Multiparty negotiations add many levels of both challenges and complexities

Get Expert's Help on [we] don’t always see the complexity of such negotiations as vital for success.

Introduction

In modern times, the dynamics have become highly challenging for any organisation as at times, they have to compete for resources or at other times they have to collaborate with others as there are several internal as well as external factors that influence any organisation. An example of the internal factor that promotes collaboration is that an organisation may lack a resource, so it would look to collaborate with others to acquire that resource. An example of the external factor that promotes collaboration is that two organisations may be influenced by a political factor and would want to respond together. Thus, competition and collaboration are on a rise across all spheres of life, and these activities play a significant role in shaping up the organisational dynamics (Polzer et al. 1995).

The above-mentioned activities of competition and collaboration can be achieved by the negotiation process. Due to changing operational environments, the scope and importance of negotiations are on a rise. Another emerging trend is that more and more negotiations involve multiple parties and as a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach a satisfactory agreement among all the stakeholders (Polzer et al. 1995).

Thus, there is a need to examine the multi-party negotiation process to understand how the interest of all the involved parties can be upheld. This is done by developing a theoretical framework as done below. 

Characteristics of Multi-Party Negotiations

Sondak et al. (2013) described multi-party negotiations as interactions where three or more parties represent their interest. These interactions aim to resolve the perceived difference of interest even though each party aims to pursue their own interest. There are three main forms of multi-party negotiation: The first form of negotiation is the negotiation process that occurs within a team. This form of negotiation can be related to various aspects including remuneration discussion and responsibility distribution. The second form of negotiation is the negotiation process that occurs between different entities. This form of negotiation is characterised by each entity trying to serve their own interest. The third form of negotiation is the negotiation process in the macro-environment context where there are multiple players. In this form of negotiation, several factors are beyond the control of negotiating parties due to the direct influence of the external factors. Sondak et al. (2013) also argued that there is a need to understand that while all the three models discussed above are multi-party negotiation models, however, these models are different from one another as there are several variables that impact the negotiation process differently in different models. For example in case of a within-team negotiation, one of the parties may have authority over the others, usually, the party with authority is the senior in the team. In the case of different entities negotiating with one another, each will try to win the negotiation and might have a level-playing field.  In case of a macro-environment negotiation, the dynamics of the negotiation are heavily influenced by the fact that some parties have a strong influence on the negotiation process (Sondak et al. 2013).

Swaab et al. (2008) argued that in a multi-party negotiation, the optimal objective for any party is to ensure that their interest is represented, however at the same time they must be open to the viewpoint of others.

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