Individual reflective journal,,

 

 

 

 

 

Individual Reflective Journal
Cross-Cultural Negotiation and Management

 

 

Part 1- Reflection on first three Negotiation

Negotiation is an integral part of our lives that we should always learn to inherently live with it since it influences every aspect of our lives on daily basis. However, it is regarded as a system of communication in which parties exceeding two or two come together with each other with an aim of reaching to a certain point of decision making process. Moreover, in major issues negotiations are undoubtedly with seeking for their solutions in case they arise at the times where people involved in the communication to look for the resolution of their issues are from very distinct cultural backgrounds (Hutchinson and Allen, 1997). However, when involved in any negotiation it proves that you have accomplished or attained its goals is actually when all the parties involved in the negotiation are fully satisfied with the agreement arrived at. In addition, when involved in a negotiation there always the need to develop new ideas and strategies that enables the team to have the strongest points that will ensure winning over the negotiation (McCormick and White, 2000).

Within the duration of five weeks ranging from week 7 to week 11 we managed to perform various negotiations out of which only three of them will be discussed in details. However, two of the negotiation involved face to face meetings while the third one was an e-negotiation meaning it was carried out through emails. The first negotiation that we conducted involved selling a car to a group of customers where our group played the role of the seller. However, in this kind of negotiation it was very casual mainly because the deal involved a product that was actually high involving meaning strong relationship did not need to be built. Hence, the use of distributive bargaining technique was highly recommendable since it involved a win-lose situation for the both groups that were engaging in the negotiations in order to ensure that the deal made suited the demands and requirements of both groups.

The price that was proposed by our group was $12,500. However, after managing to convince the buyer group about the design and the features of the car they were highly pleased about it and hence the negotiations were going on exemplary well. However, at first  the buyer group began by giving us a clear indication that they were not so much interested in having the car at that moment,  a strategy  they had  applied in order to ensure that we lowered down the price to a point where they were satisfied (Moon, 1999). This had prompted us make some concessions but when it came to the price negotiations the buyer group had no enough money. However, after extensive negotiations we managed to arrive at a solution whereby we settled at a higher price of $13000 mainly because the selling mode had to change from cash to down payment and credit purchase. Hence, we agreed to take the $10000 money which they had in cash as the down payment while the remaining $3000 would be payed in six fixed instalments of $500 every month meaning that the payment of the car would be settled after six months. Agreeing to the requirements of the customers (buyer group) made the negotiation more favourable thereby making them  to get trust and confidence in us, that is, the selling group (Lewicki et al., 2006). However, the style of conflict management that we used was Collaborate(High Self, High Other) since the issues were very important to be easily compromised and also our group wanted to get  commitment from the buyer group. This was however, the best style to approach the issue which  seemed somewhat complex.

 

The second negotiation was actually one of the most interesting since it involved online negotiation and we were not in a position to feel or see each other since we were actually in parts of the world that were  completely opposite. However, the email was an important mode through which the negotiation was likely to take the full advantage of  the available technology while at the same time helping in providing a brief biography of all the participants who were participating in the negotiation thereby leading to building of rapport. Moreover, the negotiations were a distributive bargaining involving a win-lose negotiations whereby one group intends to win while making the other to lose.

Hence, neither we nor they had any will to sacrifice the defeat. Therefore, the negotiations were carried out through a simulated e-mail between HHA and BFM. However, the aim of the negotiation was to reach a common ground on a deal for clothes production in the year 2010 to 2011 summer season.  The negotiations between the two groups were done through communication from distinct computer labs strictly through e-mail. This was actually a clear indication that distance is no longer a restriction for doing business (McNiff, Lomax and Whitehead, 1996). However, the negotiations went on exemplary well whereby I managed to learn importance of E-negotiation since it allows parties to effectively communicate from any part on earth which goes a long way in saving the parties’ time since they do not have to meet face to face to conduct a negotiation leading to an agreement (Noronha & Kerstin, 1999). However, an integrative type of negotiation was used since both parties were supposed to gain benefits from the agreement (Spoelstra and Pienaar, 1999). Finally, it was no possible to achieve a deal with the BFM Company since they insisted on $5 more on every piece an amount of money that would be very much considering we wanted 16000 pieces.  Thus it was not possible to reach a deal since BFM was not  flexible and  always insisted that without $5 more on every piece it would not be possible to achieve an agreement.  However, the best style of conflict management which could have been used is  Avoid(Low Self, Low Other) since the issues were so much trivial hence both groups needed to cool down. Also the other group was not in a position to understand that we had given them enough time which eventually became the main reason as to why we did not make a deal with them.

The third negotiation was the final one which we were involved in and it was actually the most difficult negotiation since it involved multiple parties and various issues of discussion hence it required the development of multiple strategies. In fact we used the collaborate style of conflict management in our negotiations mainly because the issues were very  important  for  any group to compromise. However, it was time consuming and the most well placed style of negotiation that was likely to address our issues that were complex effectively. This is because the negotiation involve our group, Bestbooks Representative and Paige Tumer. My group emerged the winner of the negotiation after accumulation of the overall points that were scored by each group on every aspect of the negotiation. However, in order to ensure effective negotiation an amicable resolution of conflicts we managed to use a paper for collecting all the points in the multiple aspects involved in the negotiation (Heavrin & Carrell, 2008).

