Change Management Skills Training

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Change Management - Successful Negotiation

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Change Management - Successful Negotiation

All conflict is about change. Everywhere there are efforts to realign relations within and between nations, communities and organisations. Everywhere there are associated tensions.

Negotiation as a process of conflict resolution or dispute settlement is not a given. It's use depends on alternatives available to the parties in conflict, their perceptions of power relativities, ideological influences, their knowledge and skill levels, historical relations and the track record of negotiation, effectiveness within this, and motivational factors such as needs, beliefs, and the valence of negotiated outcomes to the parties involved. The decision to negotiate is not simple. Where it is taken, how do the parties assess its success or failure?

Drawing on the work of Kressel (1972), Fisher and Ury (1981), and Whitney (1982), several criteria are proposed for assessing the successful outcome of a negotiation:

  • achievement of an agreement/problem solved.

Such an agreement should:

  • meet the legitimate interests of all sides to the extent possible/resolve conflicting interests fairly;
  • be durable;
  • not damage the relationship between the parties;
  • be workable, that it, the parties must be able to live by it;
  • be 'owned' by the parties, that is, not imposed or manipulated;
  • be ratified by all the parties' constituencies and have no adverse political consequences for leaders;
  • be unambiguous and complete;
  • be achieved within an acceptable time frame; and
  • promote the use of the negotiation process
From the preceding discussion on conflict it is apparent that if successful outcomes are to be achieved, then a range of other factors are required to facilitate effective use of the process:

  • an intention by all parties to achieve a settlement;
  • a willingness to explore movement off a stated position;
  • the possession of power - sufficient to persuade but insufficient to force total surrender;
  • clear mandates from a coherent consistency;
  • mutual accreditation as bargaining partners;
  • adherence to mutually acceptable 'rules of the game';
  • acknowledgement of both the legitimacy of difference and the existence of common ground in the relationship;
  • a belief that negotiation is the best option available for purposes of resolving differences; and
  • sufficient resources to allow outcomes that do not discredit use of the bargaining process or those seeking to use it

Anstey, Mark. (2006). Managing Change Negotiating Conflict. Cape Town - South Africa: Juts & Co. Ltd

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