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Online Course

GMBA833 Negotiate and resolve conflict

Macquarie University via Coursera

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Overview

Many workplaces today are marked by unclear lines of authority and dynamic spheres of influence. To be effective as a leader in such complex environments, managers must learn to navigate great complexity and create internal and external relationships that have mutual utility, that are marked by ownership and commitment and that help to create sustainable economic value. Amid complex ecosystems of: employees; partners; customers; distributors and suppliers there also exists a complex set of agreements - formal, informal and even tacit. Increasingly and especially in some cultures, agreements need to be adaptive to changing circumstances and thus relationship management is also a critical variable in negotiation. In sum, modern managers must learn to design and negotiate complex agreements and learn to be successful within diverse workplace cultures. Knowledge of, and personal competence in, negotiation and conflict resolution play a central role in both individual effectiveness and overall workplace productivity. More effective negotiation and conflict resolution can also help foster participative decision making norms that promote job satisfaction, employee engagement and lead to inclusive workplace cultures.

Syllabus

Resolving conflicts and negotiating agreements in the new world of work
-Negotiation and conflict resolution have long been considered important skills for managers. Now, as the future of work comes into focus, a mastery of negotiation and conflict resolution. along with superior interpersonal skills, cultural competencies and emotional intelligence, are seen by many as essential. These relating skills define resilient leaders, support sustainable organisations and are a distinctive feature of healthy and inclusive communities. This week you will explore concepts central to the fields of negotiation and conflict resolution. You will learn to recognise negotiation opportunities when they arise, how to differentiate between negotiation and conflict resolution situations and how to analyse and plan an intervention so you are well prepared before you begin to interact with a counterpart or with others locked into conflict.

Theories of conflict, pathways to resolution
-What causes negotiation breakdowns and escalations of conflict? Are disagreements, difficult conversations and such problems at work something to be avoided? Or, is human conflict an inevitable and indeed necessary feature of healthy organisations and societies? This week we examine some of the core principles used to address social conflict across a range of different contexts; from interpersonal situations through to workplace conflict and also conflict in and between communities. You will learn some of the common reasons why deadlocks and other difficulties emerge and why negotiations sometimes stall and even ‘break-down’.

Building and using a skillset: Moving from ‘knowing to doing’
-The renowned 20th century psychologist Erik Erikson once said that ‘the more you know yourself, the more patience you have for what you see in others’. Eriksen’s words ring true for negotiators; it is crucial that negotiators come to know their own “hot buttons” and to be self-aware - of values, biases, beliefs and the effect of certain behaviours. This week you will be introduced to several methods of self-assessment to help you gain that self awareness. One of these tools will help you identify what is called your ‘conflict style’. By completing a self-assessment students will become aware of, and then consider the likely implications of, their preferred conflict styles on their interpersonal effectiveness. To add context and aid discussion you will review several organisational cases that highlight how a lack of self awareness can lead to unresolved organisational conflicts and can have serious consequences on both individuals and on organisations.

The three negotiations: Content, process, and relationship
-Within every situation labelled “a negotiation” there will often exist a number of ‘subordinate’ negotiations that must be successfully navigated to achieve a successful outcome. In addition to the stated negotiation agenda - the topic at the centre of the discussion - we can identify two other negotiations. Firstly, there is a negotiation that takes place around the parties’ current or future relationship, and secondly, there is a negotiation that takes place around the process that will be followed. While these subordinate negotiations are clearly very important, they are often largely ignored when negotiators are planning. In this week’s session you will learn about what are called “the three negotiations” - content, process and relationship. You will learn how to identify process problems in negotiation and how to bring a stalled negotiation back on track. You will learn how to build trust in negotiation and how to preserve or enhance your relationship with your negotiation counterparts without compromising your own interests.

When context matters: Negotiating across a cultural divide
-How should negotiators adjust their approach when working across a cultural divide? We address the critical question of culture this week and look at a number of key issues faced by negotiators when working across cultures. You will learn how cultural values manifest as different expectations and in communication differences in negotiation. You will learn about how to read a room for subtle messages. You will also learn about the concept of ‘saving face’ in negotiation and its importance especially in Asian countries and how to adjust your style to account for cultural differences and ambiguous situations.

Coping with complexity: From multi-party negotiation to conflict transformation
-How do we cope with complexity in negotiation and conflict resolution? What makes certain situations more complex and more difficult to resolve than others? To answer these questions we consider the following issues: the length of time involved, the number of issues under review, the number of parties involved and how ‘invested’ they are in a particular outcome. This week you will learn what makes certain situations more complex and how to deal with this complexity. We study the role of sequencing in negotiation (breaking a large negotiation down into a series or sequence of smaller negotiations) and you will also learn about an approach called 3D negotiation in which a holistic negotiation strategy is emphasized where what happens away from the table (changing the context) is seen as a crucial variables influencing the final outcome. This week you will also study how complex conflicts can be redefined, reframed and ultimately transformed an exciting new direction in the field of conflict resolution.

Taught by

Dr Andrew Heys

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