Negotiation and Conflict Management
Most social situations between individuals or groups are characterized by conflicts. This conflict occurs in forms of disagreements concerning substantial issues or through emotional disagreements. Conflict can be both destructive and constructive or and is mostly a result of collisions, struggles, contests, fights, mental strife, agony among others. When the conflict witnessed in an organization is constrained to tolerable limits, it can stimulate creativity and concurrently prevent stagnation. However, if these limits are exceeded, conflict easily transitions to destructive and disruptive which can ultimately have adverse effects on the business. Conflict can either be perceived, organized or unorganized among other classifications based on its nature. The effectiveness of negotiation as a form of managing and resolving conflicts is complemented by effective communication, active listening and a sense of fairness in solving the conflict. Successful business negotiators employ a blend of persuasive, analytical as well as interpersonal skills in handling conflicts.
1.1 How the conflict model may impact on the outcomes
According to Tan (2011:13), a conflict model is a platform of ideas for a team of individuals to come to a compromise when making a group decision. This model would work determine the outcome of negotiation between health professional trade unions and their employers when trying to come to a conclusion on re-wearing contaminated protective clothing. With anything, in any situation, nothing is perfect and the situation will likely not go as smoothly as planned. This being said, if the mediator has a solid baseline in which to resolve the standoff, it will come much more naturally to the parties in conflict, which are the employers and healthcare professionals. This model will impact the negotiation’s outcome because it is continuous and there is no legitimate begin or end point. Conflicts will arise all the time when decisions need to be made, and it is very possible that while solving one conflict more will arise in the process. This model allows us to begin at any point necessary and end where ever we need. The bubble on the top of the model says to name the problem and set goals. This is important to discuss with the entire team because this will assure everyone is on the same page and see the same situation as the problem. This also allows them to create which goals would work for everyone. In addition, this could also potentially reveal another issue that is import to address. The next bubble says to analyze the problem. This goes hand and hand with previous statements. The next two bubbles are very important to this models process because this is where logic and fact come in rather than emotion and temperament. These bubbles suggest to collect and analyze the data that is associated to the problem, providing facts and research. The following two bubbles are where the team searches for solutions and decides which one is the better choice. This is where emotions of the team members may become a barrier, but assuming our team is mature and educated, we would decide which solution is best based on legitimate hypothesizes. Now, the mediator would collectively create a plan of action to implement in order to solve the original problem or problems. The conflict model in this situation is pertinent and there is no any real problem with the actual process itself; however, in the reality of life people do have emotions and frequently act and thin based off of them rather than logic. Therefore, the model is designed as if trade unions do not take the course of strikes rather negotiation. Even though this model spans from the health concerns of employees re-wearing contaminated protective equipment, this model would work well in a conflict where no one would suffer consequences from the most. Building a good relationship to the other party is one advantage gained from a successful integrative negotiation. This is likely to give the best result in the long run, if a long term relationship is of importance for the parties involved. Another advantage is that there is a possibility of ‘expanding the pie’. Expansion of the pie, is done by satisfying one’s own interest in a way, where it does not interfere with the possibility of satisfying the other party’s interests. This will create a situation, where there is more to share between the two parties, which makes it possible to create a win-win situation.
1.2 Importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) elements during company restructuring negotiation process
Kouatli (2018:187), defines emotional intelligence as the ability of a person to realize, identify and management of personal emotions as well as that of the emotions of those persons that are around them. This is an approach that will ensure that a person is able to manage their emotions which will accommodate the others in their lives. The emotional intelligence is important in negotiation because during negotiation, people of various personalities meet. This is to say that emotional intelligence will help a person to identify their emotions and read the emotions of those around the negotiation table. There are those instance during the negotiation table that emotions flares up. But emotional intelligence is what is needed to ensure that they manage the negotiation process effectively. This will support the ability of the person to manage proceedings and thus deliver the negotiation goals. Whenever negotiations goes on, there are cases in which these emotions can then go out of control. But with a strong emotional intelligence, then you can be able to manage and control such emotions. A negotiation team leaders must always be able to read the environment and the changes of emotions among all players in question. A strong emotional intelligence will help a person to be able to manage all the emotions within an environment (Kouatli, 2018:187). This is to say that the whole process of managing the emotions will then promote better control and successes of the negotiations.
