Negotiating is a communication process in which parties discuss issues, offers, or problems and attempt to reach a solution, resolution or another certain outcome. Negotiations occur every day, in life and in business, formally and informally. Negotiations occurring in everyday life take varying courses due to several factors such as the style of negotiation being employed, the stakes involved in the conflict issue, the strategies adopted by the negotiators and the mediators among others. There are different negotiation strategies and styles, such as positional bargaining, positional bargaining, principled negotiations (integrative negotiations), competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding and accommodating and so on (Lewicki, Barry and Saunders, 2011). All these style and strategies hinge on the negotiator having strong communication skills and using the right non-verbal cues.
Communicating is much more difficult than one would imagine as a child. In fact, communicating effectively is a skill set that requires an investment in time, learning and practice. It is particularly crucial for an effective business negotiation, where to reach a successful outcome there is little to no room for communication breakdowns and misunderstandings (Lewicki, Barry and Saunders, 2011). In order to reach successful outcomes there ought to be positive nonverbal communication cues, active listening and emotional intelligence, along with the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of the person you are communicating with.
In business negotiations, nonverbal communications can actually be more important than anything that is said. The subtle movements of hand, legs, eyes and the facial expressions could be the key to realizing a solution or the very aspect that leads to an impasse (Powell, 1999). It is of critical importance that negotiators take heed of the non-verbal cues that they give to their counterparts during negotiations. Once all these factors are in place, it is possible to resolve a conflict of any magnitude regardless of the stakes involved.
Ethical and unethical conduct during business negotiations are influenced by the uncertainty of the situation, the levels of power, stakes and interests, the objectives and the personalities of the negotiators. In addition, the orientation given to the negotiators from the beginning of the conflict resolution process or a general negotiation on shareholding and other business issues also affects the ethics or lack thereof that comes onto play during a negotiation (Lewicki, Barry and Saunders, 2011).
There are outright unethical behaviors that ought not to be applied during negotiations. Being rude, lying, being deception and bluffing precipitate the collapse of many negotiations. Bluffing refers to pretending to have the capability or resources which one does not actually have (Chu, 1999). Such unethical behavior is meant to advance the interests of one party at the expense of the others. Other form of unethical conduct during negotiations includes telling half-truths, having hidden agendas, exaggerating facts, and interrupting when other parties are making their remarks.
Ethical conduct is characterized by honesty, openness, fairness, clarity, truthfulness, trustworthiness, and giving other people a chance to be heard. Ethical conduct also entails maintaining politeness throughout the negotiations, and respecting the opinions of other people even if one does not agree with them. Most of these issues are applicable in both verbal and non-verbal communication settings. The verbal aspects may be more pronounced and capable of being judged as either ethical or unethical. For instance, a speaker who raises their voice is out rightly judged as unethical.
Non verbal aspects such as failure to maintain eye contact or fidgeting act may not be judged as either ethical or unethical on their own but they support heavily the determination of critical issues such as honesty or lying which help in the resolution of the issue at hand.
The following case study of how the negotiations between Samsung and Apple led to an impasse shows that the parties could have resolved their differences outside a courtroom.
In May 2012, Apple and Samsung offered lessons on high-profile negotiations between companies. Apple CEO Tim Cook and his Samsung counterpart Gee-Sung Choi met with a judge from the US district Court of Northern California in order to iron out contentious issues in a patenting issue. The patenting case pitting the two technology giants started in April 2011 when Apple filed a lawsuit accusing Samsung of copying the “look and feel” of its iconic iphones when Samsung was creating its galaxy line of phones. Samsung also sued Apple stating that the US-based company was not paying royalties for using Samsung’s wireless transmission technology. This complicated case could have set the standard for settling patenting disputes out of courts but it did not and the parties ended in court. The determination the two CEO’s showed in reconsidering settling the cases out of court sets a good example of how negotiations can step in to help solve cases that are not as complicated as the Samsung-Apple case.
The two companies agreed to reduce by half the number of patenting cases and other violations that each had brought against the other. In the initial states of the negotiations, there was a lot of conflict. At some point Apple filed a motion asking the courts to stop Samsung from selling its Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 on grounds that the new phone was a mirror design of Apple’s second-generation iPad. However, in time, the two companies concentrated on how they were mutually dependent on each other for business. For instance, Samsung is one of Apple’s biggest suppliers and the resolution of their differences in a court of law could have punished one party and this could have adversely affected business between them.
The magnitude of the disputes led the parties to take hard-line stands and the negotiation ended in vain with the two sides refusing to compromise on their original arguments. The case went to full trial with Apple winning more than $409 million.
