Negotiation with families

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This assignment asks you to consider a negotiation scenario with family members.

Consider this scenario: You and your brother work for your father’s successful family business, which employs 15 individuals. Your role has evolved from being the Chief Machinist to being the General Manager and main salesperson for the business. Your brother has creative talent and is good at designing and fabrication, but is not strong in interpersonal skills. Additionally, your brother does not take care of his personal appearance and uses language around customers that is not appropriate.

Your father wants you to give your brother additional responsibilities. He suggests that your brother should work in the sales/front-facing side of the business. Your father has asked you to develop a plan that successfully integrates your brother into the public side of the business. However, you do not feel that it is the right thing to do for the business!

Explain your negotiation strategy. Additionally, address the following topics:

  1. Explain why this is a multi-issue negotiation, as well as the benefits of this type of negotiation.
  2. Define your goal or desired outcome for this negotiation.
  3. Explain what you know about your father’s goals or interests concerning the negotiation.
    1. Additionally, list the questions you need to ask to improve your understanding of the other party’s goals and interests.
  4. Discuss any potential issues you believe might arise in this negotiation as a result of your relationship with the other party.
  5. Propose at least two strategies you will employ in the negotiation to help maintain your relationship with this person.

Your paper should be 6-8 pages in length and conform to the APA Requirements. Include at least three scholarly references in addition to the course readings.

Grammar and punctuation are KEY!

Notes:

business colleagues

When negotiating within the context of an important relationship, a negotiator instinctively knows that the approach to the process must differ from what would be appropriate for a negotiation with an unrelated party, with whom he or she may never again have contact. A negotiation with a family member, a significant person in one’s life, a business colleague, or any other person with whom one may have future contact requires more attention to emotions, long-term issues surrounding the negotiation, and the desired outcome.

There are some distinctive aspects of negotiating with a related party. First, the negotiation process may take more time. Since you are hopeful to maintain the relationship, you will tend to spend more time thinking about your responses and the other party’s needs. There may be more concession making, and there may be a time when you and the other party work together to discover a unique solution to a problem (Long-Crowell, 2014).

Second, you will likely take more time to learn about the other party’s interests. Since you wish to maintain the relationship, the other party’s interests are not just information to use against him or her, but are genuinely a related concern for you and your desired outcome (Robbins & Judge, 2009).

Third, the outcome will have a future impact on you and the relationship. For example, imagine that you and a business supplier negotiate over who will pay the check after having lunch at a restaurant. This may seem like a very simple negotiation; however, if you and the business colleague go to lunch together once a month, then picking up the check may become an issue.

Fourth, negotiations between related parties have the propensity to become emotionally charged. Since, as humans, we care deeply about relationships, that extreme feeling of care can spill over into the negotiations as anger, hostility, frustration, or any other strong emotion.

The final distinction of negotiating with a related party is that the negotiation process may never end. The other party may rehash old arguments, or the same issue may arise after you think it has been resolved (Robbins & Judge, 2009).

Relationship Dimensions
In order to examine how we approach negotiations with a related party, we must first understand certain dimensions of relationships. These relationship dimensions are not specific to negotiation processes, but they are relevant to a negotiation between two related parties. There are three very important aspects to a successful relationship:

  • Your reputation
  • Your trustworthiness
  • Your values regarding justice

For a moment, reflect upon an important relationship in your life. Think about how your reputation plays into that relationship. Think about how the other person’s reputation plays into his or her relationship with you. Now, reflect on the issue of trust. You can imagine how the relationship would become very different if you no longer trusted the other person. Finally, reflect on your own sense of what is right and wrong as compared with your perception of the other person’s values regarding what is right and wrong. Do you see that if the other person’s sense of what is right differed vastly from yours, then your relationship would be different? Reputation, trust, and justice are three very important, yet intangible, qualities that affect every relationship, whether personal or business.

Emotions play a much greater role in negotiations with someone we know. Even nonverbal gestures and voice intonations can signal something to the other party and change the process more dramatically than they might when negotiating with an unknown party.

We employ a particular “dance,” or speaking cadence, when communicating with someone with whom we have an ongoing relationship. For example, if you’re telling your mother a funny story about your date last night, you have an idea of what her attention span will be and what questions she may ask. You may leave out details or stress certain aspects of the story. When you tell that same story to your best friend, you use a different “dance.” The story may go on longer and include more details.

We have a learned communication “dance” for each person with whom we regularly communicate. This is a central reason why negotiations between related parties must be managed differently. When we throw a negotiation situation into the regular cadence of the script, we usually end up having to throw the script out the window. Then we find ourselves without a script, doing a scene with someone we know, but trying to act as if we don’t know him or her.

The emotional overtone resulting from the relationship aspect of a negotiation can be used to one’s advantage. In a business relationship negotiation, there is a tendency for one or both parties to say, “It’s just business,” and attempt to separate the business deal from the relationship. However, we instinctively know that good business is built on the relationship aspects of trust, reputation, and justice. Therefore, if the business relationship is ongoing, it may be impossible to separate business from the relationship. Taking the approach that business cannot be separated from the relationship may become your strategy for a successful negotiation. You may agree with the other party that “It’s just business,” but then plan your negotiation as if the relationship were more important. When the related business party feels satisfied with having received a good deal from you, he or she may reciprocate in other ways unrelated to the negotiated issue.

When negotiating with a related party, the information-gathering and information-using stages of planning and implementing also may have emotional implications. Because of this relationship, you may have access to information about the other party that affects the process of the negotiation (Anderson, 2011).

When you are considering negotiating with someone you know, it is always important to remain aware of the effects that this negotiation may have on the ongoing relationship. Because of this awareness, it is entirely possible that you will choose not to negotiate with a related party. If negotiation is unavoidable, however, you will have the tools and strategies to manage the process appropriately in order to maintain the relationship.

3. Relationship Repair

woman on the phone

Sometimes, even with the best of skills and intentions, a relationship may be damaged through the process of negotiation. When this happens, it’s important to know what to do to repair the relationship. Bradberry (2011) defines repair as “a gesture that shows respect and concern for the other despite disagreement” (para. 2).

In this weeks required reading, Moore (2007) suggests the following steps for making repairs to a relationship:

  • Distinguish between true conflicts and false conflicts.
  • Get objectivity.
  • Start on a foundation of sameness.
  • “Beat up” issues, not the people attached to the issues.

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