In the integrative negotiation process, it is important that both parties understand each other’s needs and interests. In order to this the negotiators have to be able to create a free information flow and be good at listening to other party. It is likely that the real needs and interest are not necessarily the instrumental value of the issues being negotiated. In many cases there will be underlying needs and interests related to the instrumental issues being negotiated. It may therefore not be straight forward to satisfy the other party’s real needs and interests. It requires that the negotiator is open-minded and applies active listing skills. When the parties understand each other’s real needs and interests, they can come up with a creative solution that accommodates both parties’ goal and interest. The goal of the using this negotiation strategy other than getting the most out the issues at hand, is to build a good relationship with the other party. It is therefore not seen as a possibility to unethical behavior during the negotiation, although it may enable the negotiator to claim more value. If unethical behavior does occur it is likely to harm the relationship between the two parties and therefore diminish the long-term outcome of the relationship.
2. Question two
2.1 Ways in which effective communication skills improves negotiation and conflict management
Today, communication is a vital aspect of employees’ work in the organization. Communication has become varied and elaborated subject to focus on. Communication plays a significant to overall functioning and success of the negotiations. Communication is also used to facilitate employees who resist change within the organization. Open-communication encourages motivation, promotes conflict free negotiations, and allows individuals to feel respected and valued. Effective communicating skill in today’s global market differs according to cultures, society, traditions, experiences, and individual characteristics. In today’s diverse society, communication methods vary by the personality structure (Khanna, 2017:33-41). Effective and efficient communicating processes are possible by positive facial gestures, oral tones, and eye contract. The meanings of ideas, facts, reactions, and feelings thought that occur within each person during negotiation. Negotiation is a scheme to resolve a conflict or a problem effectively with agreeable terms and conditions for the parties involved. According to Khanna (2017:33-41), effective communication skills in negotiation is a vital tool to achieve success. Therefore, communication skill is a valuable knowledge as this aptitude is equally important in the society as it is in the corporate world. Negotiation is an intricate process as very negotiations are involved with individuals acquiring different personality and communicating styles. Although individual differs in personality and communication, the skills in negotiations are vital to achieve success. The right and accurate combination of communication skills, one can gain a successful negotiation situation in personal and professional life.
2.2 Barriers that can be faced using practical examples and references
Some of the barriers that can be encountered include physical barriers. The physical barriers are caused by environmental factors that make it difficult to communicate. Some of the physical barriers are a rigid chain of command, equipment malfunctions, and obstruction that will slow down or hinder the flow of information. Ways to help keep this barrier from being a nascence is to keep more officers closer together, keep equipment functioning properly, and make sure that all officers have the information that is needed to continue with the case. Another barrier is barrier of ineffective listening. This barrier is caused from the inability to understand and hear the information being given to you. Groups of people are not great listeners. One reason for this barrier is the information is not interesting or is not relevant to the person the information is being given to. Also the information might be simple or complex to the person who is receiving it. The person who is listening might be distracted with other things. The barrier is known to be caused from habits that are formed in childhood. As related to policies, the organization must create with the help of their human resource department create guidelines and rules that set the standard for all employees that want to work for the organization. For this particular reason it should be stated in the company's rule book or compliance policies that no type of bullying or the use of slurs, hostile comments, jokes, electronic interchanges, and other visual, verbal or physical direct that could make a scary, unfriendly or hostile workplace.
3. Question three
3.1 The steps to follow to manage the conflict
Conflict management involves awareness about the issues between parties involved. Unsettled conflict may lead to feeling of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, depression, and hopelessness (Kappmeier, 2011:38). It can cause manners, such as resignation from jobs, emotional or physical withdrawal, aggression, violence, and dissolution of personal relations. Handling conflicts promptly is vital to upholding a vigorous work setting. Conflict, such as the one arising from prolonged lockdown and the residents lobbying for the municipality to reduce service levies are inevitable, as people have diverse goals, opinions, and personalities. Understanding the process of conflict management is the key to stopping it from deterring growth. Management of the conflict is involves a five-stage procedure, which are identifying the parties in conflict; identifying the main concerns of the parties; identifying the parties’ stands; establishing the bargaining precinct; and eventually arriving at the decision (Dimas and Lourenço, 2015:174-193). The first step in managing the conflict is setting the scene. Setting the scene involves encouraging good relations through courteous behavior and mutual respect, which is a most important aspect. This requires that more information pertaining to the cause of the conflict be garnered by asking series of question about the cause and hearing all account of the story leading to the conflict in order to get a better understanding of the situation.
To identify the groups in the conflict, the negotiator pursues to be sure if a group or individual conflict exists. Afterward, he or she identifies the actual concerns causing the dispute in this case; the group is lobbying for the municipality to reduce service levies. Mostly, the conflict becomes evident due to a minor issue. Although the mediator may be upset and eager to argue their point, it is important to listen to all the parties’ perspective. Try to listen beyond just what he or she is saying verbally and try to also understand what your partner is feeling emotionally. To manage this conflict, the mediator needs to have a positive disposition by ensuring when speaking to the groups about the situation the tone is calm and body language is positive. There is need to ensure any of the parties does not feel bombarded or attacked. Besides, the negotiator should work together with both the authorities to solve the problem by considering each other’s views and try to arrive at a compromise. Finally, the mediator has to follow the plan of resolution, try to make up and don’t be ashamed to apologize when wrong. Remember the most important thing in the conflict is maintaining the relationship, not who’s right and who’s wrong.
