Please make my draft sound more clear and better, also need proofreading as well.
Words limit = 2500, but does not need to be full 2500.
no citation neededIntroduction
Before I tooked this class, the concept of negotiation was quite vague to me as I thought of it as ?process of resolving conflicts between two or more parties?. Typical negotiations to me were such as salary negotiation or political negotiations. Working as a pharmacist for 3 years, I have tended to focus on achieving pro-social outcomes that not only benefit me but also the other parties in many situations. I feared and worried about portraying the image of selfishness and greediness, and always looked forward to building a trustworthy and accountable relationships with others. As I have very few exposures to negotiations throughout my career, I was hoping to learn strategies and tactics to obtain outcome that maximizes my gain in my professional career and become confident in negotiations.
Class Activity Outcomes
One of the class activities that demonstrate my typical negotiation style was Bradford Development negotiation. As a mayor?s representative, I was aware of the reservation point (the minimum I am willing to consider) of $300,000 because my BATNA (best alternative to negotiation agreement) was $300,000. I also guessed that my opponent does not know about my reservation point as I did not know about hers. However, I did not set my aspiration point (the maximum gain from the negotiation) as my goal was to get any figure above my reservation point since I was not aware whether there is ZOPA (zone of possible agreement). In addition, my opponent took the advantage of anchoring effect as she initially suggested $100,000, which is far below my reservation point. My reaction was to inform her that I would disclose all information with honesty and informed her about my reservation point. She initially said we can have an agreement at $300,000 and I simply asked her to go up higher with my situation and justification. Basically, I gave her all information about my current situation and relied on her empathy. The final agreement was made at $400,000 as a result, which was more favourable to my partner.
New Recruit activity gave me a new insight of multi-issue negotiation. As a new hire, I was aware of my priorities because of the scoring system. Initially, we were going over each item and negotiate based on our own reasonings. However, I figured out that it was not making any progress as both parties were not willing to compromise. Instead, we discussed that we each rank our own priorities and offer better deals to each other while compromising in some areas that were less important. However, I accidentally assumed that all issues were distributive issues and did not realize there were compatible issues. My partner was able to catch this during the negotiation and led the negotiation more favourable to her. Though my aspiration point was to obtain 7000 score, I ended up with only 4600 points that is just slightly above the reservation point of 3000 while my partner finished with a score of 7400. This gave me a valuable lesson that it is crucial to identify my opponent?s interests and priorities without an assumption.
Soccer Solution activity was very similar to New Recruit activity except that it was done through e-mail. Because I was quite familiar with the nature of contract and environment in Soccer, I was able to generate logical reasonings to get higher compensation as a soccer player to persuade my opponent. In addition, non-direct interaction made me feel more comfortable expressing myself compared to other activities. For example, I initially suggested a contract of $1.5mil salary, $1mil signing bonus, and $50k performance bonus, almost two to three times higher terms than my maximum goal. This was quite unusual for me as I usually suggest initial offers with reasonable amount that can be agreed at the first attempt. In short, I was able to secure better outcome in all categories including salary, signing bonus, and performance bonus with a total score of 800, a score well above the reservation point of 500. This activity made me realize that my negotiation style significantly changes depending on a situation and an environment.
HarborCo activity was the most interesting activity as it involved multi-party negotiation. As a HarborCo representative, I had to secure at least 4 votes from 5 members. My initial strategy was to identify potential voters through one-on-one conversation. However, before I had a chance to communicate with each party, they already discussed about their common interests and formed an alliance, making it significantly more difficult for me. I was able to identify priorities for each member but could not secure an agreement that is above my BATNA. I announced to everyone that it was impossible for me to get 4 votes with terms better than my reservation point. This triggered everyone to compromise a little bit and destroyed their alliances. Overall, I was able to make a deal with a score of 62 that was 7 points above my reservation point, an astonishing result given that I expected an impasse in this activity.
One of the main strengths I realized from class activities is that I am a good listener and I maintain my calmness in negotiations. Few of my opponent expressed that the terms I am suggesting were disrespectful and made them upset. I was able to communicate with others that my intention was never to disrespect and their perceptions are likely because we have different data suggesting different directions and potentials. I was able to identify fundamental differences between our analysis and often make an agreement in the middle so both parties have to compromise a little bit without the feeling of unfairness. This was possible because I had a tendency to listen carefully to their arguments and responded to their arguments with language that they could understand. For example, I used the same valuation in Taxoil activity that my opponent was using to make an estimation of the property and I pointed out that the analysis was very off because we have different cashflow projections. Being a good listener, I was frequently able to bring an integrative bargaining opportunities to the table because I could come up with new terms that created value for my opponents.
