Negotiations – Basic Categorization

Negotiations are an integral and common part of our lives; we get involved in negotiations many times during a regular day sometimes not even noticing that. We negotiate with other drivers when changing lanes on a highway, with kids when picking a channel on TV, with boss when asking for a vacation, and of course with offshore vendors almost every step along the way of an offshoring engagement.

There are many different forms of negotiation and many forms of communications that might appear or be considered negotiations but in fact are not. So let me put a basic categorization in place:

Dictating is a form of communication that has hardly something in common with negotiations as it typically “one-sided”:

  • One party has a power of the other(s).
  • Often the party that is being dictated to has nothing to gain from the agreement.
  • Typically one party makes the decision.
  • You may consider dictating your decision when there is not alternative communication means, interestingly enough that would be rather unusual situation.
  • In offshore engagement dictating as a method of communications should be only considered in a corner case situation such as when the parties are under tremendous time pressure.

Influencing is a form of communication that is by far better way of enforcing one’s opinion than dictating. Influencing doesn’t equal negotiations, it is often used as one of the negotiation techniques.

  • Typically one party has a power of the other(s)
  • Depending on situation and reasons behind influencing the party that is being influenced may have nothing to gain from the agreement.
  • Typically one party makes the decision.
  • Influencing is an exceptionally powerful way of getting what you want; there are many techniques of influencing worth stand alone discussion.
  • In offshore engagement influencing can be used in many dimensions and situations, in particular as one of techniques in the negotiation processes, especially if the parties are far apart and time pressure is manageable.

Violent Agreement is an all too common form of communications. It is amazing how often you see violent agreement discussions on variety of topics. In general violent agreement has little to do with negotiations besides the fact that it is often a part of those…

  • Both parties agree on the approach but not aware of it.
  • Agreement is not recognized or not apparent.
  • Typically there is an implied need for a discussion that keeps parties involved.

Haggling is a basic form of negotiations. I use this term to highlight somewhat primitive nature of the process. At the same time haggling is the “mother” of all negotiation techniques, rules and processes.

  • Typically there is give and take from both sides.
  • Haggling often have unrealistic low and high asks.
  • Typically related to something very specific, like money.
  • Most often haggling is single-threaded – involves a single topic / resource.
  • Haggling is common for offshore negotiations, all too typical I’d say. Most commonly it is related to rate. Often a very primitive rude form of haggling emerges from professional negotiation gone sour. Sometimes it stays disguised as win-win-negotiations sometimes the parties do not bother to pretend. In any case

Win-win negotiations is an ultimate form of business negotiations also known as “building value” negotiation approach. I will put a stand alone post or a couple on WWN in a near future.

  • Finding a way for both parties to gain something from an agreed upon solution.
  • Typically both parties have something to gain.
  • Often used in circumstances where both parties have approximately same level of power.
  • WWN is one of the best ways to address any complex negotiations.
  • In offshore relationship WWN approach could be used in almost every aspect of relationship, with negotiation of the outsourcing agreement being a great example.

In real business life negotiations often fall somewhere between pure forms of haggling and WWN and borrow some elements from other communication forms.

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One thought on “Negotiations – Basic Categorization

  1. I have written up a couple posts about ‘The Negotiator’ on my blog you might enjoy.

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