Lecture Video Online https://chipcast.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=8c593718-4005-485b-acd5-ae31590ed28a
Lewicki, R.J., Saunders, D.M. & Barry, B. (2011). Essentials of negotiation (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Opresnik, M. O. (2014). The Hidden Rules of Successful Negotiation and Communication.Management for Professionals,13-31. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-06194-8