Part 2- Observation of team meetings and dynamic decision

During the negotiations we held three meetings whereby each meeting session lasted for three hours. However, the group consisted of people from different cultural backgrounds which required embracing of cultural diversity during the meetings (Scanlon and Chemomas, 1997). In addition, during our first meeting we discussed about  the subject of  negotiation whereby every member of the group was supposed  to take part and focus  it. However, the second meeting  involved  negotiations  about what each of the group members  found and embarked on the process of improving all the parts with an  aim of making them  coherent  while  during  the  third meeting we conducted  a rehearsal  for the negotiations. Additionally, the negotiation theories that we applied involved the structural approach theory whereby  the outcome of the negotiations were undoubtedly a function of characteristics  as well  as the  structural features of our group including the number of parties which  would be involved in the negotiations  as  well  as the issues that were to be discussed. Moreover, the behavioural approach theory would  also play  a crucial role in the negotiations due to the role of the individual characteristics  and negotiators personalities in determining the outcome of the negotiation. We analysed every aspect of the discussion subject which led to an understanding of the information about the subject by considering all the involved factors as well as searching for information through the internet (McCrindle and Christensen, 1995).

However, we worked towards organizing and understanding and the aspects involved in the case in the preparation towards developing an appropriate plan. In addition, adequate preparation for the negotiation is always a very critical factor which lays the foundation for an effective and successful negotiation (Noronha and Kersten, 1999). Hence, during our meetings we managed to set some key objectives in preparation for the negotiation. Thus, our objectives were set at the points where it was possible to reach a compromise, considering the possible alternatives that could be afforded for the original goal. Also the position of the counterparts was considered, their primary objectives, the reason why they were negotiating, the resources that were at their disposal as well as their possible alternatives (Reardon, 2004). These meetings allowed conducting of the preliminary analysis which led to a lot of unexpected questions which were very crucial in adding to our goal’s common understanding and the potential negotiation challenges. During these we  evaluated  the strategic  approach theory negotiation which  greatly helped us to determine the possible roles the means such as the power in negotiations as well as the role of goals (ends) would both play towards determining the outcome of the negotiation. This would help us in maximising our gains in the negotiations (Noronha and Kersten, 1999).

Part 3 – Plan for Final Negotiation

After the preparations we started planning on the  agenda points  that we wanted  to negotiate on and in addition to the distribution of tasks among us we also unanimously agreed on developing a strategic plan which was crucial in enabling facilitation of various negotiation as well as a quick decision making skills in conjunction with assigning different roles to every member of our group who participated in the negotiation. This was crucial since having a strategic plan put in place was vital in helping us to clearly identify the targets that are likely to be achieved where all the group members were supposed to follow a specific concrete path (Riley-Doucet and Wilson, 1997).

Hence, we divided the work among ourselves prior to negotiations according to specific tasks which included the President and Vice President, Human Resources representative, public relations  and IT  representative and financial. Assigning the roles equally to group members in advance was vital in helping all the group members in understanding their sense of responsibility which led to them contributing whole heartedly since they had conducted a thorough research on their allocated roles (Bangert & Pirzada, 1992).  In addition, we finalised with the contract and included the plan that we had  prepared on our agenda beside designing business cards as  well as the presentation which I was to  conduct..

I was the human resources representative of my group meaning that my position was undoubtedly the most sensitive within the group due to  the fact that there were 3000 workers  that company the company want to lay off.  Besides I was also supposed to keenly focus on the  number of Chinese engineers who we  to train will train a factor which prompted me to do extensive research on my points as well as  collecting adequate information beside what the group was doing.

Thus, I had to ensure that my points were  convincingly enough to persuade our negotiating partners to reach an agreement. Hence, they included that the priority of human lives was of crucial significance considering the deaths that on the ground mines which was more than that occurred in some wars leading to pressure  from the Chinese government to embark on reduction of these deaths. In addition, the main aim of my  work as a human resource representative is keep just the staff we need and not more, so the 1000 workers we would be left with were just enough for us to effectively carry out our duties adequately after closing of underground  mines  considering that technology would replace the workers who will be laid off mostly those involved in the dangerous work (Noronha and Kersten, 1999). Moreover, despite attempting to keep the workers alive we would also increase the efficiency of the 1000 workers representing our need.

However, my opinion was starting  the negotiations with at least 20 engineers offer concessions which we would gradually increase to 75 and then 100 engineers if my group succeeded in winning the negotiations to close 40 mines and get at least 60% of the profits. The theory that was mainly  applied is the   strategic approach of negotiations whereby the roles of our goals (ends) would play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the negotiations (Noronha and Kersten, 1999). In addition, concession  exchange (processual)  approach theory was another theory which would greatly influence the outcome of the negotiation since our group opted  to offer concessions o the engineers training and also the negotiations were progressing gradually from one step to another.

