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Posts Tagged ‘Rimini

This is the second part of Blog

The Sunloungers at the Beach of Rimini – 1020

Negotiation is the fundamental form of dispute resolution directly between parties. In simplest terms, it involves an interest driven discussion between two or more disputants who are trying to work out a solution to their dispute. Often negotiations may be done in advance, to avoid later disputes. We are negotiating when family members discuss their responsibilities for the preparation of a barbeque party; when we discuss with our husband or wife where to go to have a nice dinner or when a couple discusses which TV-channel should be watched. When we bargain over the price of a product or service, we are negotiating. In order to live or work effectively with others, good negotiation skills are critical.

On the beach of Rimini the rental guy with the red hat is still talking to the pale and the dark guy on the subject of sunlounger. There are different resolutions of this dispute. If the new guy stays for a couple of days while the tanned is in Rimini on his day of departure, it makes sense to give sunlounger to the white guy. He will be good paying customer for the coming days. If the tanned guy is a regular customer every year and the pale new then maintaining the existing customer relationship might be the right choice. However in either decision by the red hat the lounger will be rented to only one of the customers. The red had needs to make decisions how to distribute the right to use the lounger to either of the two interested customers.

But the red hat is a smart listener. He finds out, tanned and white guy want to have this particular sun lounger. It is an observation lounger with an excellent view to the bar. Red hat is clever. He suggests to move the five loungers closer to each other and put a sixth sunlounger with exact the same observation qualities next to the row. The additional lounger is a clever idea, making everybody very happy: the tanned and the white guy are able to spot the girls on the bar and red hat does not lose any customer and makes his money.

We can name the dimension of any negotiation. It is first the interest of the parties involved. It is second the substance the real issues on stake. In the Rimini examples it is the sunlounger. It is then relationship of the parties. Since it always takes more than parties to negotiate. The fourth dimension is the process of the negotiation. The process may be planned or may evolve as the dynamics of communication.

In simplest terms, negotiation is a discussion between two or more disputants who are trying to work out a solution to their problem. This interpersonal or inter-group process can occur at a personal level, as well as at a corporate or international (diplomatic) level. Negotiations typically take place because the parties wish to create something new that neither could do on his or her own, or to resolve a problem or dispute between them. The parties acknowledge that there is some conflict of interest between them and think they can use some form of influence to get a better deal, rather than simply taking what the other side will voluntarily give them. They prefer to search for agreement rather than fight openly, give in, or break off contact.

When parties negotiate, they usually expect give and take. While they have interlocking goals that they cannot carry out independently, they usually do not want or need exactly the same thing. This interdependence can be either win-lose or win-win in nature, and the type of negotiation that is appropriate will vary accordingly. The disputants will either attempt to force the other side to comply with their demands, to modify the opposing position and move toward compromise, or to invent a solution that meets the objectives of all sides. The nature of their interdependence will have a major impact on the nature of their relationship, the way negotiations are conducted, and the outcomes of these negotiations.

The dispute between the tanned and the white guy on the beach was a form to find out, who would get the sunlounger. In this approach there is one winner and one looser. The tanned and the white guy had exactly the same position. Each of them claimed the he was entitled to be on the sunlounger. This approach we will call the distributive approach or bargaining.

The solution of the red hat was clever and served both disputants interest. They entered in to an agreement both being a winner. This approach we shall call integrative approach or just negotiation. Settling disputes can take two principal forms: bargaining or negotiating alternatively called the distributive and integrative approach.


Talking about the nature of negotiations many people think in terms of rhetoric’s in direct exchange of reasoning. This direct face to face negotiation is an extreme form of communication. The dividing line between the communication and negotiation is very thin and hard to draw.

I became a witness of a discussion of two tourists on a bar on the beach of Rimini. The topic was rather casual and a kind of small talk. They exchanged their views and ideas of the best sun loungers to occupy on the beach. One of them said he prefers to have them at rather remote place with some trees nearby. Especially after a hard night partying so he could recharge during the day. The other was also concerned about is nights, but wanted to meet some lady friends during the day, he would then propose to have dinner and enjoy the night with. He preferred the sunloungers near the bar, so he could have an eye on the female guests of the bar and move towards them if he thought he could connect with one of them. He called a row of five sunloungers the best “observation lounger”.

This is a form of a casual conversation just to exchange opinions and not really a negotiation.

The next day I observed from the very same spot two men having a rather loud exchange of words on the side of the row observation loungers. One of them was pale and his white body showing he had not been exposed to the sun. The other was well tanned and dark. It seemed to be an argument between a new comer and a habitué of the beach. Obviously they were disputing over occupying the last left lounger. This was not a casual talk but communication directed to pursue an interest. Each of them claimed to have the right to occupy the lounger. Since words alone did not help they started to posture their physical capabilities to impress each other. As the voices became louder the guy renting the sun loungers moved quickly towards them. He was not to be missed with a red hat and dressed all white with a big black purse hanging in front his six-pack. He immediately took command of the communication and spoke to each of the disputants separately. First he interrogated the dark guy and listened carefully, insisting that he was not interrupted by the white guy standing on the side and intervening vividly. He then turned to the new guy on the beach and elaborated his version and view of the situation.

This dispute on a particular lounger on the beach by the dark and the white guy is not a small talk. In this situation the interest to occupy this particular observation lounger is the driving force of communication which in fact is a negotiation. Interests do not need to be rational. Very often it happens to be the case that people do start disputes not because of the item under discussion, but rather out of personal emotional reasons. They are subconsciously driven to give another person of random choice a hard time. There are many reasons for this. May be in the case of an incidence in the morning on the hotel table or even the night before. But the two guys verbally contesting the rights seemed to have rather clear reasons.

Now the rental guy with the purse is not actually negotiating just for himself but brokering a settlement between the two men. This is the work of a mediator.

Negotiation is adding the dimension of orientation towards some kind of interest to the mere form of communication. Negotiation is therefore always interest based, even though the interest may be conscious or subconscious reaction of person.