The scenario about drug testing in the workplace provided key lessons to consider in a negotiation. Those lessons influenced the way I approach a negotiation and altered how I look at conflict in the workplace.
It is important to understand that, while a negotiation framework is helpful in problem solving, the structure of a framework is flexible. Prior to the negotiation, the situation created a clear framework. Terry, the truck driver, tested positive for drugs. As a consequence of is test results, Terry meet with his superior and a counselor to discuss his future at the company. The rule was very clear: drivers are tested for drugs. Initially, I viewed the rule as identical to policy, and a rigid rule left little room for negotiation. The mindset is likely 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 was caught with drugs in his system there were only two options: discharge or enter a treatment center. However, I discovered that policy is really a formalized process for implementing a rule and, as a result, is not identical. Thus, a negotiation framework provides guidance for solving discrepancies in company policy.
Accordingly, the policy that implements the process for complying with a rule is much more flexible. The rule requires random drug testing and the company set a policy dictating a limit on the presence of drugs to comply. Terry initially had two options, but a flexible framework permitted new facts to arise, creating the need to consider other options. In the case of Terry, while he didn’t partake in drugs, he was in an environment that caused him to test positive for marijuana. No matter how many times he was tested, unless Terry was removed from the environment causing the problem, he would continue to test positive. If the framework were ridged, new circumstances would not come to light. The framework must be flexible enough to absorb new information
Another reason for a flexible negotiation framework is consideration of fairness. Terry’s job was on the line and had everything to lose. In the scenario, the negotiation was emotionally charged and managers considered whether the punishment fit the crime. I had difficultly feeling remorse for Terry because of the stigma associated with drug use. He didn’t use drugs but it was his word against science, and there was no way to win the argument. In looking back, I considered other circumstances, such as if Terry had gotten a DUI during a vacation, and came to the conclusion that, while are consequences for breaking a corporate rule, further discussions about proper reprimand were...