Technology Transfer




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Organizational Aspects of Negotiations




In arranging negotiating sessions, a number of organizational aspects need to be considered. While these at first seem of secondary importance they none the less have significant impact. Some of the more important organizational aspects of negotiations are discussed below.




Physical arrangements

The physical and psychological state of the negotiators during negotiating sessions frequently affects the dynamics of the negotiation process and can in turn be affected by the physical arrangements outside and inside the negotiating room.




Meeting length and frequency

It is not unusual for daily negotiating sessions to last 10 hours at a time. Sometimes they go longer, but that is not advisable. Fatigue is bound to set in and affect judgment. As in the case of physical arrangements, the length and frequency of meetings can affect the state of mind of the negotiators and either speed up or delay arriving at agreement. As a general rule, 8-hour sessions are recommended, with several breaks for review to release the tension negotiation usually creates.




Informal meetings

Informal meetings, such as lunch or dinner with members of the opposing negotiating teams, are highly recommended. In such settings members of the respective teams get to know one another better and have the chance to develop personal relationships that will facilitate communication and understanding between them. Business should not be discussed at such meetings: they should be kept informal. Team discipline must preclude "side discussions" of issues by team members other that the chief negotiator in informal meetings.




Language differences

Negotiations are often carried on in English. Although the proceedings are sometimes translated into the negotiating teams native languages by interpreters, ordinary members of the two negotiating teams need to be sufficiently fluent in English to communicate adequately for purposes of carrying on negotiations.