Introduction to Negotiations in Politics

Political negotiationsSpeaking of politics, international issues, governmental policy, to ones’ mind comes the concept of negotiations. People use to negotiate on a daily basis, solving different problems and trying to understand each other. Negotiation is the process of discussing something with someone in order to reach an agreement with them, or the discussions themselves [Cambridge 86 dictionary, access mode:].

Negotiations are formal discussions between people who have different aims or intentions, especially in business or politics, during which they try to reach an agreement [Collins dictionary, access mode:].

Thus, basic idea of negotiation is sharing positions between two or more parties and coming up with a common view on a particular issue. Negotiations in the sphere of politics is a frequent practice, it gives time for opponents for introducing their positions and taking into account as much interests as possible.

The issue of successful negotiations is actual for Ukraine, with its tough international situation which alters from time to time and involves many internal and external influential participants. For example of Ukraine is possible to track the new kings of political conflicts, hence there is a wide range of possible ways of solving them.

The study of negotiations is acceptable here in the way it gets more actual and up-to-date examples of successful and non-successful conclusions, or conflicts which are not resolved for years. In Ukraine we have internal conflicts which include issues of some regions or one city, and others, large-scale, so that they aren’t likely to be solved within Ukraine alone.

Negotiation is among of the possible ways for resolving conflicts. Among the others processes are Power (the possibility of using force in achieving any result), Ligitation, Arbitration, Mediation and Avoidance [George J. Siedel, Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills, 2014].

Ligitation and Arbitration are close in their purpose in the way that both include the third party to decide the outcome of a conflict, with the one difference – Legislation is made on a professional legal basis.

Arbitration is more likely to be used for resolving disputes and conflicts in a sphere of business, it is cheaper and faster to solve problems with an arbitrator from inside. For political purposes, Legitation is inseparable, politics functions only in the sphere of law and there are no ways to shorten the procedure of signing any agreements. Mediation and Negotiation itself are the two other ways of resolving conflicts.

The difference is that Mediation includes the third party, but it has no right to decide, only the role of a pure viewer. Avoidance means being not involved in discussions and not asserting the decisions. Before getting involved in a negotiation, parties have to decide whether they are interested in disputing or not. This has to be included in the prenegotiation part. Risks and benefits should be measured.

Sometimes the process of negotiations doesn’t worth the achieved results and avoidance can be among possible decisions. If a participant decides to negotiate, several preparations have to be done before the actual discussion starts. Firstly, come up with all facts witch you can mention for assistance of your view on the conclusion.

This is needed for the launch of negotiation. It always starts from a position-based form, when all participants introduce their position and demands. Position-based negotiations may be successful in particular cases, when one of the parties is less strong in its position, the other forces the final decision or uses extra sanctions, otherwise reaching 87 the agreement may take years. To find the real mutual solution and understanding negotiators should switch to an interest-based form in which the main question is “Why a person stands on a certain position”, opposing to “What the demands are”.

Thus, discovering the inner interests, provided by a certain position, leads to seeing the point of intersection of mutual interests, the way to consensus. The art of negotiating is in identifying the needs on the other side, because if you have it – you can reach your goals. The idea is in succeeding, not just winning the discussion, thus, conclusion of the agreement is the aimed goal for both [Kennedy G. Everything is negotiable, Random house, 1982].

When negotiation in interest-based it is more likely to bring the optimum result. Afterwards comes a part when negotiations switch from interest-based to position-based and vice versa, on each round participants come to interim agreements. Position-based negotiation itself is distributive, competitive in a way that participants try to win their own goal, turning negotiation into a zero-sum game.

In a zero-sum game there is only one possible winner and the others lose, on the contrast to interest-based agreements which are integrative, cooperative and provide win-win options for the results of negotiation. What questions should be made at the point of preparation to negotiating? First of all, opponents have to define exactly, what are their goals in reaching agreement.

These main goals have to be clear to each negotiator, and they even may decide to withdraw the process if the goal is not possible to be reached in certain conditions. The second question is – Which issues are the most important in reaching this goal and – Why are they important. This is a step to get involved in an interest-based discussion. Participants should also ask each other questions on reasons during the negotiation later.

Thirdly, negotiators have to think of their BATNA – best alternative to a negotiated agreement. This is made by analyzing personal reservation point (the least demands, which are acceptable), the goal (the most preferable conclusion) and stretch goal (it includes even more benefits than those demanded). After clarifying this points for yourself, negotiator has to think of the same alternatives, from the perspective of the other side.

For negotiations in political sphere among the factors to analysis should be personalities of opposed politicians, the global situation, their present communications, power on the political stage etc. Then, taking into account all the data negotiator should outline the zone of potential agreement and lead the negotiations within it.

Political negotiations often take place in multicultural environment. To make negotiations successful, participants should take into account cultural diversity, notice how their style differs from the other side, keep in mind the fact, that there are variances within each culture and avoid any actions that are offensive or inappropriate.

The same as with differences caused by culture, counting on the unique personal style of your opponent is crucial. Investigation of the style and manners gives confidence in bidding and explaining aims and goals.

Proper preparation to negotiation is crucial for leading a consistent position and achieving the best alternative of a negotiation agreement for all parties involved into a discourse. Negotiations in political sphere are loaded with many legal options and procedures, which make them a complicated and multifaceted field of scientific research and real practice.

Author V. Kostenko

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *