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In the last lesson you had an opportunity to read and evaluate the characteristics of distributive bargaining. Unlike distributive bargaining, where the parties are trying to obtain the biggest part of the pie, integrative bargaining, also known as win-win, mutual gain, interest-based negotiations, interest-based bargaining, or principled negotiations, assumes the parties that are engaged in negotiations are seeking to satisfy their respective interests and at the same time provide for mutual gain in the negotiations outcome. You had an opportunity to see distributive bargaining at its quintessential best when you watched the video and observed the negotiations process between GM and the UAW. You also observed distributive bargaining when you viewed the videos concerning the dramatization of Waldenville negotiations. When you have an opportunity, or perhaps you already have, to view the Getting to Yes videos then you will observe examples of interest based negotiations. Make no mistake these two styles, distributive and integrative, are completely different in technique. We live in a competitive culture and as such distributive bargaining is the preferred type of bargaining overall. We are accustomed to competition. And competition is about winning or losing. I have been fortunate enough to engage in negotiations using both types, integrative and distributive. While interest-based, or integrative bargaining if you will, appears soft on the outside it nevertheless tough on the inside. Let me explain that last comment. In distributive bargaining we use, all too often, threatening tones and rhetoric, and ultimatums. In distributive bargaining, negotiations often result in outcomes that focused more on compromise while not satisfying the legitimate interests of each party. By using a integrative bargaining type, the process requires the parties work together mutually to satisfy their respective interests. In this lecture you will hear terms that are part of the process used in integrative bargaining. These terms will include words such as interests, options, criteria, and alternatives. This lecture will introduce the specific process of integrative negotiations and will demonstrate the distinction between integrative and distributive bargaining. Before we move to the next slide I want to comment and share that my experience with interest-based negotiations has resulted in better agreements that satisfied the interests of the parties to a much greater level than had they used a distributive bargaining style. Along with that experience I will share that it does require more time and a greater commitment. It requires patience, perseverance, and optimism in the outcome. It is easy to fall back to distributive bargaining techniques because of the competitive nature that seems suited for collective bargaining. However I will reemphasize that my own experience demonstrated the outcomes were more satisfying and successful. The difficulty is reaching agreement with the other party to engage in integrative bargaining. It is also difficult to change the perception of the members that interest-based negotiations is a soft or co-opting style. Actually, while the style appears to be soft on the outside, the process places more protections on the parties to say yes or say no to a proposal. This will all be explained further in this lecture. Now let’s move to the substance of our topic. However I should note that this lecture will be divided into 2 parts due to the length of time required to do a thorough presentation of this topic. The 2 nd part of this lecture will be posted in lesson 8.
Interest-based bargaining has certain assumptions and beliefs that the parties must agree to in order for the negotiations to have an opportunity for a successful outcome. It assumes that all parties have the right to exist. This means that the union is accepted and respected by management. This assumes that management is accepted and respected by the union. This assumes that the parties must coexist and it is better to coexist in a positive relationship than in a negative relationship. It assumes that all parties have legitimate interests. Our interests are what bring us to the table. Our interests are what we seek to have satisfied through negotiations. It assumes, that if as a negotiator, I share the interests of the employees and the union than those interest are legitimate. For example if a negotiator shares with the other side that employees of the bargaining unit have concerns about their childcare, their education, their commute, etc. then these issues would be expressed in the form of interests. For instance each of these areas just mentioned could involve a need for more flexibility in the work hours. Having flexibility in work hours could be one option that would assist the employees in satisfying their interests. Just as the interest of the employees are legitimate then so are those of management. Another assumption or belief is that negotiations can enhance our relationship. It is an opportunity for the parties to come together to discuss their issues in an attempt to satisfy their interests and solve the issue or problem, and as a result help restore, maintain, or enhance the relationship. Solutions are more durable. This is a belief or assumption that is built in to the integrative negotiations process. To be clear you may hear me use different terms interchangeably such as integrative bargaining and interest based bargaining to me they’re the same and I want you to think of them as the same also for purposes of this lesson. Now back to solutions. Again it assumes solutions are more durable. Why? Because the parties have made a mutual commitment to find solutions together that satisfies the interest of both parties. It does not result in a solution being found and applied at the expense of the other party giving up their interest. It assumes that mutual gain is possible. It dispels the theory in distributive bargaining that negotiations can only be a win-lose proposition. Interest-based bargaining assumes that the parties may achieve, to the extent possible, an equal share of the pie.