In addition, my tendency to focus on relationship helped me to obtain an outcome with an agreement more often than an impasse. In all negotiation activities, my pro-social goals usually helped to secure a deal because I put much efforts in establishing good relationships with all parties. Even in the Taxoil activity, my opponent showed an appreciation to my negotiation style even though there was no agreement. My trust-oriented negotiation style was effective in multi-party negotiations as well. I was able to build and maintain coalitions in HarborCo negotiations and show my high commitment with transparency and disclosure of my interest. I also did not use deceptions in any of the activities to portray my honesty and transparency.
Weaknesses and How to improve
Although I was focused to achieve goals above my reservation points, I tended to be satisfied with an outcome that is just a bit above the reservation point, often well below the aspiration points. The problem was that I did not even set an aspiration point in most of the negotiations. I failed to exercise most of the good strategies in distributive negotiation as I sincerely shared my BATNA and reservation points with the partners because I did not know how to protect my BATNA. Furthermore, I was not able to utilize the anchoring effect efficiently because my initial offer focuses on being reasonable rather than making a statement. In all the negotiation activities, my opponent never accepted my initial offer and tried to make me compromise despite my reasonable offers. Because of that, my initial offer did not have strong anchoring effect and my opponent was able to counter my initial offer with more pronounced anchoring effect. One of the most valuable lessons in this class was that promotional goals that target aspiration points tend to result in greater outcome for an individual. As mentioned, I do not even set aspiration goals because my lack of confidence and tendency to focus on fairness in negotiations interfered with me pursuing the aspiration goals. However, I need to always prepare my aspiration goals prior to negotiations and remind myself to focus on aspiration goals because it will maximize my gain at the end. I realized that there still can be an aspiration point even in pro-social style with absolute focus because aspiration point does not necessarily mean unfairness since pro-social aspirational goal brings an outcome with the greater joint gain.
As described in New Recruit activity, I had a tendency to assume that negotiations are distributive bargaining. It is true that many negotiations involve distributive issues, but it is not always the case. Failing to realize that there is a common interest allowed my opponent to take an advantage of the negotiation and led them more favourable results. In addition, I have truthfully shared my priorities with my opponents first, allowing them to compromise very little even in areas with less importance to them. As a result, I performed poorly in most of the tradable negotiations involving both distributive and compatible issues. In order to overcome this, I need to communicate more effectively to identify which terms are distributive and which are compatible. When I can get rid of my assumption and identify the nature of the issues effectively, my negotiation skill will be enhanced with my active listening skills.
Afraid of confronting and discussing conflicts, I compensated more than necessary and compromised quickly without an argument. My opponents showed their emotions in some of the activities and this immediately triggered me to compromise. For example, one of the opponents in International Lodging Merger activity expressed that they feel disrespected and I responded that we could compromise and show more respect though I did not agree with their analysis. I was not able to push for better terms because I focused too much on their satisfaction. Moreover, presence of uncertainties made me more passive and focus on minimum goals. To be come a better negotiator, I need to work on my confidence and be aware that my opponent?s satisfaction is not the main goal of negotiations.
According to the professor, I fall under the prosocial negotiators with absolute orientations. I put my focus on achieving greater integrative outcomes and treating others fairly. I am prone to accept outcomes even when my counterparts get more. However, I am not prone to agreement bias or Winner?s curse as suggested. I always reminded myself what my BATNA and reservation point was and reached to an agreement in all scenarios that has ZOPA. Moreover, I did not worry that I could have gotten a better deal in a negotiation if I secured a deal that was greater than my reservation point. With a tolerance for ambiguity score of 4.33, I was interested to understand my counterpart?s interests. Because I identified my partners? interests effectively, I was successful at finding integrative outcomes in class activities and suggested new possible ways to increase joint gain whenever possible.
I have learned lots of valuable lessons in past few weeks. The negotiation activities in the class involved various types of negotiations and participating in these activities provided me a greater insight compared to learning from a textbook. The professor also analyzed different factors affecting negotiations such as gender, culture, negotiating experience, and negotiating styles, which can be important in negotiations. Being aware of my negotiation style, I now have a clear understanding of my strengths and weaknesses and most importantly, what I can do to improve my negotiation skill. Although it is difficult to implement these learning right away, acknowledging my weakness is the first step for an improvement. Managerial negotiation has provided me the knowledge to become a better negotiation in my career, as I hoped at the beginning of the class.