BASEBALL STRIKE IN BASELAND.
Every year in Braseland there are negotiations between the baseball players’ union and the baseball team owners about pay and conditions for the coming season. Last year, after months of negotiations, there was deadlock: the negotiations broke down. Some commentators said there was stalemate; an impasse: a situation where no progress could be made. There were irreconcilable differences between the two sides and it was impossible to reach an agreement. The baseball players went on strike.
The two sides agreed to bring in a mediator, someone from outside to help restart the negotiations and bring the two sides closer together in a process of mediation. The person they chose was a respected retired politician. He recommended a cooling-off period where each side would take no action. The players ended their strike for the time being.
Another month passed, and still there was no progress. The two sides agreed to accept an agreement imposed by an arbitrator. A judge was chosen. She looked at the claims of each side and imposed a settlement or resolution to the dispute, fixing the salaries and working conditions of the players. In this case, arbitration had settled the dispute.
Exercise 3. Read the text again and define if there is sufficient information in the text to answer the following questions:
1. What happens in Baseland every year?
2. When did the negotiations break down?
3. What did the baseball players do?
4. Who was chosen as a mediator?
5. What is a cooling-off period?
6. When did the players end their strike?
7. Why didn’t the two sides reach an agreement?
8. Who was to blame for not reaching an agreement?
9. How did it happen that they reach an agreement?
10. What claims did the judge suggest?
11. What resolution did the two sides work out?
Exercise 4. Look at the words from the text above and say if these statements are True (T) or False (F).
Exercise 5. Match these words to their definitions:
Exercise 6. Compare the definitions above with the following explanations. Are they conflicting?
An agreement of any kind is a deal. When you reach an agreement, you can talk about clinching a deal or closing a deal.
A bargain is also an agreement reached through negotiation. People who get what they want in a negotiation are said to drive a hard bargain.
An agreement may be in the form of a contract.
«Contract» is used in these combinations.
It’s important to check the points of an agreement to avoid misunderstandings.
You could say:
1. Let me just go/run over (repeat and summarise) the main points.
2. Oh, we agreed that …
3. As far as B is concerned (in relation to B), we agreed …
4. We still have the question of C to setttle.
5. And there’s still the outstanding (remaining undecided) issue of D.
6. We’ll send you a written proposal.
7. We’ll draw up (write) a contract based on those points.
8. I think that covers everything.
Exercise 7. The words below offer a clear indication of the result of a negotiation. Decide which of these words would indicate a positive outcome (p.o) and which a negative outcome (n.o).
Now read the extracts to check your answers.
I think it’s clear we have no agreement. We’re wasting time here, so thank you for talking to us, we’ve had a busy morning. I think we’ll leave and perhaps another time we’ll find some way to work together.
Well, I think that’s been useful. I’ll send you a letter summarising what we’ve agreed and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.
If that’s everything, I’d like to say many thanks for coming today – it’s been very good. I think we have a very satisfactory agreement and so, for the next step, we will send you the detailed specifications in two weeks.
So, I think we can both see that we are not quite ready to sign anything just now. Perhaps in future we may be able to reach agreement but, unfortunately, for the moment, we are some way apart. Anyway, thanks for coming, it’s been interesting.
I’m sorry we’ve been unable to agree. It’s a shame, but it looks like we need more time to settle our problems. In the meantime, I think we should have a think about the issues which are dividing us. Perhaps in the next few days our positions my change, in which case, we know how to contact each other.
Exercise 8. Suggest what you could say in the following situations.
After a long negotiation, you have reached agreement and now plan a meal in a local restaurant with the other party in the negotiation.
Your efforts to reach agreement have been unsuccessful. It is late. End the negotiation but offer some hope that in the future you might manage some cooperation with the other side.
A colleague has asked you to cooperate on a project, but after long discussion you feel you cannot participate because of fundamental disagreement. It is important that you continue to work together in other areas.
Practice 1. Internet research.
Search for the keywords «successful negotiations» to find out more about negotiating. Make a list of five tips to remember when you are negating.
Practice 2. Internet research.
Search for the keywords «win-win negotiation». What are the principles behind it?
Practice 3. Internet research.
Search for the keywords «principled negotiation» to find out about a popular approach to negotiation.
Practice 4. Internet research.
Search for the keywords «cross cultural negotiation» to find out how cultural differences affect international negotiations.
Practice 5. Role play this situation.
A representative of a website maintenance company meets a company manager to negotiate a maintenance contract.
