Life at its core is a conflict between survival and extinction, and therefore human beings encounter many instances that require them to weight between two options, take a position, put their foot down or just let it go. It takes a person's character, upbringing, moral obligations and ego to make a negotiation worth partaking, or qualify one as a conflict not worth solving. Circumstances sometimes put best of friends on either spectrum of the agreement, and occasionally foul on the same side of thought. This situation profoundly calls for civilized, conventional, decent and appropriate means and ways to reach a consensus, and it sometimes requires both parties to step out of their comfort zones (Frederik and Karin 63). Resolving conflicts is a vital tool in workplaces, business units, learning institutions, state decisions and for the maintenance of universal harmony. The notion of the survival for the fittest doesn't in any way fit with negotiations, as even the most substantial need to be as weak as their opponents for consultation rather than a dictation to take place.
Conflict is an extensive subject, ranging from the loud outbursts between couples, the sibling rivalry as a result of unequal treatment from parents, internal conflict within an individual on varied aspects of life, bilateral boundaries disagreements between states and countries and the prevailing market differences on prices and quality offered by businessmen. By virtue of the conflicting elements of life, mine isn't different at all, with every decision I make encountering an equally severe hindrance. From the waking time to the breakfast table, to the outside world, in company with my peers and friends and even within the small family set up present different opinions and positions that create conflict. As a young child, I would look at conflict as a barrier which could only be washed away with tears, and my all-time solution to any problem or disagreement was through crying. It then reached a time I had grown some muscle and strong teeth, and I could bite or fight my way out of every situation that yielded a disagreement between my brother and me, or generally my friends. The acquisition of reason and a conscience prompted a more grounded and decent form of solving the numerous challenges I was facing in my teen ages. It wasn't the best one could go with, but by taking a position, so strongly that the other party had to cross towards my side, there was limited fist fights or bites within a conflict.
In all circumstances, I presented my most robust views and defenses, until I met this one young man in our neighborhood, Baron, who had stolen my bike, broke some parts, and returned it, claiming h found it as he had returned it. To get him to admit he had committed the destruction and enable me to acquire yet another bike of the same status mine was, without my uptight dad noticing was the most challenging negotiation I ever took part in. The guy had memorized some response, and there is nothing I could do to get him to admit to this 'crime' as my dad would refer to it. We had to come to a consensus, not based on our opinions to each other, or as to who was right and who wasn't, but instead focus on the broken bike, which had come in handy to him, and was quite important to me. We had to find a way to mend it, however much agreeing with each other cost us. This negotiation was the most successful one I have ever participated in, and though not so ego-fulfilling, the overall outcome of the solution left the both of us satisfied and though not so much of friends, it didn't make us enemies either. I finally had found my go-to when it came to solving differences.
The primary objective for negotiation is to uphold human relationships and dignity by eliminating or minimizing the issue causing massive faults between them. It aims at looking at the problem rather than at the people producing it or those it affects and providing a solution to it, thereby bridging the gap it had created in the long run. The principled negotiation works best for the achievement of this objective and the creation of peaceful coexistence between individuals, communities, and states (Fischer and Ury 5). It focuses on the merit of the resolution rather than the individual's ultra-ego or one-sided emotions. Principled negotiations are the means between the extreme ends of hard and soft bargaining and offer a neutral ground for the weak and strong alike, on one side protecting the vulnerable from exploitation and the strong from their misleading intransigence. By shifting the negotiation from the people involved to the problem causing it, the emotional, perception and communication differences are eliminated from the process, leaving only sound reasoning to take over the negotiations as the conflicting parties aim at achieving the most out of it.
The amount of time people all over the world spend on yelling at each other at the top of their voices, taking on each other's throat, digging deep within the opponent's emotional safe houses, and exposing the worst of their weaknesses, and taking advantage of each other's physical prowess or meekness can fill a thousand wall clocks. A lot of time and energy wasted over nothing productive. A lot of heartbreaking and spirit crushing, trash talking and name-calling, and at the end of it massive hostility and bad blood. It is too exhausting, as well as costing to the economy and the societal norms and traditions. If this time dedicated to peaceful resolution away from the adversity, lots of seconds, minutes and hours would be saved and utilized to make these mended bonds stronger and productive. It is not about victory or agreement but rather the ability to reach a wise decision in an amicable and most efficient mode.
Interests that individuals intimately hold dictates their position on specific issues arising from constant human interactions. For any successful negotiation to take place, these interests must be thoroughly looked into if any solutions to work. Taking you back a few steps, to the bike breaking conflict, my interest to accusing Baron of the breakage was to attain immunity from dads wrath and if successful land on a brand new bike, were he to compensate me. His interest was probably the feeling of being right, the immunity from paying the bicycle and the guarantee of maybe borrowing or taking it, like he used to, for yet another time without the incrimination of causing any further destruction. There is no way the positioned negotiations could work with the both of us holding such strong positions, and therefore, we had to focus on the problem and find a common interest we had (Fischer and Ury 11). We both needed the bike to be well functioning and ok, to avoid the problem it was about to cause. It had to be fixed, and none of us could take responsibility for what we both believed wasn't our fault, therefore the neutral ground was to make a contribution and have it fixed, because he had taken it without my consent, and well, I didn't have proof he did it.
On the same aspect of interest, every negotiator holds two interest at heart, the substantive and relationships. This two interests upon a disagreement or a conflict interweave within each other, as a negotiator strives at achieving the substance of disagreement while still maintaining a good relationship with the other conflicting party. To the hard bargainers, or the superior position holding negotiators, they care more for the substantiated gain even at the expense of the pre-existing relationship (Richard and Kingsley 54). They take the other side as adversaries, and their only aim is the victory if it means to be deceitful and untrustworthy. Any principled negotiators aim at solving the both of these interests, and therefore the mode, medium, and methodology they employ of resolving the disagreement must guarantee satisfaction in substance and relationship to the involved parties. Some instances might, however, call for a foregoing of the substance to secure a future with healthy relations. Conveniently enough, leaving the substance and relationship out and dealing with the problem makes the negotiation dance like a professional undertaking, with limited emotions and sound decision making.
The most relevant question to ask is, why do conflicts occur? A marriage expert will tell you that it only takes an unevenly squeezed toothpaste sachet to break up a marriage. Therefore, it doesn't take the bombing of an entire state to make two countries at war, nor does it take an attempted murder to prepare for a divorce, even though both situations present strong cases for conflict. The little misunderstandings, the minute differences in perception, and the once in a while emotional outburst do create micro-conflicts which if not resolved to yield an impact as massive as the bombed state. Differences fundamentally emanate from variation in thinking of individuals. A circumstance might arise where an individual is wrong, but their thinking assures them that they are right. Going back to Baron, you remember him? The neighbor, who takes a bike without borrowing, and doesn't see this as an intrusion or lack of respect for personal property. According to his thinking, as long as he returns it where he found it, there is no harm committed whatsoever. Therefore, arguing from the point of his taking the bike without asking could not yield any positive outcome. With the diversity in cognition, the best way out of this is to avoid blaming each other, put one's self in the shoes of the other and share the different perspectives to reach a leveled ground (Frederik and Karin 70). A solution like, 'since you also enjoy these bike rides, we have to repair it, so that it will be available the next time you need it." This is making a solution out of the other person's perspective without offending them.
Sharing a room with my younger brother, conflict was the pillow I was sleeping on, the duvet I was covering myself with and pretty much all I dreamt of. In a room with a double-decker, the issue began with who would occupy the lower decker and the higher one. We both wanted the lower one, I because I am height-phobic, and him because he hated climbing up each night. My interest was more powerful, and for that reason, we settled on me occupying the lower decker, and him the higher decker. Problem solved? No, it wasn't. He could come to sit on my bed, undo it, and then step on it on his way up, even though there was a ladder. Mom was the negotiator, but instead of looking at the problem of the undone bed, she focused on the interests we had for wanting the lower decker. She separated the beds, and I didn't have to face the height, and my brother didn't have to climb up night after the other. And a bonus to it was, my bed was ever well-spread. A wise decision for negotiation doesn't focus on the problem but instead on the interest resulting to the problem (Fischer and Ury 24). By resolving or harmonizing these interest, the problem gets automatically eradicated.
Negotiations and conflicts occur between human beings entirely dominated by emotions and not one side against the other side. The solution must strictly take into consideration these emotions, and ensure that they accommodate them as conveniently as possible. In most cases, feelings are the causative agents to conflicts, and if the negotiation is going to leave the emotion part out, no resolution no matter how scientifically proved or professionally formulated can work out. Emotions often prompt individuals to make a premature judgment and impulsive decisions, which often lead them to commit offenses against each other. Addressing these emotions will tackle the conflict from its root and eliminate it, rather than looking at how evil the offender is, or how affected the offended becomes after the offense...
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