An effective negotiation team forms the cornerstone of every successful negotiation.
At the Schranner Negotiation Institute, our approach to team construction aligns with the FBI-business-team-model. Research underlines our conviction that, particularly in challenging negotiation scenarios, a team acts more effectively than individual negotiators.1 We advocate for precisely delineated roles within the team to strategically lead the negotiation process. In pursuing this objective, we support a division into three roles: Negotiator, Commander, and Decision Maker.
The Negotiator is responsible for attaining the set objectives by putting forward the demands during the negotiation process. The person’s tendency to address conflicts is essential for the successful realization of negotiation goals.
The Commander assumes the role of an analytical listener, maintaining a holistic view of the negotiation landscape. This person dissects information and imparts pivotal strategic and tactical guidance to the Negotiator.
Furthermore, the Commander acts as a link to the Decision Maker, the ultimate authority in the respective negotiation. To uphold this position, the Decision Maker ought not to be physically present at the negotiation table, instead providing the team with a clear negotiation mandate.
Research corroborates our understanding regarding the pivotal role of clear, well-defined roles for each participant within the negotiation team. Effective collaboration is ensured by clearly defining roles and assigning responsibilities to team members, enabling challenges to be successfully overcome and outcomes to be achieved. As a result, a skillfully assembled negotiation team brings together a variety of essential competencies to achieve the desired negotiation outcome.2
Nevertheless, it is of utmost importance to ensure a conflict-free environment within the team to maintain teamwork and secure successful processes. Studies by Halevy (2008) make it clear that conflicts within the negotiating team can harm the negotiation results. It was observed that the team’s efficiency suffered considerably, and valuable potential remains unused. These internal conflicts can significantly affect the team’s performance by disrupting communication and cooperation between team members. Such a lack of coordination can dramatically affect the team’s ability to implement the negotiation strategy effectively.3 Therefore, it is essential to identify internal conflicts early on and implement conflict resolution mechanisms to keep the negotiation team on track.
1 Halevy, N. 2008. Team negotiation: Social, epistemic, economic, and psychological consequences of subgroup conflict. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(12): 1687-1702.
2 Peleckis, K. 2014. International business negotiations: innovation, negotiation team, preparation. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 110: 64-73.
3 Halevy, N. 2008. Team negotiation: Social, epistemic, economic, and psychological consequences of subgroup conflict. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(12): 1687-1702.