Interest based bargaining assumes that the parties will help each other to achieve positive results. This means not only satisfying the interest and solving the problems but also will lead to a better relationship between the union and management. In distributive bargaining it can be difficult to gain full access and full disclosure of important facts and information that is necessary for negotiating. More specifically this burden far to often falls on union to gain access to vital information. Even though the national Labor Relations act requires that the employer turn over necessary and relevant information is not always easy to acquire that information and may require the union to file unfair labor practice charges in order to secure that information. Interest-based bargaining assumes that the parties understand and have agreed to full disclosure of information. It assumes that there will be trust, authenticity, and honesty in the disclosure of information. It assumes that the information will be disclosed and shared in a timely manner. This is an extraordinary commitment that will significantly benefit the parties. Criteria becomes the measure of acceptance and rejection of proposals and not the threat of power. This means that the parties will rely on legitimate criteria and will not be threatening each other with strikes or lockouts or other forms of concerted activities. As a point of clarification, I want to point out that this does not mean that an exercise of power will not be necessary at some time in the future should the parties be unable to reach agreement. Despite all efforts using the integrative process of bargaining it does not guarantee on all occasions that bargaining will be completely successful and will not require power to be executed. And last of the assumptions and beliefs is the expansion of dialogue with the constituencies within the union and company. This assumes the parties will dialogue more freely and openly with their respective constituencies in order to engage more persons in the negotiations process in an attempt to reach agreement and solve issues.
Interest-based bargaining has principles. Those principles are simple. The parties focus on issues. The parties focus on the underlying interests. The parties focus on their mutual interest. There are 3 types of interests. There are shared interest, compatible interests, and conflicting interests. Conflicting interests represent the greatest challenge in collective bargaining. Conflicting interests requires the parties to work harder to find a solution that will satisfy their interests in a manner that will either eliminate or reduce the potential conflict. Another principle is that options are measured and accepted based on objective criteria and not exercise of power. And last is the principal that information will be shared which we just discussed in the previous slide.
There is a specific process associated with interest based bargaining. Some call it a cycle. I call it the process. You could also call it steps. 1 st the parties will select and focus on an issue. 2 nd the parties will then discuss and list the interests as relates to that issue. Actually you list your interest 1 st and then you discuss your interest. Both parties share their interests as it relates to the issue. There are no hidden agendas. There is no holding your cards close to your chest. The process assumes that if you want the party to understand why the issue is important then it will require the party or parties to disclose what their underlying interests are. What interests need to be satisfied in order for this issue to be solved and an be agreement reached between the parties that will result in a resolution of the issue or problem. Instead of of stating your position which is generally a proposal that promotes one idea on how the problem could be resolved, the process requires the parties generate a number of options. These options replace positions. Each option represents a potential solution. Then these options are measured against interests and criteria. To give you an easy example that most of us can relate to, let’s assume you’re going to buy a car. You may use a number of data sources as your criteria for negotiating a final purchase price. You may use Consumer Reports for example. Having this criteria guarantees you against negotiating a deal that would be contrary to to your interests. For instance lets say your interests are to have reliable transportation while at the same time having the ability to save money. The issue or problem is that your current automobile is not reliable and therefore not satisfying your interest to have reliable transportation. There are several options available that could provide you reliable transportation, which I will not include now, but you have chosen as your best option to purchase a new car. Now remember your other interest was to save money. By having your Consumer Reports documentation as your measurement of a fair price you have criteria to protect you from entering into a sales contract that would cost you more than you actually wanted to pay. Remember the interests of the auto dealer is to maximize the price of their sale in order to increase their profit. There are two other steps within the process of interest based bargaining and that is once the parties have selected their options than they will develop that option further to make it more attractive to satisfy their interests. Finally it will be reduced to writing, thus resulting in contract language and obtaining a solution to the original issue or problem.
Interest based bargaining incorporates several techniques into the process. Brainstorming is an essential part of the process. It assumes that the parties will be creative and think, out-of-the-box, to come up with ideas that will satisfy the interests of the parties. It assumes that the more thinking the parties do together then the more ideas that are generated. This creates a greater the opportunity for the interests of the parties to be satisfied and solutions to be developed. It also assumes that during the brainstorming process that judgment of the options, that are generated, will be suspended until such time the brainstorming has been fully exhausted. It is then options generated during the brainstorming process will be measured against interests and criteria. It is unrealistic to expect one or both parties to accept an option that will not satisfy their legitimate interests. Then that option will be dismissed. Consensus decision-making becomes an important element of interest based bargaining. Instead of your typical union or management private caucuses used to formulate new positions and counterproposals, the parties now actively work together openly and reach decisions through consensus. This means that persons or parties are not forced or coerced into settling for something that would not satisfy their interest. While unanimous agreement may not always be possible consensus decision-making request that those that may not be crazy about a particular solution will nevertheless commit themselves to accepting the solution in support of those that do. Active listing is a critical component. It it asks of all participants to be active listeners and not pseudo-listeners. In lesson 8 there will be component of active listening. Feedback becomes essential. This means that any person actively engaged in the process is encouraged to ask questions and test their assumptions. Members of the bargaining committees may assume roles in facilitating meetings of the parties either as a whole or sometimes in subgroups. And it’s logical to include the technique of open mindedness to ensure legitimate consideration of the matters before the parties.
