In a normal tactical process where two parties seek an agreement, each party will try to maximize their result, thus the temptation to use deceptive tactics. Negotiation is the systematic interaction of two or more parties with the aim of reaching a mutual agreement that will provide guidelines, terms, and conditions of future behavior. Negotiation brings together different parties seeking to achieve mutual benefits while at the same time meeting odd individual goals of the other parties (Christie, Kwon, Stoeberl, and Baumhart, 2003:269). Therefore, negotiation involves a serial exchange of communication and information between parties in an attempt to persuade or influence a counterpart.
International and cross-cultural negotiations face ethical dilemmas, as each party tries to maximize their outcome and the eminent temptation of applying dishonest or deceptive tactics. Negotiation behaviors may be ethical or unethical. Ethical negotiation tactics include exaggerated demands, hiding the negotiation timeline, or hiding the bottom-line. Unethical tactics include false promises and misrepresentation. The negotiator may also attack the opponent’ s network to lure members of that team to join them. A negotiator may also use inappropriate information gathering tactics like bribing to obtain sensitive information concerning the opponent.
Several studies examine the relationship between ethics and negotiation. Robinson and Lewicki argue that numerous behaviors that vary as far as perceived appropriateness and ethnicity are concerned (Guasco and Robinson, 2007:136). The basic level consists of traditional competitive bargaining, which consists of generally acceptable tactics like appearing to be in a hurry or exaggerating demands. Additionally, there are other questionable tactics like gathering inappropriate information, making false promises, attacking the opponent’ s network, and misrepresenting information. Donahue, Robinson, and Lewicki further investigated the perceptions of business executives on unethical negotiation tactics, reporting that the executives generally accept the traditional competitive bargaining tactics, while they reject other potentially illegal and serious tactics (Guasco and Robinson, 2007:138).
Volkema, Ford, and Elahee and Brooks made similar observations in their separate studies and research. According to business theories, individuals tend to apply varying moral philosophies when faced with morally questionable situations.
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