A further consideration for the preparation and planning phase is that of developing and refining the protocol. The process of a negotiation implies the requirement for certain resources to support it.
The process is determined by the protocol that is to be followed, relating to:
- The agenda for the negotiation: this can be prepared in advance; sometimes, however, especially for complex negotiations, the content of the agenda may well also be part of the negotiation.
- The location of the negotiation: negotiators often perform more effectively when they are ‘at home’, that is, in an environment they are familiar with. It may, therefore, be appropriate to locate a negotiation on neutral ground, where both parties are on an equal footing.
- The time period: lengthy negotiations will require space and negotiators will require sustenance and comfort breaks. It may also be appropriate to consider the role of time-outs, where the parties have the opportunity to consult with their colleagues.
- The parties’ involvement with others: will anyone else be involved in the negotiation, and what role will they play? Will there be anyone on the outside acting as a consultant?
- The consequences of failure: if a deadlock arises, it needs to be determined whether a third party is to be involved, the extent of their involvement and their neutrality.
- Keeping track of the agreement: for complex negotiations, note-taking is an important role, since the notes may form the basis of any written agreement.
Resources were identified as comprising three Ms: men, money and minutes (where ‘men’ should be taken to refer to all staff). Thus, in planning resources for a negotiation:
- Team members for the negotiation need to be selected and briefed at preliminary meetings; individual members will need to develop roles for the negotiation meeting.
- Expenses incurred in holding the meeting, and any pre-meeting to discuss agenda items, need to be covered.
- Time will be a factor in preliminaries (team briefings and pre-meetings with the other party) as well as the negotiation itself.
Resources are also about the abiliry of the parties to satisfy the commitments made as part of the agreement, that is, the substantive content of the negotiation. Making a deal means matching demand with supply. In preparing for a negotiation, it is important that the negotiators catalogue the resources they already control and do not need to negotiate over.
Role of resources in Negotiation
The atmosphere, or climate, of a negotiation is often influenced, positively or negatively, by a range of different factors – such as the priorities the parties set on the issues they have identified, and the competitiveness of their pursuit of their goals.
Other factors, some of which have been mentioned previously, include:
- Cultural differences: problems arising from cultural mismatch between the parties, such as when negotiating with an unfamiliar international culture; can also arise when negotiating with an organization with a more formal structure.
- Timing: the attitudes of the parties to punctuality, both in relation to attending the negotiation and managing deadlines around it.
- The location of the negotiation: whether in familiar surroundings or on neutral ground. If the premises of one or other of the parties are selected, this may negatively influence the other party.
- Room layout: seating patterns, lighting and heat, use of communication aids. Although such factors may seem rather absurd, it is nonetheless difficult to negotiate with an individual who cannot be dearly seen, or who is sitting next to you rather than across a table (in a competitive situation) – although there is limited research to support the psychology behind this.
Experts also identify that the presence of other team members at a negotiation impacts on climate and outcome:
- Integrative agreements are more likely when teams are present. This has been found to be true even if just one side is a team, primarily because there is greater information exchanged between the parties .
- Teams can be more competitive. Teams may claim more value in distributing the resource. This is thought to be the case because they are perceived by an individual, or solus, party to be more powerful .
- Pressures to achieve are less in teams than for individuals. Teams seem to split the responsibility between them for reaching agreement, whereas individuals take full responsibility.
- The relationship among team members can affect cohesion. It may seem obvious that teams of friends are more cohesive in negotiations but their, focus is more on maintaining the friendship than if the individuals are less familiar with one another.
The following book may give you more information on how to do resources allocation: Negotiation (Harvard Business Essentials)