Negotiation is a process that is guided by the following parameters; Two or more interdependent parties, reason for conflict, the negotiating parties are using all means possible to influence the outcome in their favor, the parties expect each one to compromise the negotiation requirements so that each gives out and receives in equal measure, or reach a consenting situation in order to come to an end to their conflict.
Negotiation tactics are techniques used by negotiating parties to gain a cutting edge. These tactics are most of the time deceiving and manipulating and are often utilized by one side to fulfill their own goals and objectives while taking advantage of the other party. Eventually, these tactics end up in a win-lose situation. (Banai, et al 2014).Unethical practices come as a result of the type and nature of information shared in the negotiation process and how that information is transmitted. The most important component of negotiation is information. Negotiation is the persuasive exchange of information. Unethical negotiation comes as a result of dishonesty in one of the negotiating partners. This essay aims at identifying various forms of unethical negotiation tactics and their effective counter-actions.
The first negotiation tactic is lying/ deceiving. According to (Lewicki, 1983) negotiating parties lie to heighten their power over their opponent by use of false and at the same time misleading information. The lies used by one party are in different forms where one deliberately causes someone else to believe something that is not true. Deception is considered a key component in negotiating strategies and mostly advantages the person deceiving or protects him or her. Deception is taken to be a game strategy to kick the competitor in business out of the market. Like in a case where a sales representative has to put up with a humiliating discussion with the sales manager. The sales manager fails to understand the reason as to why the sales representative had to accept an order at such a high discount rate. The sales person on his part maintains that the only way he could have made a deal was by offering the discount. The salesman is trying to get the best deal from the sales manager to earn a commission from the sales. The sales manager cant understand why the salesman had to make such a deal, but due to his negotiation skills, the salesman can convince the manager of the deal.
This negotiating tactic is unethical because one party takes undue advantage of the other. In the case scenario described above, the salesman gains an undue advantage by offering a higher discount rate than recommended to earn a higher commission from the sales manager. Deception also taints the reputation of an organization in case one lies about the performance of a product which is later proved to be defective by the customer. The company may experience reduced turnover and low profits.
The second unethical tactic is threatening. Threats take the form of making decisions, in communication or commitment. In decision making, one takes into account the costs to be incurred and the desired outcome when threats are applied on both sides of the negotiating team. The negotiators will then decide on the application of threats and the desired outcome or consequences of the threats. Communication focuses on how the parties exchange the arguments. A threat must be adequately serious, plausible and should reach the target in an understandable manner. For a threat to be considered workable, it must be complied with by the target. A threat signifies the seriousness of the negotiator. The negotiator applying threats must be committed in order to execute the threat effectively. There are two types of threats. A threat that requires one party to perform a specific task to avoid punishment and a threat that that tends to prevent the target from doing something. In a case scenario where a person witnesses another person committing a crime. The witness will always tend to use threats to get favor and privileges from the person who committed the crime. A roadside user who witnesses a driver causing a fatal accident will always demand favor using threats to the driver. The witness may opt to threaten the driver to part with some money or else he or she reports this driver to the police. In the long run, the driver will always heed the threats posed by the witness to avoid being reported to law enforcers. The person receiving threats end up giving in to all demands from the person issuing the threats. In the long run, the truth must come out (Kilduff, et al 2016)
This negotiation tactic is unethical because the negotiator will always oppress one party especially the one on the receiving end. The person receiving threats will live in constant fear of unprescribed consequences and demands. Threats are used to cover the truth. This, therefore, means that the person to whom a crime was committed and his dependents may never get justice whether in the form of compensation or jailing of the criminal. Many resources are spent to cover up the threat demands from the person demanding resources by use of threats. This tactic is not warranted and uncalled for. This is because, in the long run, the truth will come out. Threats tend to heighten the conflict between individuals. This is because if the desired outcome is not achieved, the parties initiate measures that can significantly destroy the trust levels in their relationship.
The third unethical negotiation tactic is the misrepresentation of position to an opponent. The person negotiating distorts his or her settlement position in his or her favor. A case scenario where a person has budgeted for $95,000 to purchase a vehicle and convinced the dealer that he can only offer $90,000, when in fact he can comfortably afford 95,000. This form of misrepresentation is normally considered a strategy for the opponent to make a concession to lower the sale. Negotiators who make demands above the preferred settlement point and had their opponents giving in to these demands stood higher chances of achieving favorable deals (Wade, 2014).
This negotiation tact is unethical in the sense that the negotiator makes undue gains especially in monetary terms and leaves the opponent at a low-profit-margin. The fact that the negotiator can afford the actual price of the commodity he or she wishes to buy and goes ahead to negotiate for reduced prices reduces the negotiators credibility and trustworthiness. Also, the negotiator may end up buying a substandard commodity from his or her offer. If the product were an electronic device, the negotiator would get an equivalent of what he or she required but of low quality.
The following useful counter-strategies negotiation tactics apply across the board: to be able to counter an unethical negotiation tactic, the opponent needs to recognize and know the different kinds of unethical practices or Gambits applied by the negotiator. The opponent cannot be able to play in the counter move if he or she does not understand the game. Understanding the negotiators tactics works to the advantage of the opponent (Fleck, et al 2014).
The opponent is also advised never to attack but to challenge the negotiator directly. When the opponent approaches the issue at hand from a different angle by applying a challenge, the negotiator will be caught off guard. It is advisable to challenge the gambit as an issue in itself, and avoid making the issue personal. By so doing, the tactics of the negotiator will be negated and make them realize that the opponent is not in any way naive.
Also, the opponent needs to know that he/ she has alternatives. One alternative could be walking away from the negotiating table especially if the negotiator seems not to take the negotiations seriously. This gives the negotiators a humble time to evaluate their tactics.
The opponent should also play his/ her game and not that of the negotiator. The opponent should counter at all costs derogatory gambits employed by the negotiator. Avoid being overcome by emotions in the negotiations. The opponent needs to always remember the reasons for the talks. If few options remain, always pursue the best deal out of the negotiations.
Finally, it is essential for the opponent to bear in mind that his/ her reputation must be maintained even after the negotiations. Always keep note of how other people will view you afterward and the lasting image and impression other people will make from the opponent.
In a nutshell, it is essential for negotiating parties to maintain the principles laid down to avoid denting their public image and reputation. To apply unethical means to achieve positive results by negotiators is a short-term event which will later be exposed and lead to more enormous negative consequences. Indeed a wise counsel sums it that what goes around, comes around.
Banai, M., Stefanidis, A., Shetach, A., & Ozbek, M. F. (2014). Attitudes toward ethically questionable negotiation tactics: A two-country study. Journal of Business Ethics, 123(4), 669-685.
Fleck, D., Volkema, R., Pereira, S., Levy, B., & Vaccari, L. (2014). Neutralizing Unethical Negotiating Tactics: An Empirical Investigation of Approach Selection and Effectiveness. Negotiation Journal, 30(1), 23-48.
Kilduff, G. J., Galinsky, A. D., Gallo, E., & Reade, J. J. (2016). Whatever it takes to win: Rivalry increases unethical behavior. Academy of Management Journal, 59(5), 1508-1534.
Lewicki, R. J. (1983). Lying and deception: A behavioral model. Negotiating in organizations, 68, 90.Wade, J. (2014). Ethically ambiguous negotiation tactics (EANTs): What are the rules behind the rules?
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