Cooperation or collaboration is viewed as an important factor for every company choosing to achieve competitive advantage. These factors can each offer significant advantages to organizations which seem to have a shortage of resources or the required competencies by ensuring they are linked with those who possess the much needed skills and assets. In my view, I agree that collaboration and competition can be balanced whenever alliances are formed. Although this is a paradox relationship, it has become evident that no single factor can result in an impact like what is expected when both are employed (Lewiсki, Barry & Saunders, 2015). In this sense, it is important to understand when cooperation is needed and when competition is needed.
Inter-organizational relationships may turn out to be majorly competitive or majorly co-operative. When a balance is created, a single organization becomes both cooperative and competitive. This means that there are instances where competition will be at the fore-front and instances where cooperation will also be given priority. For example, when two organizations are from different regions, such as Asia and the United States, it will be more reasonable for the American company to cooperate with an Asian company so that it can gain competitive advantage over other local companies. However, slight competition will still be present between these companies as they are still working towards the achievement of their goals (Lewiсki, Barry & Saunders, 2015).
I have learnt a lot in relation to international negotiation. First, international negotiations are greatly impacted by culture, co-operation and competition. Negotiating on an international platform means that different organizations with varying cultures will be expected to work together. Unfortunately, such a situation is a breeding ground for conflicts as what is considered normal in one organization may be completely offensive in the other (Lewiсki, Barry & Saunders, 2015). As such, the negotiator needs to understand the two organizations before hand by conducting research on their cultures and expectations of the negotiating process.
I also learned that there are two types of negotiations; distributive and integrative negotiation. Distributive negotiation is when the two parties are trying to come to an agreement on how to divide something. This may be the profits of a new venture which two different companies are planning to invest in. On the other hand, the integrative negotiation is when there is a need to make more of something. An example is when one company approaches another to ask for human resource assistance, whereby a given group is temporarily hired to assist with the development of a new project. As a result, both parties will benefit with one getting its project completed, and the other from outsourcing its human resource (Lewiсki, Barry & Saunders, 2015).
Negotiation is not only used in these simple situations, but also in other more complex situations such as job and salary negotiations. This is an example of complex integrative negotiation as it is meant to impact the relationship between the employer and employee. It is unlike distributive negotiation where the two parties will agree and move forward. Here, the negotiation must be handled with care to promote the development of a positive relationship.
Another important idea learnt is that the presence of multiple parties increases the risk of disputes. Therefore, as a negotiator, one must possess the skills needed to resolve such disputes. It is important to remain neutral and not take sides in a dispute resolution process. This is because all parties need to have trust in the negotiator. Also, the negotiator needs to know how to effectively use power and persuasion in an ethical way (Lewiсki, Barry & Saunders, 2015). These skills are necessary for closing a deal by assisting parties to get into a contract.
Lastly, I also got to learn more about joint venture negotiations which require cultural competencies as these companies tend to have quite a culturally diverse workforce. Therefore, there is a need to possess skill and understanding of these cultures to ensure that all members of the different organizations are satisfied with the negotiation process, as well as the eventual decision that is agreed upon.
When analyzing my skills as a negotiator, I can identify specific factors which indicate my strength. I am good at making preparations for specific activities. Therefore, when I have to negotiate in an actual situation, I know that I will be able to prepare for the process effectively by conducting research on the contract and the organizations involved (Lewiсki, Barry & Saunders, 2015). This way, I will know what is expected of me, and even be able to identify some of the barriers that may be experienced. I also have skill in the sense that I know how to effectively apply the skills and tactics learned in class. Thus, my negotiations will most likely be fruitful.
My weakness, on the other hand, relates to the fact that I come from a high context culture. Therefore, my negotiation skills and emotions have all been impacted. I cannot seem to be able to separate my emotions when negotiating as I tend to lean towards the party that affects me more (Lewiсki, Barry & Saunders, 2015). Also, I have grown accustomed to the fact that one must either win or lose. This attitude is wrong for a negotiator as the main intention is to make sure that both parties experience a win-win situation.
To ensure that my skills are constantly improving, I have set specific goals to act as guidance. First, I intend to learn how to be neutral when negotiating by keeping my feelings and emotions aside when working within the next three months. Second, I intend to conduct 50 researches on the topic of international negotiation within one year so I can take note of how others handled specific situations, including multiple party negotiations and dispute resolutions. Third, I will get a part time employment placement during the holidays to ensure that I am exposed to real life negotiation situations.
As a negotiator, I have learnt that I am a very good negotiator. I have acquired a lot of skills and tactics from my class which will play an important role when I start my actual practice. I am very interested and curious to start putting into practice the newly acquired skills and tactics. I think I have always had some kind of negotiation skills from the time when I was young. I always influenced people to do what I wanted, and even resolved problems between my friends. I can now see that the only difference is in relation to the seriousness of the situation and the skills and tactics needed. However, I still need to continue working on my weaknesses, especially the attitude I have that there can only be one winner, meaning that only one party will be able to go fully satisfied after a deal is made.
Lewiсki, R., J., Barry, B., & Saunders, D. (2015). Negotiation: Readings, Exercises, and Cases. Seventh Edition. McGraw-Hill/Irwin. ISBN: 0077862422