Fixed pie concept
The fixed pie assumption suggests that often in negotiations parties perceive their interests as diametrically opposed, thus behaving like they “fight for a pie of the fixed size”. Not being able to see the possible trade offs in the situation, participant treat the problem as a pie, which can be taken only by one party. Such approach inhibits the ability of the parties to achieve mutual benefits and hinders the capability to find creative solutions. That is why many negotiations reach an impasse, and not being able to search for tradeoffs, but concentrating on reaping the most individual benefit.
In the discussion about the use of embryonic stem cells for a research project, the participants take positions along either religious or ethical lines. The fact that the issue is quite emotional, therefore it makes it hard to appeal to factual information. Therefore, an alternative method should be sought in order to break the impasse in the negotiations. In such situations it is possible to use “The Triangle of Satisfaction” model, developed in order to resolve the conflict situation. “The Triangle of Satisfaction” includes three parameters, which define the interest f the negotiating parties: procedural (Process), psychological (emotion) and substantive (result). Careful consideration of the underlying reason of the conflict based on the three dimensions of the Triangle of Satisfaction will help to resolve them in a more structured way. Thus, in the stem cells debate both parties may have psychological reasons for their points of view; however, the key misunderstanding does not lie in the procedure of the stem cells use, but on the emotional attitude towards embryonic stem cells. Therefore, it is necessary to establish that neither procedural (the way stem cells can be obtained) nor substantial reasons provoke the conflict. Emotional factors, on the other hand, hamper conflict resolutions and slow down the process of finding a consensus.
Furlong, G. (2005). The conflict resolution toolbox: models and maps for analyzing,
diagnosing and resolving conflict. Mississauga, the United States of America: John
Wiley& Sons, Inc.