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Conflict Resolution

Negotiation is a process of communication between the parties to achieve their goals, in which each party has equal opportunity to monitor the situation and decision. In a narrow sense, it is regarded as one of the methods of the alternative conflict resolution. In a broader sense, the negotiations are the communication interaction between people or social groups. In the process of communication there is an exchange of different kinds of information between the participants of communication.

The specialists in conflicts define two types of negotiations: the ongoing conflict in relationships and in terms of cooperation. Conflict resolutions trainings teach that both types of negotiations are very important in conflict resolutions to achieve the success.

At the same time talks focused on cooperation, not exclude the possibility that the dispute can appear between parties and on this basis the conflict may develop. But the opposite situation can also happen, when after the conflict resolutions parties started co-operation.

But the conflicting parties may have different view on talks’ process: either as a way to continue the struggle by other means, or as the process of resolving the conflict with the interests of each other. In line with these approaches there are two main strategies to negotiate:

  1. the positional bargaining that focuses on the confrontational type of behavior, and
  2. the negotiations on the basis of interest involving a partnership type of behavior.

The expected impact of the negotiations for each of the parties and understanding of the success of the negotiations by their members determine the choice of a strategy (Maddux, 1995).

Conflicting parties or at least one of them could focus on the completion of the conflict through negotiations in the framework of the “win – lose” (i.e. a situation in which the parties’ interests are completely opposite, and victory for one side means defeat for the other).

Negotiation strategy “loss – loss” is also associated with a strategy of positional bargaining and lead to the fact that no one of the parties reaches the full objectives. In this case, the negotiators try to solve problems through compromise.

If the conflicting parties see the success of negotiations in the development of a mutually acceptable solution, full satisfaction each other’s interests, then they focus on the model of “win – win” (Shelly, 2010). To achieve such a result is possible only when negotiations are built on the basis of the interest. Accordingly, negotiators choose a style of their behavior, such as cooperation. Cooperation means that the interests of one party cannot be met, if the interests of the other party are not satisfied as well.

If to compare both of these ways to negotiate it’s obvious that no one of them is the most efficient on contrary to other. They are just used in different situations. Proper approach of parties to the process of talks can help to achieve success in business and to resolve conflict in life and work. Negotiations have a very important regulatory function in the conflict situation. It is being implemented for parties of conflict in cases when they have already reached certain understandings, and negotiations are underway on the implementation of decisions. This function is shown to implement certain fairly common solutions which should be specified.

Distributive negotiations mean that all the negotiating parties pursue only their own goals. Integral negotiations mean that the participants gather into groups to achieve the desired result. Being in the process of distributive negotiations to achieve success one should establish his/her position from the very beginning. In such case it’s necessary to set the tone for the negotiations to achieve profitable solutions. Successful negotiator should avoid talking of his/her personal motives, interests, and even of complicating circumstances, if any (Cohen, 2002). He/she should listen to opponents and try to understand their position. One should not elevate the voice or become personal. It’s important to distinguish situations where one needs to be flexible and where it’s impossible. It’s also worthy of remembering that lie has no place in talks.

Being the party of integrative negotiations it’s necessary to start from clear and understandable statement of the opponents’ positions. Integrative talks presuppose joining of parties in order to achieve a common goal. Everybody should express their interest in the possible deal, nuances, and problematic sides and so on. It’s important to describe details and one party should present for other party the ways it sees the possible development of a deal. Both parties should carefully listen to each other and understand each other’s position. Decisions from these negotiations should satisfy both parties. Such kind of negotiations aims at the most successful deal but not just signing of the agreement.

There are so-called Seven Pillars of Negotiational Wisdom which Steven Cohen provides:

  1. Relationship
  2. Interests
  3. The best alternative to a negotiated agreement
  4. Creativity
  5. Fairness
  6. Commitment and
  7. Communication (Burrese, 2010)

They are the structural elements which can help to understand the process of negotiation, to choose the proper approach and to succeed in talks. If a person understands this structural element he/she can make himself/herself a really good negotiator which should posses such qualities as awareness, the ability to prepare thoroughly and to be patient, to have a realistic view on situation and to be able to discuss, to listen and to understand the situation, to be culturally educated, to be able to take another point of view different from his/her own, to be able to accept compromise. But this list is not completed, of course, because there is always a way to improve skills and to become resistant to stressful situations, to get more knowledge on subjects, and so on.


Burrese, Alain. (2010). What Makes A Good Negotiator? Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?What-Makes-A-Good-Negotiator?&id=1135233
Cohen, Steven. (2002). Negotiating Skills for Managers. Pp. 96-97.
Maddux, Robert B. (1995). Successful Negotiation: Effective “Win-Win” Strategies and Tactics. Thomson Crisp Learning. p. 56. Print.
Shelly, Matt. (2010). What Skills And Qualities Does It Take To Become A Good Negotiator? CircleBlog. Retrieved from http://jobcircle.com/blog/?p=1822