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by Mohammed Quadir Mohiuddin Faculty of HR IBRI College of Technology Sultanate of Oman Negotiations

Negotiation: Stages in the Negotiation Process :

The following are the stages in the negotiation process. preparation and analysis Presentation Searching for & identifying common ground Concluding the agreement Writing the agreement Negotiation: Stages in the Negotiation Process

The preparation stage:

The size of management team will vary but there are advantages in its being small and of an uneven number. If the team is small, team discipline is easier to maintain The management bargaining team should represent all major interest groups in the business. The leader will be the main spokesperson and principal negotiator and will lead the negotiations. The preparation stage

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The leader will also be responsible for finalizing the agreement on behalf of the management. The negotiating team also requires a note taker whose role, among others, is to record the proposals made by the other party. The team requires a strategist whose role is to monitor the strategy of both sides and identify and seek to confirm the anticipated basis of common ground and constructive compromise for both sides.

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Members of the management team should conduct themselves during the negotiations in line with the agreed positions established in the initial stage. In the meeting, only one member should speak at a time in the bargaining sessions and the team leader should not be interrupted unless it is absolutely necessary. However, all members of the team should be prepared to speak when called upon to do so by the team leader.

Three further stages :

1. Analysis : This involves management’s collecting & analyzing relevant information to substantiate claims to be put to employee’s representatives. 2. Establishing the aims/objectives to be achieved in the negotiating process : By setting the objectives, the negotiators know what they are trying to achieve. Negotiating is about compromise and flexibility, so it is normally unrealistic to set inflexible objectives. 3. Planning the strategy to achieve these aims : This involves: (A). deciding before meeting with the other party who is to speak, in what order and what issues. (B). anticipating the arguments and counter-arguments.   The golden rule to remember when preparing for negotiating is: “Failing to prepare Is Preparing to fail” T hree further stages

Presentation: At the first meeting :

At the first meeting with other party, if the negotiators are unknown to each other, it may be necessary to break the ice by the team’s introducing to each other. If the management is making the initial presentation, the leader of the management delegation first gives a general summary of its case. The first part of the negotiating process involves both parties telling each other what they ideally want from each other. Presentation: At the first meeting

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If the management receives the proposal from its employees representatives, it listens carefully to what they are saying and does not interrupt their presentation. If management is receiving proposal for the first time, its response should be confined to asking questions to seek clarifications of the proposals so that it can be confident that it genuinely understands what those proposals mean . By the end of the presentation stage, both parties will have put to each other their ideal positions. There is unlikely, at this stage, to be much common ground between them.

Identifying common ground:

The emphasis and the tone of the negotiations now switches from concentrating on differences to identifying points of common ground that can form the basis of a possible agreement. Negotiating sessions which do not provide the information needed by the two parties to confirm their anticipated areas of common ground are not a constructive use of time. Confirmation of what is the common ground gives the negotiating session a momentum. Identifying common ground

Concluding the agreement :

Entering this stage of the negotiating process is a matter of timing and judgment. The ability to recognize the best deal that in the circumstances could be reached and will be acceptable is an important skill for the employee relations professional acquire. There are a number of considerations that management should bear in mind when closing the negotiation. First, it must be satisfied that all the issues have been discussed and agreed and that both parties fully understand what they have fully accepted. Second , management has to convince the other party that its final offer is final. Third , management should avoid being rushed into concluding a final agreement, no matter how tempting an offer from the other side sounds. Management must make sure that it has all the information which will enable management negotiating team to examine the final offer and to identify any potential problems that may have gone unnoticed. Concluding the agreement

Writing up the agreement:

Once management has an oral agreement, it should run through a summary of the proceedings with the employees’ representatives, noting precisely what has been agreed and thereafter secure an agreement. The written agreement should state: who are parties to the agreement the date it was concluded the date upon which it will become operative which groups/grades of employees are covered by the agreement the contents of the agreement the duration of the agreement Which other agreements, if any, it replaces. The written agreement should contain the signatures of representatives of the parties covered by the agreement. The agreement is usually drafted by management and then sent to the other party. Only when both sides are happy with the wording, agreement is printed and formally signed. Writing up the agreement

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The best outcome of the negotiating process is one in which both parties make some gains – the so-called win/win situation . The opposite outcome is the lose/lose situation which arises out of a lack of professionalism on the part of the negotiators A third possible outcome is the so-called win/lose situation in which one party dominates the other and secures something from the other without giving anything in return. This outcome is the result of unprofessional negotiation on the part of one or both the parties.

Industrial sanction:

The use of industrial sanction is generally a last resort because it is costly to both sides to impose them on each other. The main sanctions available to the employer are: locking out some or all, of the workforce closing down the factory relocating operations to another side dismissing employees who participate in industrial action Industrial sanction

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The main industrial sanctions that employees can impose on employers are: a ban on overtime working to rule imposing a selective strike calling an all-out strike The threat of the imposition of industrial sanctions can be important in bringing about a reconciliation of the different interests of employers and employees. Employers & employees have to think carefully before imposing or threatening to impose industrial sanctions. To impose sanction that fail to bring further concessions from the other party undermines, at a future date, the credibility of the threat to use them.

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