Negotiation Process: Face Negotiation Theory

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As our level of intimacy with others increases, more information becomes available. If we do not take this step and only rushingly continue to negotiate, the other party will feel that we are being pushy and aggressive. When they feel this way, it is impossible for the negotiation process to go smoothly. To get more information from others, try asking more broad and open ended questions instead of more focused questions. This is because these questions will encourage them to talk more.

Face negotiation theory provides an explanatory framework that explains the similarities and differences in the face and facework in the event of a conflict. In short, this theory argues that; first, people in every culture try to maintain and negotiate face in all communication situations. Second, the concept of face becomes extremely problematic in situations of uncertainty such as embarrassment and conflict situations, when the situated identity of the communicators is questioned. Third, cultural variability, individual-level variables, and situational variables influence the choice of culture over one face concern over another. And finally, face concerns influence the use of various face works and conflict strategies in intergroup and interpersonal meetings.

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When people are more individualistic than group, they are driven by individualistic perspectives. Individualism refers to people’s tendency to emphasize individual identity over group identity, individual rights over group rights, and individual needs over group needs. Individualistic values highlight freedom, honesty, comfort, and personal equality, among others.

Whereas individualism focuses on one’s personal identity, collectivism look outside the self. Collectivism is an emphasis on group goals over individual goals, group obligations over individual rights, group needs over individual wants. People in collectivistic value cultures work together and see themselves as part of a larger group. Collectivistic values emphasize harmony, respect the wishes of parents, and meet the needs of another’s, among others.

The individualistic-collectivistic cultural dimensions influence the choice of style of conflict. This style refers to patterned responses, or the typical way of handling conflicts across multiple communication encounters. The 5 styles are avoiding, obliging, compromising, dominating, and integrating.

In avoiding, people will try to avoid disagreements and stay away from unpleasant. Obliging style includes passive behaviors that try to satisfy the needs of others or simply follow other people’s suggestions. In compromising, individuals try to find a middle ground to solve their impasses and use give-and-take to make the compromise possible. Dominating style includes behaviors that involve the use of influence, power, or expertise to get ideas or to make decisions. Finally, integrating is used by people to find solutions to problems. The decision to adopt one or more of these styles depends on the cultural variability of communicators.

What can be associated between face negotiation theory and negotiation process is it is fitting with the second phase of negotiation process which is bargaining. Bargaining is the heart of the negotiation process and it’s very important. Bargaining does not always require both parties to reach an agreement, it can happen otherwise. Bargaining phase involves coming closer to the desired objective from the beginning of the negotiation process. In this phase, the basic strategy is to convince the other party of the appropriateness of our request and then persuade the other party to acknowledge the request.

The various techniques that can be used during the bargaining process include; improving listening skills, anticipate compromises, avoid absorbing other party issues, stick to original principles, and close with validation. Like all interpersonal relations, emotions can help or hinder the process. Negotiator’s specific tools and behavioral skills are very important in this phase. Good communication skills are very important at this time.

According to the conflict styles in face negotiation theory, compromising styles are best used in the bargaining phase. These styles emphasize the use of the give-and-take concept. In a bargaining process, both parties must give and take. It must be fair, not just one party giving while the other just receiving. It must meet the needs of both parties. Both must also be willing to do the things, not just because they have to.

In bargaining, both parties try to meet their own needs and demands or we can call it mutual gain. So in order to do so, they need to compromise well. There is a need for good communication skills to give in and give out information. But if they do not compromise well, it will lead to dominating styles that only one party meets their needs, while the other party is at a disadvantage.

The way to create a mutual gain solution is first, brainstorming to come up with a wide range of options. Next, identify shared values to help create choices that will meet both the needs and demands of both parties. Also, change the scope of the negotiation by making it smaller or larger. Finally, identify issues that can be used in future negotiations.


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