Part 4-Reflections on the final negotiation

The last negotiation was conducted during the last week of the trimester meaning that it had the allocation of the highest grades therefore it was undoubtedly very challenging as well as important for both groups to ensure that they put up with the best of their efforts to win over the battle (Schon, 1987). However, the strategic plan we had put in place was crucial in facilitating the assigning of authorities and responsibilities within the group which ensured the negotiations went on smoothly. However, since both the groups were adequately prepared from their previous experiences, it was highly appropriate to have a win-win negotiation whereby all the groups get satisfied with the result instead of win-lose which results to some of the teams getting dissatisfied (Amanatullah, Morris and Curhan, 2008).

However, the negotiation begun by introducing ourselves and the other group followed suit after which the human resources representative raised the issue of us wanting to lay off workers on their behalf. Hence, I as the human resources representative of my group I emphasised on the importance of saving peoples’ lives without necessarily putting money first considering 5700 people had died in the previous year.  After that the negotiations  started and went on until group finally offered 30 mines and thereby getting 60 per cent of the profits together with training 100 Chinese engineers a well as giving them $5 million for the railway.

However, the other group wanted to impose their views upon us so as to  accept the  three offer which  they  had presented  to us without further  negotiations meaning we were strictly supposed to pick one offer among those three. This indicated a total ignorance of the rules of negotiations through their disrespect to the other negotiating partner whose after failing to  reach an agreement with them decided to retrieve the gifts which they had given  to the president of our company. The other group however used the avoid (low self, low other) style of conflict management  when they realised the issues were more trivial and there were no  chances of them winning. The main theories of negotiations that can be applied into this scenario are the structural approach theory and the behavioural approach theory of negotiation, both of which are influences the outcome of a negotiation through the characteristics of the negotiators and the involved structural features such as the number of parties involved and the issues of discussion (Bangert & Pirzada, 1992). This is mainly because poor understanding of the process of negotiations by the other negotiating group led to the failure of achieving a deal.

Conclusion

As a result of the numerous negotiations that took place throughout  the course I have been able to learn and develop a variety of skills that a crucial in negotiations such as strategic management, group dynamics, planning, effective and strong communication of roles as well as responsibilities and of great significance the ability to work in a mixed culture teams. Finally, the skills and knowledge I have gained from this project will greatly help me at developing strong marketing strategies to enable me to be in a position to effectively conduct business at international level with clients from varied backgrounds. 

REFERENCES

Amanatullah, E. T., Morris, M. W., and Curhan, J. R., 2008, Negotiators Who Give Too Much: Unmitigated Communion, Relational Anxieties, and Economic Costs in Distributive and Integrative Bargaining, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 95, pp 723-738

Bangert, D. C., and Pirzada, K., 1992, Culture and Negotiation, The International Executive, vol. 34, no. 1, pp 43

Heavrin, C., and Carrell, M., 2008, Negotiating Essentials: Theory, Skills, and Practices, New York: Pearson Education, pp 41-43

Hutchinson, D.J. and Allen, K.W., 1997, “The reflection integration model: a process for facilitating reflective learning”, The Teacher Educator, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 226-34.

Lewicki, R. J., Barry, B., and Saunders, D. M., 2006, Essentials of negotiation, McGraw-Hill/Irwin

Noronha, S., and Kersten, G., 1999, WWW-based negotiation support: design, implementation and use. A Decision Analysis and Support Project, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Luxemburg, Austria

McCormick, D.W., and White, J., 2000, Using oneself as an instrument for organizational diagnosis. Organization Development Journal, vol. 18 no. 3, pp. 49-62.

McCrindle, A.R. and Christensen, C.A., 1995, “The impact of learning journals on metacognitive and cognitive processes and teaming performance”, Learning and Instruction, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 167-85.

McMullan, W., and Cahoon, A., 1979, “Integrating abstract conceptualizing with experiential learning”, Academy of Management Review, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 453-458.

McNiff, J., Lomax, P., & Whitehead, J., 1996, You and your action research project. London: Routledge.

Moon, J., 1999, Learning journals: A handbook for academics, students and professional development. London: Kogan Page.

Reardon, K.K., 2004, The skilled negotiator: mastering the language of engagement, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Riley-Doucet, C. and Wilson, S., 1997, “A three-step method of self-reflection using reflective learning journal writing”, Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 25, pp. 964-8.

Scanlon, J.M. and Chemomas, W.M., 1997, “Developing the reflective teacher”, Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 25 no. 5, pp. 1138-43.

Schon, D.A., 1987, Educating the Reflective Practitioner. Toward a New Design for Teaching and Learning in the Professions. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Spoelstra, M. and Pienaar, W., 1999, Negotiation: Theories, Strategies and Skills, 2nd edn. New York: Juta Academic.

 

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