3.2 Advice to interns on how to survive the public sector power struggles
Some of the major issues that are the basis for most public power struggles are politics, influences, conflict, relationships, management, emotions, and abuse. When it relates to politics that can be sometimes a hard area to tackle. One thing that the political nature in healthcare allows for which can be considered a positive is sharing the power. In stating that sometimes influences can come into account as an issue for organizational power struggles. So in terms of influence we have to turn it into a positive mechanism where you exert and make strong opening offer, use objective criteria, form a coalition, use BATNA / power of walk-away, and plan concessions. Conflict accumulates from these other factors when they are not handled properly. There are different ways to handle this issue in regards to power. When engaging another party they most common solution methods are compromising, competing, and collaborating. Relationships is another issue involved. The reason behind this is because these common mistakes are made in managing relationships: Not thinking about other party, Adding up personal not collective gain, and Failing to trust. These mistakes can be easily fixed through proper training in relationship building, and management. Management in my opinion is the most crucial reason why organizations run into power struggles. The managers hold a lot of that power and if they do not know how to conduct their job properly it can lead into another issue of power abuse. This issue can be resolve by management training along with managers demonstrating the actions they would like to see in their employees such as, structuring communication networks to create greater transparency, using boards of directors and advisory groups as counterbalances to managerial authority, creating strong code of ethics, designing appropriate appraisal systems, emphasizing personal integrity. Emotions in all organization is a huge factor because all human beings experience this character. Most of these emotions come across negatively when individuals feel threatened, thinking becomes rigid or inflexible, result of heightened emotions produces decreased ability to cognitively process information, ideas, or possible solutions, and emotional contagion occurs when emotions transmit from one party to another. Therefore, with all these issues there is not necessarily one method but several methods that can build into one method of organization, structure, and communication within the organization to avoid these issues.
3.3 Common mistakes that negotiators make which may hinder a successful closure of a dispute during the conflict resolution process
Some of the things that can be done to make the approaches unsuccessful are by not focusing on what each of the members in the company can do to solve the problem. Using open-ended question will invite one to give an idea in what best can be done. The collaboration will be achieved via a shrewd leadership and togetherness in working. Another mistake is partiality which brings unfairness causing more conflict. Postponement of conflict resolution will worsen the state of things. Conflicts should be resolved immediately when they arise (Rafferty, 2017:197-221). Being defensive should also be avoided when solving conflicts. It is because one will always avoid admitting the mistakes hence worsening the situation. Trying to win the argument is another problem. It will always lead to the loss of a relationship. People are most energized as they set to enact upon the edge of their personal unknowns. Nonetheless, that denotes they will make some faults. According to Rafferty (2017:197-221), creative response in a conflict resolution should bring about winners and learners, and not winners and losers. For instance, in the case of the library window conflict in which one person wanted it closed and the other open, a creative response to solve the conflict would have been opening a window from the next room to get fresh-air without creating a breeze. A blocker of creative response is lack of communication, if the both parties had communicated with each other why they wanted concerning the status of the window, the conflict would never have happened. Besides, negotiators can ignore empathy thus hindering openness and rapport between people. The lack of empathy in a conflict means that the persons involved will have no regard for each other’s feelings and needs. The best approach to develop empathy is through helping the other individual feel that their problems are recognized. That denotes being an active-listener. There exist three particular listening activities pertinent to different settings. They include information, affirmation and inflammation.
Conclusively, during this pandemic period, it is hard to operate in a workplace environment that is free of conflicts. Nevertheless, being able to resolve the conflict successfully minus harming any of the tangled parties is a vital facet both at organizational level and at trade union. Ability to resolve conflicts is a key duty that both employees, employers, and trade unions encounter, more so health care professions during this COVID-19 time. Failure to address conflicts properly can lead to a harsh working environment. Harsh working environment limits employees’ motivation, and hinders innovations and creativity. Besides, poor communication contributes to confusion between employers and employees thus causing conflicts. Therefore, respect, selflessness, poor and adequate resources declines organizational conflict.
Dimas, I. and Lourenço, P., 2015. Intragroup Conflict and Conflict Management Approaches as Determinants of Team Performance and Satisfaction: Two Field Studies. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 8(3), pp.174-193.
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Rafferty, R., 2017. Engaging with the Violent Past to Motivate and Direct Conflict Resolution Practice in Northern Ireland. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 35(2), pp.197-221.
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