Read your role cards. Then do the negotiation.
Website maintenance company representative: you want:
1. A three-year contract.
This allows you to offer the best service to customers and it will be profitable for you.
2. To test the website each month.
This will give the best level of service to the client and increase your earnings.
3. Response time – 24 hours.
You want the company to contract you by e-mail if there is an emergency.
You want up to 24 hours to solve any problems.
Company manager. You want:
1. A one year contract.
You want to see how well the company does the job and if they are reliable before giving them a long contract.
2. To have the website tested every three months.
You want the maintenance costs to be as low as possible. However, you would like to have weekly checks on the security of the website.
3. Response time – two hours.
You want to contract them at any hour by phone if there is an emergency. You want the maintenance company to solve any problems within two hours.
Practice 7. Role play this situation.
One day staff find that prices have risen by over 50% in the staff restaurant. This is because the company has stopped subsiding all drinks and meals. Their union representative meets the general manager to discuss the problem. You are either: the union representative or the general manager.
The workers are very unhappy with the price increases. They think that the subsidised restaurant is part of their terms and conditions of work. They are also angry that management did not discuss their plans with them first. You want to negotiate a solution to the problem. Your objectives are:
1. to get subsidised meals back immediately, or
2. to postpone the cuts in subsidies until the staff have been properly consulted.
You think the staff restaurant still offers good value for money, despite the cuts in subsidies. Prices are roughly similar to those in other companies in your area. The company has to reduce costs or the staff’s salaries will be affected. You want to negotiate and get a good solution to the problem. Your objectives are:
1. to listen carefully to what the union representative says, or
2. to explain why the cuts in subsidies are necessary.
Practice 8. With a partner, use the chart to role play the following negotiations.
1. The marketing company that you work for needs to save money because your competitors have increased their market share. You are going to discuss saving money through reducing catering costs.
2. The offices where you work are going to be pained. They were last painted ten years ago. You are going to discuss what colour the offices should be painted.
3. The engineering company that you work for is thinking of sponsoring a local group in order to raise consumer awareness in the area. You are going to discuss which local group to sponsor.
1. The company needs to save money.
You think a good and easy way is the company canteen should no longer be subsidized. At the moment employees only pay $4.50 per meal, but the real cost is $8. With 20,000 employees that’s a saving of $40,000.
2. The offices will be painted.
You have read that pink is calming and makes you feel happy and secure. To reduce stress and illness at work you suggest all offices are painted pink.
3. Company sponsorship.
You want the company to sponsor the local ice-hockey team, although it’s not playing well this season. It’s an engineering company and the tough image is a good fit.
1. The company needs to save money.
You think the company canteen should stay subsidized as a good meal at midday is very important. You think you can save the same amount of money by installing vending machines for drinks. At the moment drinks cost nothing.
2. The offices will be painted.
You want the offices to be white as usual, you could go along with a pale yellow, but pink is out of the question.
3. Company sponsorship.
You want the company to sponsor the local ballet school. It’s very successful and sponsoring culture is always good. The local hockey team is bottom of the league.
Practice 9. In his book «The Pocket Negotiator», Gavin Kennedy describes two extreme styles of negotiator: Red stylists and Blue stylists.
Read the summary of the two styles. Then decide if you are:
1. A Red stylist
2. A Blue stylist
3. Somewhere between the two styles.
Study the Useful Language box below. Then role play this situation.
One of you is a company employee. The other is the employee’s boss.
Employee: You think you should have a 10% salary increase.
Boss: You think the company can only afford a 2% increase.
Negotiate with each other and try to get a good outcome.
Objective: negotiate a win-win solution.
Step 1. Preparation.
The sales manager of Butternut Co. has booked a conference room in the Admiral Hotel for a meeting with regional sales agents (30 people). The booking is for Wednesday next week. The bookings manager at the hotel phones the sale manager about the booking.
Step 2. Negotiate an agreement.
You have discovered that you made an error in the booking. You have booked two companies into the same room on the same day. The other company booked first, so Butternut will have to change their booking.
You have two other rooms available but they are smaller. One holds 25 people, the other 15 people. You don’t want to lose Butternut’s business, so you need a suitable alternative solution for them. Your boss may not be happy if you have to offer compensation.
