We negotiate a great deal – more than we realise. Sometimes it goes smoothly, sometimes it seems difficult. While there is much advice about how to negotiate and be a ‘winning negotiator’, the actual experience does not seem as straightforward as books suggest. Why? Because negotiation is a complex process. This book grapples with these complexities while recognising the idiosyncrasies of both the negotiation process and the negotiator.
This opening chapter explores some core complexities of negotia- tion, providing a foundation for later chapters. Although this book will focus on the business context, the principles and skills can be applied in other contexts such as interpersonal negotiation, sales or when resolv- ing legal, environmental and social issues. Very few people are employed solely as professional negotiators; for most of us it is just an integral, perhaps unrecognised, part of our job. Figure 1.1 is a ‘map’ developed from an exercise within a company to identify who has to negotiate with whom and over what. It shows that throughout an organisation, nego- tiation is deeply embedded as a way of getting things done. Even this map does not show the full complexity of the internal negotiations par- ticularly in the production stage where managers and supervisors are constantly negotiating with each other over scheduling and the use of resources.