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Key Lessons To Consider In A Negotiation

944 words - 4 pages

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 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, it would not allow the circumstance to come to light. The framework must be flexible enough to absorb new information or interests.
Another reason for a flexible negotiation framework is the consideration of fairness. Terry’s job was on the line; he had a lot to lose. The negotiation got emotionally charged and managers needed to decide 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 there should be consequences for breaking a corporate rule, there should be further discussions whether there is...

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