மிக விரைவில் சித்தன் கொட்டில் புதிய வடிவில்!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Negotiation: Getting to “Yes”


Negotiation: Getting to “Yes”

Charles Sarvan

“People tend to see what they want to see. Out of a mass of detailed information, they tend to pick out and focus on those facts that confirm their prior perceptions and to disregard or misinterpret those that call their perceptions into question. Each side in a negotiation may see only the merits of its case, and only the faults of the other side’s. The ability to see the situation as the other side sees it [...] is one of the most important skills a negotiator can possess. It is not enough to know that they see things differently [...] you also need to understand empathetically the power of their point of view and to feel the emotional force with which they believe in it”
(Roger Fisher et al, ‘Getting to Yes’, Arrow Books, London, 1992, p. 23)

Fisher describes three different types of negotiation. In ‘soft negotiation’ the participant changes her or his position, and makes offers with the belief that the goal is agreement. However, such an attitude can leave one feeling exploited, taken advantage of, and bitter. In ‘hard negotiation’, participants are distrustful adversaries. The goal is victory, and negotiation becomes a contest of wills where one takes an extreme and inflexible position, “digs in” and makes threats. The third, ‘principled negotiation’ (developed at the Harvard Negotiation Project), seeks “to obtain what you are entitled to and still be decent” (p. xiv).
Among the aspects the book emphasises are the separation of individuals from the problem and, secondly, the focussing, not on the “position” overtly adopted but on (often unexpressed) “interests”. Human beings are creatures of strong emotion, emotions which become entangled with the objective merits of the problem. If others have deeply held values and convictions, remember: so do you (p. 19). The purpose of negotiation should not become one of scoring points, confirming negative impressions, and apportioning blame (ibid). Blaming others for the problem is counterproductive: attacked, the other side becomes defensive; being defensive, they counter-attack by counter-blaming. Rather than only defending your case, invite criticism, and be ready to seriously examine your own case (p. 116).
The challenge is to reconcile not “positions” but “interests”. In “interests”, Fisher includes not only underlying concerns and causes but also wishes – and fears. Positions cloud and distract from interests, from “each side’s needs, desires, concerns and fears” (p. 42). After the Six Day War of 1967, Israel occupied the whole of the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt’s “position” was that, after centuries of domination by Greece, Rome, Turkey, France and Britain, the Sinai was again Egyptian, and every inch should be returned. Though Israel’s “position” was that a part should remain under its control, the real “interest” (in this case, concern), was that Egyptian armour should not be right on its border, able to launch another sudden attack. By looking behind “position” to “interest”, a solution was found: Egypt would resume sovereignty but observe, in practice, a de-militarised zone.
Nadesan Satyendra, in his now discontinued site, lists Sinhalese “interests”, among them that Tamil Eelam will be a first step towards a pan-Tamil state including Tamil Naadu, and that Tamil Eelam will threaten the existence of the Sinhalese Buddhist nation. These concerns were seen as irrational or as mere excuses for rejection and continued ethnic domination: they were not taken seriously by Tamil leaders, discussed and fears allayed. As for the Tamil position, it changed with time and political-historical developments but the fundamental concern and wish, the “interest”, remained the same: justice and recognition, equality and dignity. What immediately follows is taken from my essay, Reign of Anomy (the title adapted from Soyinka’s Season of Anomy:
It is well to remind ourselves that when, in 1925-6, Mr S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, as leader of the Progressive National Party, set out the case for a federal political structure for Sri Lanka and made this the main plank of the political platform of his party, he received no support for it from the Tamils: see, K. M. P. De Silva, A History of Sri Lanka, p. 513. In the 1930s, the Jaffna Youth Congress rejected federalism and, what is more, persuaded almost all the leading schools in Jaffna to teach Sinhala as a compulsory subject. As A E Jayasuriya observed, “At a time when the Sinhalese were prepared to do without Sinhala, the battle for Sinhala and Tamil was fought by Tamil leaders” : see, D Nesiah, Tamil Nationalism, Marga Institute, Colombo, 2001, p. 12. In 1952, the Kankesuntharai parliamentary seat was contested by Chelvanayagam as a member of the Federal Party: he was comfortably defeated by a U.N.P. candidate. Even after the trauma of Standardisation (“racial” quota) in relation to University admission beginning in 1971, and the Draft Constitution of 1972, the All Ceylon Tamil Conference declared, “Our children and our children’s children should be able to say, with one voice, Lanka is our great motherland, and we are one people from shore to shore. We speak two noble languages, but with one voice” (Nesiah, p. 14).
Subsequent “positions” adopted (including the extreme one, somewhat similar to Moses in the Old Testament, vis-a-vis Pharaoh and bondage: “Let me people go”) obscured Tamil “interests”, that is, Tamil concerns, wishes and aspiration: a misunderstanding that has caused horrendous damage and terrible tragedy.
Criteria employed in negotiation must be objective, internationally accepted and independent of both sides. Groups should not insist on the principle of self-determination “as a fundamental right but deny its applicability to those on the other side” (p. 89) Here, a third-party, acceptable to both sides, could play a positive role. Attempts to dominate “threaten a relationship; principled negotiation protects it” (p. 86). The more standards of fairness are brought in, the better and more durable the “final package” will be (ibid). Those who are going to be affected must be involved in discussion, policy and process. Otherwise, they will not approve of the result (p. 27). “We” of the more powerful group, are going to figure out how to solve your problem (p. 28) - a problem created by us in the first place.
Fisher observes that, ultimately, conflict does not lie in some objective reality but in people’s minds (p. 23). Difference exists because it exists in the mind. In other words, the mind does not see an already existing difference – the mind creates the difference. Perhaps, this can be modified to read: What makes the difference is not difference per se (be it language, “race”, skin-colour and / or religion) but the value, importance, significance that we, human beings, attach to that difference. There’s many a “No” and “But” on the way to a mutually agreed, harmonious and happy, “Yes”, but result and reward make the effort worthwhile; indeed, imperative.

0 Kommentare:

Post a Comment