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What Is Your Negotiation Style?

FORCING

John disagrees with the way his boss treats the women employees. He talks to his boss about it. They get into a fight. The boss tells John to mind his own business, or else to look for a new job. John shuts up immediately.

Forcing is common in situations where the power balance is typically unequal: Parent and child, teacher and student, boss and employee. It often involves a threat, such as, "If you don't do what I want, I'll fire you," or "If you don't do what I want, I'll put you on restriction." When one person has more power than the other, the person with less power often sees no choice but to give in to what the more powerful person wants.

COMPROMISING

Markus and Julia, who both live in Seattle, are trying to decide where to go on vacation. Julia wants to go to the beach where it's really warm and relaxing. Markus wants to go camping in the mountains in Canada, where the weather is cool. They compromise. They go to a mountain resort in Southern California.

Compromising usually requires that both people give up something in order to reach an agreement. It seems fair because both sides win and lose. This style of conflict resolution is common. Unfortunately, neither person usually gets exactly what s/he wants. This can lead to angry feelings later.

ACCOMMODATING

Alex and Paul have been friends for a long time. When they began having conflict over $10, Alex gives in even though deep inside he feels he is right. To Alex, his relationship with Paul is more important than a small amount of money.

Accommodating occurs when one person feels that his relationship with someone is more important than the conflict. He gives up his side of the argument in order to have peace and not damage the relationship.

COLLABORATING

Sonja and Michele are arguing about which video to rent. One wants a comedy, the other wants a drama. After arguing for awhile, they decided to ask the clerk for recommendations. After talking to the clerk, they decide on a comedy/drama.

Collaborating means that both people are satisfied with the agreement they finally reach. When people want totally different things, collaborating can be time consuming, since it requires that both people are happy with the final outcome.

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