Mastering Multilateral Negotiations

by Dr. Juan Diaz-Prinz

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      Slides 04 Multilateral Negotiations NegotiationSkillsStrategies.pdf
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      OR construction case.pdf
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    00:00 Hi and welcome to my tea party negotiations.

    00:04 In this lecture, we're going to focus on dealing with complexity.

    00:07 Some of our learning outcomes will include developing a differentiated view of to party and multi-party negotiations.

    00:16 We will improve the our negotiation skills in larger groups, and we'll be able to adapt negotiation phases to a multi-party situation.

    00:25 Now the first thing we need to ask ourselves is what is a multilateral negotiation? Basically said a lot of people, more than two, but actually if we look deeper into this type of negotiation, we realize that it's not only about three or more actors, but it's also about coordinating some types of principles.

    00:47 For example, how do we behave? What kind of decisions can be made in larger groups? How do we decide on collective action amongst so many people? And how do we monitor that people will do what they say they're going to do.

    01:03 Now we know from history that in traditional multilateral negotiations people thought if we all have a joint interest in solving a problem, we're going to solve it.

    01:14 What we know now is that even when we have common interest in a larger group coordination is not always possible.

    01:24 Now, let's see how a situation changes were more parties are involved.

    01:27 You can find a more detailed version of the OR construction case in the download section of this course.

    01:34 In the last few days a protest outside the construction site in orally and oval has erupted.

    01:40 As residents learned that a forgotten War Monument was going to be removed to make way for a new project.

    01:47 This meant that their beloved Park would no longer be a park but more of a housing unit.

    01:53 While the monument itself has largely gone unnoticed and unmaintained it is serving as the focal point to gather people against the construction site.

    02:05 Let's look at some of the basic dynamics of the case.

    02:09 The OR construction company is a large company in the region.

    02:13 It has a stellar reputation.

    02:15 But at the same time it's losing money.

    02:18 It has invested in a controversial property and it needs a win to regain its reputation.

    02:25 The focus of the construction company has been Modern Urban Living.

    02:30 At the same time, the protesters come from the local community.

    02:34 It's a more of a bottom-up kind of movement.

    02:38 They think the or construction company has actually mismanaged most of the properties it's owned and they fear gentrification.

    02:46 Their goal is to prevent the project at all cost and to make sure that whatever is built it has a more traditional emphasis.

    02:56 Now that would be a two person or two party in negotiations.

    03:00 The construction company representatives and the representatives of the protesters, but actually we have a third party, a group of owners who have invested in the construction of the new homes and actually would like to see the construction finished so that they can move in.

    03:18 These are regular middle-class families who seek to improve their living standards have modern conveniences and would like to move in as quickly as possible because they are either renting somewhere else or they might have to pay a penalty wherever they're living for not moving out.

    03:35 They are very insecure about the safety of their families are surrounding the new project.

    03:41 Let's look a little bit at some of the issues that are involved.

    03:44 The OR Construction Company would like to start construction immediately.

    03:49 Make sure that their team of construction workers are safe.

    03:53 They want an immediate end of the protest and they want cost neutrality.

    03:58 The local community would like to have an end to the construction completely and they'd like more local community things like kindergartens, Road Improvement, community centers, most importantly they want to see a decommercialization of the entire community.

    04:18 And thirdly if we look at the owners, they also have some issues.

    04:21 They want to make sure the construction is finished on time.

    04:25 Their homes are safe.

    04:27 They're accepted in the local community.

    04:30 And at the same time they also are interested in local infrastructure.

    04:35 Now, let's use this case to understand and unpack multilateral negotiations.

    04:41 Number one, There is a certain air of uncertainty given the number of people involved.

    04:47 There are many protesters, there are several owners, even within the construction company.

    04:53 We have several levels of decision making.

    04:55 It's unclear who is making decisions and who actually has the authority to reach an agreement.

    05:03 The uncertainty around the negotiation leads to complexity.

    05:08 More information, more actors, more talking, more fighting, people have to manage all this data, all this input and find a way to create a plan for negotiations.

    05:22 Creating this plan leads us to talking about interdependence.

    05:26 They all need each other to find a way out of the crisis.

    05:31 And if we look at the issues involved that I mentioned earlier, you will see that there is the potential for different sides to make coalitions with other groups.

    05:42 For example, the owners and the local protesters all want Local infrastructure.

    05:49 The owners and the OR construction company also have an interest in finishing the project quickly.

    05:55 And actually if the sides would have cooler heads prevail we would see that the owner of the OR construction company and the local protesters also have some common interests all of them want to see a beautiful community come out of this project.

    06:14 If we look at this conflict, we will realize that the parties are not willing to meet just anywhere.

    06:20 The protesters don't want to go to the construction site.

    06:23 The construction side, a team does not want to go to the local community.

    06:27 Everyone is scared of each other.