There are numerous lessons in negotiation from the high-profile case. First, there are minimal chances of negotiation succeeding as a dispute resolution mechanism when the conflicting parties issue counteraccusations against each other. Moreover, when conflicting parties seek to benefit themselves without regard to the mutual benefits they obtain from each other then negotiation may not work (Lewicki, Barry and Saunders, 2011). Parties ought to be actively involved in finding a solution that favors each of them and when one has to pay say for damages, the payments should be justified as well as any disciplinary actions that may ensue.
The search for a common solution is usually tedious and demanding. When parties have spent considerable amounts of time, money and energy in order to seek solutions to their disputes, they feel indebted to obtain the solution than to quit. They feel that they have invested too much for them to give up on the intended outcome and this pushed them on the ultimate solution . As such, negotiations should be characterized by structured debates and milestones to be achieved at numerous stages in order to encourage the participants not to give up debating.
On the other hand, when the conflicting parties concentrate on their differences, and the contentious issues they tend to draw further apart. There is minimal cooperation and the outcome of the negotiation usually ends up in an impasse. Usually when parties are seeking to have their way in a negotiation rather than build on the areas of common interest, there is plenty of non-verbal communication that goes on (Chu, 1999). Although it is difficult to judge what a person is thinking from a single gesture, repeated actions offer evidence on what someone is thinking. For instance when someone is avoiding eye contact, fidgeting and holding their hands across the mouth it means that they are insincere or they are not comfortable with negotiations or they are being dishonest (Chu, 1999). It is probable that in the negotiations between Apple and Nokia, non-verbal communication worked against the resolution of the patenting disputes. Apple’s CEO could have acted in contempt of his Samsung counterpart by presuming Samsung guilty of infringing on a patent. This is so because, in spite of there being solid grounds for the resolution of the dispute such as mutual business reliance, the negotiations collapsed.
The study of nonverbal, behavior evident in high-profile negotiations where a lot is at stake ought to consider the behaviors in categories or clusters. The four broad categories are face and head, body, hands, and legs. Hands are especially critical in non-verbal communication because they can make numerous conspicuous movements such as folding hands, opening palms, swinging hands, touching clothes and objects as well as touching other parts such as nose, chin, ear, and arm (Powell, 2013).
Once the non-verbal communications has been addressed, the negotiators ought to check on how each of them pushes to achieve a win-win situation. In this case each negotiator seeks to maximize their value claim while also aiming to create more value for their opponents. The result is more cooperation which leads to the forging of more long-term agreements that are based on goodwill and mutual trust. For instance, in the negotiations between Samsung and Apple, the two parties already trade with each other on some components and a furtherance of the same could see them dominate them dominate the high-tech devices market. However, the furtherance of gaps between them as was occasioned by the hefty fines imposed on Samsung could see the current trade deals between them come to an end. This in the long run leads to intense competition which may impact negatively on the two market leaders.
Negotiating is a communication process in which parties discuss issues, offers, or problems and attempt to reach a solution, resolution or another certain outcome. There are different negation strategies and styles, such as positional bargaining, positional bargaining, principled negotiations (integrative negotiations), competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding and accommodating. In all the role of communication in either verbal or non-verbal communication remains supreme. Verbal communication becomes easier to handle with the ethical and unethical issues about the speakers becoming evident. However, nonverbal communication which entails subtle movements of hand, legs, eyes and the facial expressions could be the key to realizing a solution or the very aspect that leads to an impasse. The high profile negotiations between Samsung and Apple in which the former accused the latter of infringing on a patent collapsed in spite of the two companies collaborating businesswise on some areas. It is probable that non-verbal cues given out during the negotiations showing contempt ad presumptions of guilt as well as failure to back down on demands led to the collapse of the negotiations.
Lewicki, J. R., Barry, B., & Saunders, M. D. (2011). Essentials of Negotiation (5th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill
Chu, Y. (1999). Silent messages in negotiation: A descriptive study of negotiators' perceptions of the role of nonverbal communication in multi-national business negotiations (Order No. 1393614). Available from ABI/INFORM Complete; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (304585240). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.csuglobal.idm.oclc.org/docview/304585240?accountid=38569
PON Staff. (2015, November 22). Examples of Negotiation in Business: Apple and Samsung Offer a Case Study of Successful Dispute Resolution. Retrieved January 27, 2016, from http://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/business-negotiations/apple-v-Samsung-an-example-of-negotiation-in-business-gone-bad/
PON Staff. (2015, December 22). Improve Your Negotiations Skills. Body Language in Negotiations Process and Beyond. Harvard Law School. Retrieved January 27, 2016, from from: http://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/negotiation-skills-daily/negotiation-techniques-and-body-language-body
Powell, B. E. I.,II. (2013). Affecting communication outcomes: An examination of how leaders affect organizational outcomes through verbal and nonverbal cues (Order No. 3734717). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1738629517). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.csuglobal.idm.oclc.org/docview/1738629517?accountid=3856