There is consensus that two distinct negotiating situations occur. Firstly, there are those where agreement is sought through collaboration and problem solving and those where agreement is reached by distributive means.
A general ideal of negotiation is to achieve outcomes which are integrative in nature. Integrative outcomes are those that provide high joint benefit. They are represented in decisions where there exists no agreement that all parties would prefer more. This is in contrast to distributive outcomes, where one party benefits at the expense of another, without the concern for dividing all available resources that underlies the integral outcome concept.
Collaborative and distributive Approach of Negotiation
Negotiations using collaborative or integrative approaches infer that the parries will reach a more mutually agreeable solution than they would otherwise do in a distributive situation. Experts have proposed five key methods by which collaborative solutions can be reached:
- Expanding the pie: where resources are scarce, the parties look to increase the available resources.
- Non-specific compensation: in return for compromise, one part repaid by the other in some unrelated means.
- Logrolling: where several issues are at stake with different priori1 each party concedes on low priorities in exchange for concession from the other party on issues of higher priority.
- Cost cutting: in return for concessions, one party’s costs are reduced or eliminated entirely.
- Bridging: a new option is devised in return for neither party achieving its initial demands.
It is worth remembering, however, that a collaborative negotiation is considered to be less efficient because the search process is lengthier . The five points identified above suggest that extensive exchange of information is required in order for the parties to reach a satisfaction
Negotiation Approach and negotiation Outcome
The collaborative and distributive approaches are associated with the outcomes they produce: win-win and win-lose. Originating from game theory, the term ‘win-win’ describes an outcome of equal (or balanced) value to both parties, based on their respective evaluations of the variables that were traded. In contrast, ‘win-lose’ describes an outcome where one party is considered to have gained at the expense of the other (sometimes referred to as ‘zero-sum’). Ultimately, the ‘win-lose’ turns into a ‘lose-lose’ situation for both parties because the losing party refuses to agree further deals with the winner, or else they seek to regain their perceived -loss at some future point.
Collaborative and Distributive negotiation Approach Comparison
It is unrealistic to suppose these approaches occur in isolation of each other since, even when negotiation strategy is essentially collaborative, there is still a need for distributiveness in dividing the resources which are being negotiated over.
There are risks associated with rigidly applying each approach. In general, collaborative approach has a strong bias toward cooperation, creating internal pressures to compromise and accommodate, It avoids strategies that are confrontational because they risk impasse, which is viewed as failure. Conversely, distributive approach has a strong bias toward confrontation, encouraging the use of coercion and emotional pressure as persuasive means; it is hard on relationships, breeding mistrust, feelings of isolation, frustration and anger, resulting in more frequent breakdowns in negotiations; and distorts communication, producing misinformation and misjudgement. However, overcoming these risks does not lead to an improvement in the negotiator’s skill in that approach. Rather it leads towards the problem-solving strategy as the negotiator strives to improve his skill to achieve consistently good outcomes. Not only does this infer skilled parties will reach more equitable solutions but, in addition, the individuals involved will derive greater personal satisfaction from the process.