The method of principled negotiation provides an alternative which combines both hard and soft ways and look into issues based on their merits. It is a method hard on merits while soft on people. It also helps the negotiator acquire what he is entitled to in a fair manner and at the same time prevents unnecessary exploitations. There are four basic points to the method: Firstly, to separate the people from the problem, secondly, to focus on interests and not positions, thirdly, to generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do and lastly, to insist that the result be based on some objective standard. Next, the question of whether the method helps in overcoming problems arising from standard strategies of positional bargaining? Before I begin on that, let me identify the likely problems of positional bargaining.
Positional bargaining takes place when each side to a conflict take a position and makes concessions to reach a compromise.
Although such a way of negotiation might result in agreement, however the process is not efficient and sometimes can prove to be not amicable. The reason is due to the parties' tendency towards locking themselves into their positions and this worsens the moment he tries to defend his position. Gradually, egoism comes into play and in order to "save face", it becomes increasingly difficult for both parties to arrive at an agreement that reconcile their original interests. Thus the underlying issues that concerns the parties will be neglected if they put too much emphasis in positions and have the consequence whereby any agreement, if any, is unsatisfactory for both parties as it is not crafted to meet their needs. In other words, there is no win-win situation.
Another problem that comes with positional bargaining is that of time and cost. This is...