    06:29 So what we need is some other third party to serve as an umbrella organization where people can meet and this is what we call the auspices.

    06:40 This organization serves as a neutral safe space.

    06:45 Number 6, we have what's called Epistemic Community.

    06:48 Now this is a very challenging word.

    06:50 What does it mean? It's actually a scientific term and it means community of knowledge, and means experts.

    06:58 People who are trying to find a way to codify their vision of the world into a principal.

    07:06 A seventh issue that is different is that given the amount of people and the amount of issues actually different parties can link and create a a given take negotiation process in order to create momentum within the process.

    07:23 Otherwise the conflict will just turn on itself over and over as people fight over different issues.

    07:30 The last point I'd like to make about multilateral negotiation is that given so many people, we have to find a process where different people can take on leadership roles and make sure that local communities local actors are building their way up and deciding until we find a final agreement.

    07:49 Now I've mentioned to you nine differences to bilateral negotiations.

    07:54 I'd like to take a closer look at two of these nine differences coalitions and epistemic communities.

    08:01 Coalitions are the unification of resources or sometimes even power of two or more actors so that they can have a better chance of obtaining a desired outcome or controlling how other people behave.

    08:15 Nobody joins the coalition If they're not going to achieve something greater.

    08:20 Well we've seen throughout history is that coalitions build around issues, maybe some regional connection, Sometimes we have what's called a blocking coalition.

    08:31 The sole purpose of this coalition is to make sure no agreement is reached.

    08:36 And we also have what's called Bridging coalitions.

    08:40 The goal of multilateral negotiation is to encourage bridging coalitions and to the emphasize locking coalitions.

    08:49 The second issue, I would like to look at is what we called epistemic communities.

    08:55 This is defined as communities of shared knowledge.

    08:59 Has quite often, these are people we call lobbyists or non decision makers.

    09:05 They have no authority, they have no decision-making power, but they are called upon as experts to discuss what is the best way out of this.

    09:15 For example, in this situation, we might call Urban living Specialist or scientists to talk about what does gentrification do in a local community.

    09:26 The other side might call in specialists to talk about the advantages of creating new building within the city.

    09:34 In any case, epistemic communities build themselves, especially if you have three conditions.

    09:41 Number one, dread, if people are afraid they will listen more.

    09:48 Number two, familiarity, how much do people know about it when people don't know anything about it.

    09:55 They turn to experts to find out more.

    09:58 And number three, How much will I personally be affected by this and this particular case, the local community is afraid of gentrification.

    10:08 They don't know very much about this construction company and at the same time they feel they're going to be personally thrown out of they're apartments if they do not do something for themselves.

    10:21 In dealing with complexity, we need to understand the purpose and structure of a meeting.

    10:27 We also need to make sure that we know who are the decision-makers and who are not decision makers, and we need to make sure that we have a process by which to decide.

    10:38 We also need to make sure that we build momentum so that everybody feels we're moving forward and that we made progress.

    10:47 We also want to make sure that the bridging coalitions are moving upward and getting stronger.

    10:53 But at the same time we give each group the opportunity to go back and check with their own supporters if they are doing the right thing at the table.

    11:03 Given the complexity of actors and the nine difference is to a standard negotiation.

    11:08 Let's have a look at the type of skills needed in a multilateral negotiation.

    11:14 Skills are us, skills are what we inside of us, and we would go to a meeting and we see the chaos raging with multiple actors.

    11:23 Sometimes we have to take a step back and say, okay, What skills do I have inside of me? For example, can I facilitate a meeting? Have I taken a course in mediation that might help the parties find mutual agreement.

    11:39 Do I have experience in building coalitions that will lead us to success.

    11:45 Can I take harsh comments from different sides and reframe them in a way that people will understand the basic needs of the different actors.

    11:55 Do I have some experience with structuring protocol? Will somebody get insulted if they're speaking last and when they feel they should be speaking first.

    12:05 And lastly a very good skill to have is can I build consensus, do I know the basic principles of consensus building.

    12:15 Now if we look at the phases of multilateral negotiation, we see from the chart behind us that they look the same as a regular negotiation.

    12:24 We have a pre-negotiation and opening a negotiation and agreement and implementation stage and we have a next negotiation stage.

    12:32 At this point, you're wondering, so why do we even have to look at the faces while the phases are slightly different if we look at the pre-negotiation phase it's about creating an environment.

    12:45 Actually a lot of negotiation happens in the pre-negotiation phase.

    12:50 For example, there is a joint diagnostic.

    12:53 Do we have a common problem? And even if we have a common problem, do we have a commitment to collective action? Thirdly, what other procedural rules that will dominate the negotiation.

    13:09 Until these three things are not decided and pre-negotiated in pre-negotiation phase we cannot move to the negotiation phase.

