Negotiations has always played a significant role in the history of humankind. Sometimes negotiations helped to prevent war, in other cases the result was the opposite. Nowadays there are many psychological books about how to conduct negotiations to get a deserved result and how to avoid mistakes, as well as there are many fiction books where an author describes negotiations. With the appearance of cinematography, directors as well as screenplay writers tend to show the process of negotiations. This essay is devoted to one of such movies. “The Godfather” (1974) was shot by Coppola. The movie has many scenes of negotiations. However, in my opinion, the most famous if the scene of negotiations between Don Corleone and Turk. In this essay I will analyze the negotiations and suggest the mistakes made by the parties.
In this snippet of the movie "The Godfather", we have an excellent opportunity to observe the negotiations between the aggressor and the virtuoso. Sollozzo refers to the type of "aggressor" Don Corleone - "Virtuoso". There are several stages in negotiations. The first step in any negotiation is gathering information about the opponents. The progress of negotiations depends on this very stage. Professional negotiator will never sit at the negotiating table without any information about the other side. Solozzo, who used force model of negotiations, is set to the fastest and categorical presentation of own resource. It is remarkable how the negotiations started: Solozzo was rather aggressive and began the negotiations saying that he was looking for the person who has powerful friends. Moreover, he asked for a million in cash, as well as politicians who were in touch with Don Corleone.
A clear formulation of its objectives, coupled with a strong energy and promise in his voice gave the impression Solozzo as a person who is accustomed to command and control. Voice and volitional emphasis in speaking is on personal pronouns (I, me, for me) is working on creating an impression of the strength of the resource. Style of presenting arguments of Solozzo is completely cleared of unnecessary information. Its power resources Solozzo outlines very specifically and in a slightly cynical manner. This style indicates a high level of self-confidence speaking, excessive ambition, management experience. The way how Solozzo behaves and manages the space around him, his way of sitting in a chair, throw his head as if to look down at the opponent means the same.
On the contrary, Don Corleone seized control of the negotiations with the counter-question, having asked about the interest of his family. After Solozzo’s answer, Don Corleone asked a question that indicates his awareness and thorough preparation for these negotiations. He was interested in Tattaglia family. This question aims to show the aggressor that one is also able to negotiate a power model with a faster and attacking opponent tough questions. If Don Corleone started asking a series of questions clarifying the essence of thing, then the opponent would regard this as a weakness.
As a counter which has set the goal to gain time, Solozzo used business tactics to compliment against Don Corleone and his son Tom in particular. The subtext of a compliment: I see you are well prepared to negotiate, respect you and realize that I was dealing with professionals. Solozzo showed that he was impressed by their preparation and respected it.
Don Corleone standed up resolutely crosseed the room to the center line, coming to the table with a drink (controlling the space around him), took the bottle, poured a glass of wine presented by Solozzo while pronouncing the next move. And thus preparing the ground for refusing the offer of the opponent. Don Corleone used several techniques in several simple sentences. He said that he greatly respected Turk (a compliment); however, he had to deny the offer and was going to explain the reasons (a polite refusal with presenting reasons for it). Failure in these negotiations beautifully wrapped in a coverage of respect for the opponent. Plus, explaining the reasons for its refusal, Don Corleone makes it clear that his refusal is due to reasons beyond his objective reasons ("drugs is a messy business, politicians do not want to get dirty in this, I cannot lose their trust") which he, Don Corleone, cannot affect.
In my opinion, both Don Corleone and Solozzo conducted negotiations according to all the diplomatic rules. There is nothing to add. However, it was a Don Corleone’s mistake to take Sonny to the negotiations. He was too young to participate. On the contrary, Solozzo did not gather enough information about Don Corleone’s principles. If he would, he would not have offered drug selling to the Godfather. The negotiations were of high quality: the parties did not threaten each other. However, it was obvious that there is a message behind every word. However, to improve the negotiations, the parties could have been open to each other. The point is that the negotiations led to the war between families. The point is that the Turk knew that Don Corleone would, probably, refuse his offer. As it always happens, Don Corleone unacceptance of the offer was the reason to start the war. Although, the negotiations were of high quality and the parties used the necessary psychological techniques, it did not stop the war.
Browne N. (2000) Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” trilogy. Cambridge University Press
Cummins D. (2010) Universal principles and practical advice. Retrieved from http://forthedefense.org/articles/2010/09_September/FTD-1009-Cummins.pdf
Rudy A. S. (Producer) Coppola F. F. (Director). (1972). The Godfather. Pramount Pictures