Explaining the situation
The situation Ben and Jocelyn are in revolves around the scarcity of resources. The key resource in the situation is the human resource to complete the various projects spelled out for the department, and its scarcity has created a conflict of interests between the parties involved. The intern can be viewed as a ‘fixed pie’ that the employees are competing to retain. The type of negotiation that is best applicable to the situation is therefore distributive negotiation. The reason why distributive negotiation would be applicable in the situation of conflicting interests of Ben and Jocelyn is that there is only one intern that has to serve the interests of both parties and distributive negotiation applies in situations where there are is a fixed amount of the thing that is to be distributed. The advantage of using distributive negotiation is that it helps solve conflicts with very high stakes like the one Ben and Jocelyn are in, where other methods would automatically fail (Kaczmarek,2010). The disadvantage of distributive negotiation is that in situations where it becomes impossible to guarantee each party the share they want; the negotiation becomes difficult.
Determination of party interests
The best way to determine the true interests of both Jocelyn and Ben would be talking with them separately and asking why each one desperately needs to have the intern work for him or her for most of the time. Getting explanations from both sides would give me a hint on how I will go about explaining on how I have arrived at my conclusion on how the two conflicting employees will share the services of the intern and how the time will be distributed. If the true interests are not accurately identified mainly because of relying on assumptions rather than listening to both parties, the dispute is likely to repeat itself in the near future because the solution that will have been found may not favor one of the parties that may instead choose to work hard and bring us back to the negotiating table and get the best deal in the process.
Steps in negotiation
The first step of negotiation would be preparation and planning where I will have all the facts related to Jocelyn and Ben’s projects as well as the experience of the intern. The next step entails defining ground rules. For example, I will set the venue and make it clear that interruptions will not be tolerated when one party is giving its views. The next step would be clarification and justification where I will give Jocelyn and Ben the opportunity to express their demands and give the reasons behind them. The next step involves bargaining and problem solving where the two parties will agree on how to accommodate each other’s interests and at this point concessions are inevitable for both parties (Lewicki, Barry & Saunders,2016). The final step will be closure and implementation where both parties will sign a formal agreement.
Questions that will guide the negotiation
What can be done to allow the intern serve both parties without conflict?
Is it possible to meet the demands of both parties through effective mobilization of the resources?
Which demands should be prioritized and which ones a less important?
Are there unreasonable demands made by any of the parties? How can the party be made to understand?
Is there a possibility of coming up with a solution that meets all the critical demands of both parties?
Experience in negotiation
I work in a department that recently acquired two super-fast computers when compared to the other computers that all employees have in our desks. There had been a conflict last week between two employees that almost resulted in a fight when one of the employees claimed had booked to use the computer earlier than everybody else and wanted the other employee to stop using it immediately. I helped in the negotiations where I lead the conflicting parties to sign an agreement that one person will be using the computer for three morning hours and then the other would be using it for three evening hours. The rest of the time the computer would be left free for the rest of the employees if they need to use it because they did not have a problem with working with their old computers. The lessons acquired in the topic of negotiation helped me in guiding conflicting parties to find a middle ground.
Lewicki, R. J., Barry, B., & Saunders, D. M. (2016). Essentials of negotiation (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Kaczmarek, D. S. (2010). Pulling back the curtain on “getting to yes.” Healthcare Purchasing News, 34(5), 64.