Ethics in Negotiations: The Confrontation between Representation and Practices
Abstract:While in practice negotiation is always a mix of
cooperation and competition, these two elements correspond to
different approaches of the relationship and also different orientations
in term of strategy, techniques, tactics and arguments employed by
the negotiators with related effects and in the end leading to different
outcomes. The levels of honesty, trust and therefore cooperation are
influenced not only by the uncertainty of the situation, the objectives,
stakes or power but also by the orientation given from the very
beginning of the relationship. When negotiation is reduced to a
confrontation of power, participants rely on coercive measures, using
different kinds of threats or make false promises and bluff in order to
establish a more acceptable balance of power.
Most of the negotiators have a tendency to complain about the
unethical aspects of the tactics used by their counterparts while, as
the same time, they are mostly unaware of the sources of influence of
their own vision and practices. In this article, our intention is to
clarify these sources and try to understand what can lead negotiators
to unethical practices.
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