You can propose:
1. The room for 30 people on another date (according to availability).
2. One of the smaller rooms at a small discount.
3. Use of both smaller rooms for the price of one room.
4. A full refund plus a small discount off their next booking.
There is a problem with your conference room booking at the hotel. Here are some points to consider in your discussion with the Bookings Manager:
1. You don’t want to change the date of the conference because this would disrupt everybody’s schedules.
2. You don’t really want to find another venue as there isn’t much time before next week.
3. As the hotel has made a mistake, you feel strongly that they should offer reasonable financial compensation.
4. Probably not all 30 delegates will attend. There are usually 4 or 5 people who can’t make it.
Practice 11. Role play.
Conduct a negotiation, involving bargaining and making concessions and accepting and confirming. Work in pairs, A and B.
Choose one of the following topics:
1. negotiating advertising space at football matches;
2. negotiating purchase of a luxury flat in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.
File card A/1
You are a sales representative for an advertising consultancy. You are responsible for selling perimeter advertising for sports arenas in Italy. You sell 25 metre electronic advertising at Italian Serie A (first division) football matches.
Price on live television:
· corner position: $120 per flash (one minute);
· halfway line or behind the goal $240 per flash (one minute);
You can offer discount of up to 20%, but only for deals of three matches or more.
You can offer two free flashes at non-televised games instead of a discount.
You have no space on the halfway line (middle of the playing area) in January and February.
A deal must be for a minimum of 10 flashes per match.
File card B/1
You represent an international fashion house with a major youth market, especially in Italy and Spain. You want to advertise at Italian Serie A (first division) football matches. You have a budget of $10,000. You would like the following:
· electronic advertising at matches on live television only;
· a minimum of ten flashes in every game (a flash = one minute);
· you prefer halfway line positions (they are most often seen by the TVcameras);
· you don’t want behind the goal unless you get a good discount;
· you would like to advertise at between four and six matches in the early part of the year (January – March).
File card A/2
You represent an international company with business links in Tokyo. You urgently need to buy a brand-new luxury apartment in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. You could spend up to 250m, but you would prefer to spend only about 150m because you would like to buy a second, smaller apartment in Hachioji – but this is not essential.
a) Shinjuku is one of the most famous and prestigious districts in downtown Tokyo.
b) You would like the apartment to be near Shinjuku Gyoen Park, or close to Shinjuku station.
c) Hachioji is a suburb – you are not sure exactly where.
d) You need the apartment to be ready in less than three weeks.
e) You want the inside decorated to your specific requirements – you will pay extra for this.
f) You would like an apartment with a swimming pool and tennis courts.
g) You want a large apartment – about 200sq. m.
h) If you cannot have any of the above, you would like to pay less.
File card B/2.
You represent an international property company. You are selling luxury apartments in Tokyo.
a) Apartments in Tokyo are small: land is very expensive.
b) 70sq.m. is normal, 100sq.m. is large by Tokyo standards.
c) It is virtually impossible to provide a swimming pool or tennis courts.
d) You have two new apartments in Shinjuku:
· 100sq.m. at 120m
· 150sq.m. near the Shinjuku Gyoen Park, 200m
e) Shinjuku is one of the most famous and prestigious districts in downtown Tokyo.
f) Prices are negotiable – but no more than 20% less.
g) Hachioji is a suburb, about 40 minutes by train from the centre.
h) You have an excellent apartment in Chofu (near the centre) for sale at 120m.
i) The apartments could be ready in 5 to 6 weeks.
j) Special interior design can be arranged – cost about 20m.
Practice 12. Discuss the following questions:
1. What qualities make a good negotiator?
2. Do you have to negotiate? Do you like negotiating? Why/why not?
3. What are the normal social «rules» in your country in the context of a buyer-customer negotiation?
4. Is every negotiation potentially a win-win one?
5. Do you think that making goodwill gestures is a good idea, or should you always demand concessions in return for the concessions that you make?
6. What sort of agreements or contracts does your orgatization have with others?
Who draws them up?
A. Culture and cultures.
Alexandra Adler is an expert in doing business across cultures. She says: «Culture is «the way we do things here». «Here» may be a country, an area, a social class or an organization such as a company or school. You often talk about:
· company or corporate culture: the way a particular company works, and the things it believes are important;
· canteen culture: the ways that people in an organization such as the police think and talk, not approved by the leaders of an orgatization;
· long-hours culture: where people are expected to work for a long time each day;
· macho culture: ideas typically associated with men: physical strength, aggressiveness, etc.
But you must be careful of stereotypes, fixed ideas that may not be true.
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