In the previous slide I discussed consensus decision-making briefly. Let’s look at this in terms of the definition of consensus decision making. While this reads for itself I will read it out loud. A decision which all members of the group can agree upon. The decision may not be everyone’s 1 st choice but they have heard it and everyone can live with it. As I said in the previous slide this is a decision that the group can agree upon, but it may not result in everyone agreeing to the option. But there is commitment and therefore everyone will agree to keep that commitment. However, If a person or a group does not believe that they can keep the commitment to the solution offered then there is not a consensus and will require the parties to continue their work until such time that they can arrive at a consensus and that all in the group have a strong conviction to support the solution.
Why consensus decision-making? Why not just go back to the private caucus style of decision-making. Well the answers are provided for us on this slide. it builds group unity. It maximizes group input. It does achieve commitment and results in satisfaction. And it does improve relationships. This is not theoretical. It does work. I have used it, witnessed it, and experienced it. But again it is difficult for negotiators to give up old habits. There is a tendency for those engaging in this process to want to return to a private style of deliberation. But once the parties who are engaged in integrative bargaining digress to using the traditional private then a return to the consensus decision-making effort is most often tainted with distrust.
Here is a graphic illustration of a working definition of consensus. Obviously when all individuals accept a solution then you have 100% acceptance of that solution. This may not always be the case. You may have, for instance in this example only 70% who accept the solution and 30% who would rather not accept the solution. This means you have 70% of the people who are comfortable and 30% who are not so comfortable. The question comes down to whether or not the 30% who are uncomfortable, or it could be 10 or 20%, are committed to accepting the solution. If any individual are not, only uncomfortable, but cannot commit to the solution then there isn’t a consensus and an effort must be made to gain acceptance. This means that the existing solution must be either improved or a new solution must be created that will lead to 100% commitment. Now we will stop here because in the next half of this lecture we will be discussing in more detail other elements of interest based negotiations. These will be presented in Lesson 8.
Interest Based Bargaining
Interest Based Negotiations Integrative Bargaining Type – Part 1
Assumptions/Beliefs <ul><li>All parties have a right to exist </li></ul><ul><li>All parties have legitimate interests </li></ul><ul><li>Negotiation can enhance relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Solutions are more durable </li></ul><ul><li>Mutual gain is possible </li></ul>
Assumptions/Beliefs <ul><li>Help each other achieve positive results </li></ul><ul><li>Full disclosure of information is useful </li></ul><ul><li>Rely on criteria, not power </li></ul><ul><li>Expand dialog with constituency </li></ul>
Principles <ul><li>Focus on issues </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on underlying interests </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on mutual interests </li></ul><ul><li>Judge options with objective criteria, not power </li></ul><ul><li>Share Information </li></ul>
Steps: The Interest-Based Problem Solving Cycle <ul><li>Select and focus the issue </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss and list interests </li></ul><ul><li>Generate options </li></ul><ul><li>Establish criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Apply the criteria to the options </li></ul><ul><li>Develop the solution </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce the solution to writing </li></ul>
CONSENSUS DECISION MAKING <ul><li>DEFINITION: A decision which all members of a group can agree upon. The decision may not be everyone’s first choice, but they have heard it and everyone can live with it. </li></ul><ul><li>PROCESS: The group must agree to work together until they find a solution that doesn’t compromise strong convictions or needs. </li></ul>
WHY CONSENSUS DECISION MAKING? <ul><li>BUILDS GROUP UNITY </li></ul><ul><li>MAXIMIZES GROUP INPUT </li></ul><ul><li>ACHIEVES COMMITMENT & SATISFACTION </li></ul><ul><li>IMPROVES RELATIONSHIPS </li></ul>
A Working Definition of Consensus 70% COMFORTABLE 100% COMMITTED