Essay on Key Lessons to Consider in a Negotiation

Essay on Key Lessons to Consider in a Negotiation

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Participating in the scenario about drug testing in the workplace provided some key lessons to consider in a negotiation. Those lessons have influenced the way I approach a negotiation and altered the how I look at conflict in the workplace.
It is important to understand that, while a negotiation framework is important, the structure of a framework can be flexible. In the exercise, a clear framework was constructed prior to the negotiation. Terry, the truck driver, had a positive drug test. He then entered into a meeting with his superior and a counselor in which they would discuss his future at the company. The rule was very clear: drivers must be tested for drugs. Initially, I viewed the rule the same as policy. There was little room for negotiation because of a ridged rule. This could be a result of bias growing up in a culture of zero-tolerance with drugs in the school/workplace. According to the case, if a driver were caught with drugs in his system there were only two options: discharge or enter a treatment center. However, the framework of the negotiation was set up to solve the problem the rule was attempting to address: impairment on the road. The rule required random drug testing. In order to comply with the rule, the company set a policy that dictated a certain limit on the presence of drugs. What I discovered in reviewing the scenario was that the policy that implements the process for complying with a rule can be much more flexible. Terry did initially have two options, but a flexible framework allowed new facts to come to light, which created the need to consider other actions that may be more appropriate. In the case of Terry, while he didn’t partake in drugs, he was in an environment that caused him to test posit...


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...driver, then there was a level of flexibility in the negotiation. Terry had drugs in his system but it did not mean that he was unfit to drive. On the other hand, if the interest was to replace Terry with a lower paid driver, there was no room for negotiation. The superior would not be entering the situation in good faith and the only outcome would have been discharge.


For my career, the case teaches about the need for an awareness of the unintended consequences of policy. The problem is that rules are never perfect and require a flexible policy. Procedures become outdated and new information must be incorporated. A standard policy is not always applicable to a changing business environment. While managers cannot disobey policy, there needs to be room for exceptions. This is particularly necessary when, as we saw in the case, the policy is systematically flawed

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