is the role of Ethics in Business Negotiation?
OF ETHICAL NEGOTIATION
does the word negotiation mean?
it create any negative atmosphere?
Yes, some people do think like that. People relate always
to what others are selling, that is the main reason for them to think that it
creates negative atmosphere. A solid definition of negotiation is “Two
or more people exchanging ideas discussion
aimed at reaching an agreement.”
Negotiation means meeting someone’s interest. When
someone else stands in the way, negotiator faces the core ethical issue of
If you search
for the word “ethics” in a dictionary then you can find that it means “a
system of moral principles or values; the rules or standards governing the
conduct of members of a profession; accepted principles of right or wrong.”
Ethics is the basis of doing right things, being fair and honest.
Reputation is very important in negotiation, it helps
in gaining the trust of the other party. Anyone who has negotiated a high value
deal knows very well that. If you have a bad reputation there is very less
chance for them to do business with you.
At the same time, it is easy to reach a compromise when you have
reputation in being fair, honest and are doing right things, then both the parties
can be benefited.
It is not easy to build up a reputation and will not
happen overnight. It will take some time to gain the respect of others but only
few parties can damage it completely. In negotiation it is really important to
think twice before saying anything.
are some points that will ensure that you build all your negotiations on
foundation of ethics.
is the best policy
Your future negotiations will surely get affected if
the other parties know that you are not being honest. You should definitely let
them know as soon as possible in case the other party forgets to do an invoice.
This leads to build a strong relationship between you and the other party.
have multiple options
All the things may not go exactly as you have planned
and the other party may not like what you have to offer, so going in with
several other options will help both the parties to achieve your goals. It is
really very important to make sure that both you and your counter party bring
ethical options to the table.
keep your word
It is easy to make promises but following up may not
be that simple. Sometimes when you are very eager to seal the deal, you could
make some promises that you could not keep. Avoid that type of promises if
possible and try your best to your word.
what is not negotiable
Whenever we want to negotiate we have to be sure about
the place we are going to negotiate. This is simply not an area that is
negotiable and what is not will make you a much more effective negotiator.
ready to say no
Some negotiators are quite comfortable
looking at the other party and saying “no” when they feel that
something is not correct. Others feel anxious that saying “no” seems contentious,
even when a proposal does not seem to be ethical, then subsequently they repent
agreeing to the proposal. Being prepared to say “no” to something
that is not right is an excellent strength.
accustomed with law
Lack of knowledge or information of the
law is not a good justification for unethical behaviour. When there is a doubt
about the law governing in some aspect of your negotiation, check it out.
Study the concept of “no surprises”
Making sure that a negotiation does not
contain any negative surprises will lower the chances of an ethical downturn.
the platinum rule
The Golden Rule tells us to treat people
the way we would like to be treated. The Platinum Rule tells us to treat people
the way they want to be treated. Caring about your counterparts enough to treat
them the way they want to be treated helps build long-term relationships based
on ethics and trust.
willing to walk away from a deal
When it comes to productive negotiations, some
of the leading deals you will ever build are the ones you did not build. All of
us have examined buying something from an individual, or entering into a
business relationship with a company, and just getting a short feeling that we
should say “no.” Later, when we hear negative information about this
individual or company, the information will reinforce the fact that we had made
a great decision. In negotiations, your head may try to rationalize deal points
to make your gut feel more pleasant. Remember to go with your gut instinct,
since it does not rationalize as well as your head.
are some starting points for thinking about ethical choices you face as a
decisions are made in public context:
kind of work you pick and the kind of people you hang out with, will finally
shape your ethical choices as a negotiator. If you care about having sincere
and undiplomatic relations with others, think carefully about what kind of associates,
friends, and clients you want to have in your life.
if you choose to lie or be unethical , be honest with yourself:
If you are deceptive, you can end up
rationalizing your actions to yourself also. Over time you will be habituated
to tell lies or using some other tactics that are risky, unnecessary or
are many unethical negotiation behaviours besides lying:
Harmful or cruel treatment of others,
illegal or unethical threats, bribes, corruption, kickbacks, hate-talk,
violence, ruining someone’s reputation without cause etc.
aware of trade-offs:
Self-protection, bluffing, and
distrust also have a cost. While we worry about the price we might pay for
being forthright or for extending a measure of trust the other party, there is
also a price to pay for withholding information, lying or being suspicious of
them. In addition to the relationship costs of distrust, and the anger of
feeling mistreated, you can incur significant business expenses for protective
measures such as fact-finding, inspections, legal discovery processes, drawing
up legal contracts, keeping detailed records, certifications, etc.
Transactional negotiations lend
themselves to unethical behaviour but even in short one time interactions. You
may think you will never know who your company will hire next year, who might
become a potential client, a political adversary, a useful connection.
standard for fraud
One starting point for ethical choices is “What
In USA, fraud is knowing misrepresentation of material
facts on which the victim reasonably relies resulting in damages.
Of course lawyers can argue for hours about whether an
action fits this set of conditions. It’s up to you as a negotiator to choose
how close to the cliff edge you want to stake.
Conditions for Deception
If you find yourself in these circumstances, be
particularly alert to possible deception:
party has little to lose or much to gain from deception.
asymmetry is great.
to tell if there is intent to deceive.
is difficult. Parties don’t have resources to safeguard against deception.
or interdependence between parties is infrequent.
deception is caught, redress is difficult.
about reputation is unavailable, unreliable, and costly.
that promote Honesty
Mechanisms, formal and informal, that can help build
and sustain trust between negotiating parties:
Social and institutional support
Building personal relationships and interdependence
Laws and regulations
Independent sources for facts and
Institutional sources of information of
Standardized contract mechanisms and norms