    13:19 Another very important aspect of pre-negotiation is that we begin the dialogue before we actually sit at the table.

    13:27 In the pre-negotiation stage, we informally bring all the stakeholders together in different formats and in different venues, the purpose is not to negotiate but to get a deeper level of understanding about how to prepare the negotiation in a way that's meaningful.

    13:45 In the pre negotiation stage, there are six objectives: relationship-building, information-sharing, agenda-setting, problem solving, and consensus-building.

    13:58 Once we look at these things, we also have to figure out what are some of the challenges that we face within the pre-negotiation phase.

    14:06 Number one, How do we select a stakeholder? With so many people who actually gets to sit at the table? Number two, who will facilitate? Number three, what limited resources do we have? Number four, who has influence in the negotiation? And number five, even if we agree on an agenda and procedures, how do we follow up on what was agreed in the informal pre-negotiation stages which actually has no formality to it.

    14:39 Once we move to the negotiation phase we realize that the opening is not just about about figuring out everybody's position.

    14:47 But in this particular case is how do we balance out power.

    14:52 In this group with so many people having their own conceptualization about how important or how influential they might be, we have to balance the agenda with the prioritization in the group.

    15:05 This negotiation will actually be the basis of the agreement towards the end.

    15:11 In addition to that in the opening stage parties would like to figure out do we even have the possibility of creating a win for the whole group at the table? A wind set is the set of all possible agreements that would win that is to gain the necessary majority among the actors at the table with a simple vote up or down.

    15:35 What we're trying to do is to make sure that all the resistance points at the table actually overlap and that there is a small space where everybody can find themselves.

    15:46 We're trying to create the zone of possible agreement.

    15:50 Once you move to the negotiation phase, we look at three things different than in a bilateral negotiation, we're going to actually look at principles that everybody can agree to.

    16:01 Number two, we're going to develop smaller working groups where people can actually talk in smaller, more confidential environment, and this will all bubble up into what we call the bridging coalitions.

    16:15 The goal of the negotiation phase is to create one text where everybody can find themselves.

    16:22 Once we move to the agreement phase.

    16:24 We're going to look at things like compliance.

    16:27 Do we need dispute resolution systems built into the agreement.

    16:31 How do we accommodate one actor who doesn't feel their interests are met.

    16:37 Can we look at specific wording that can meet all the needs of all the sides.

    16:42 And finally, we will have final concessions to make sure we have a winning coalition.

    16:48 During the implementation phase, we're going to look at things like how do we monitor implementation of the agreement? How do we verify the people are actually doing what they said they were going to do.

    17:00 And lastly, how do we create a transparent reporting system, so all actors are informed about the progress.

    17:09 The goal of this phases to build trust because for sure we're going to have to do some renegotiation.

    17:16 Lastly, the agreement phase does not end until parties at level 1, meaning the people sitting at the table have been able to consult and ratify any agreement they make with their own constituents and have assured that the agreement will survive.

    17:36 In closing to the outside observer, a multilateral negotiation can look in one or two ways.

    17:43 Either it looks like a chaotic roller coaster at with no end in sight and a lot of excitement but actually just a thrill, or it can seem like a systemic sequential process in which people feel the process was fair, inclusive, participatory, Everyone was kept on track, and there was clarity of purpose and quality of relationships.

    18:09 To summarize, I hope during this lecture you have been able to understand the difference between a two-party negotiation and a multi-party negotiation that you understand the skills that are needed in a larger group and that you are able now to adapt a bilateral negotiation into a multilateral negotiation.

    18:28 Thank you very much.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Mastering Multilateral Negotiations by Dr. Juan Diaz-Prinz is from the course Negotiation Skills & Strategies (EN). It contains the following chapters:

    • Understanding Multilateral Negotiations
    • The OR Construction Case
    • Differences to Bilateral Negotiations
    • Epistemic Communities
    • Phases of Multilateral Negotiation

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Complexity
    2. Uncertainty
    3. Issue Linkage
    4. Fighting
    5. Relationship issues
    1. Bridging
    2. Blocking
    3. Friendship
    4. Dynamic
    5. Power
    1. Non-decision-making experts
    2. Communities of shared knowledge
    3. Negotiation groups
    4. People hired to work in a negotiation
    5. Having shared values
    1. Commitment to collective action
    2. Agreeing on rules and procedure
    3. Joint diagnosis of a common problem
    4. To make your position known
    5. To agree on a solution
    1. Selecting participants
    2. Selecting a facilitator
    3. Following up on agreement
    4. Finding a solution
    5. Understanding hidden agendas
    1. The constituents of all sides ratify it.
    2. Everyone is happy.
    3. Everyone shakes hands.
    4. All sides have signed.
    5. A press statement is made.

    Author of lecture Mastering Multilateral Negotiations

    Dr. Juan Diaz-Prinz

    Dr. Juan Diaz-Prinz

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