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What are Integrative Negotiations and Its Characteristics

Negotiation is the process of making joint decisions when the parties involved in negotiation have different and opposing preferences. Negotiation has special significance in situations of conflict, whether it is the conflict between union and management in organizations or between countries such as China and Japan where negotiations may be required to resolve the conflict over the disputed island.

Integrative Negotiations

Conflicts and disagreements are likely to arise in work settings over such diverse matters as wages, performance evaluation, working conditions, job assignments, work schedules and so on.

In any type of negotiation, two important goals must be considered. One goal involves substance and others involves relationships. Reaching agreement on wage increases would be the achievement of substance goals. The relationship goal deals with the outcomes that relate to how well the negotiating parties are able to work with each other, once the negotiation process has been concluded.

Negotiation Strategies

Many different strategies of negotiation have been put forward by theorists and practitioners, but they generally follow one of the two approaches. One is known as the ‘distributive negotiation’, and the other is known as the ‘integrative negotiation’.

The distributive negotiation is a zero-sum game in which parties are in a state of competition, whereby each party seeks dominance over the other and tries to maximize its own self-interests. Since the self-interest is to get the most out of the available resources and since the pool of the available resources is fixed, whatever one party wins, the other party must lose.

Integrative negotiation, . is a collaborative model in which the parties seek to expand the range of possible outcomes and thereby maximize their individual benefits by shoring in the collective efforts and results. For example, a union may get better wages and in response may produce more in terms of quantity and quality. In such a situation, both the union as well as the management wins.

Characteristics of Integrative Negotiations

Integrative negotiation is a process in which the negotiating parties jointly work towards goals that are not mutually exclusive so that one party does not necessarily gain at the expense of the other. The approach of the parties is to work together to find out ways to utilize the resources in the best possible manner for the benefit of both parties. They engage in problem-solving jointly to arrive at a mutual agreement that maximizes the benefit to each party.

Integrative negotiation has two aspects to it. One is the substantive part that includes tangible issues to be discussed and negotiated. The other aspect is the intrinsic value in the agreement, which may be long-term cordial relationship between the parties or other benefits to both parties not directly related to the substance of the issues involved. Thus, it has an important dimension of building relationships.

The foundations for gaining truly integrative agreements rest on the following elements:

  • Supportive Attitudes

A supportive attitude requires that each party must be willing sincerely to trust the other party. This trust is based upon moral and ethical dimensions. Second, each party must be willing to share all relevant information with the other party, openly and honestly.

  • Behavioral Foundations

It is very important for the parties not to be emotional or personal. They must focus on issues and interests and not on positions and positions should be modified when necessary. The parties should avoid making premature judgments and should be willing to objectively look at the views offered by each party.

  • Information Foundation

These foundations involve each party becoming familiar with the ‘best alternative to a  negotiated agreement’ or  BATNA. This means that each party must know and be prepared for an alternative in case a settlement is not reached. It is important for each party to know what any other methods the opposing party will pursue in case the negotiations fail.

Not knowing the other party’s values and approach could put one party in a weaker position. If any of the two parties has a better alternative to a negotiated settlement, such a party would be in a stronger position. Accordingly, it is necessary to have as much information about the other party’s plans as possible.

See also  Characteristics of Negotiation and Steps of Negotiation Process

About Sonia Kukreja

I am a mother of a lovely kid, and an avid fan technology, computing and management related topics. I hold a degree in MBA from well known management college in India. After completing my post graduation I thought to start a website where I can share management related concepts with rest of the people.