Technology in negotiations

It’s rude to text and look at your phone in the middle of a negotiation, right?  Apparently this aspect of negotiation etiquette is being eroded as people recognize that the benefits of carrying on parallel conversations may outweigh the costs of perceived bad manners.  Imagine the situation: you have just been made an offer.  Historically, you might have asked to leave the room and go and discuss with you colleagues.  Now you can text colleagues in private without leaving the room: a private conversation in public.

If this behaviour becomes more widespread and accepted, it could change the nature of some negotiations.  Mediations for example often start with a statement of issues and positions by two parties and then rapidly move to shuttle diplomacy.  Most mediators know that if you can keep that initial exploration of the issues going in a reasoned and civil fashion for longer, the greater the chances of finding mutually acceptable solutions quicker.  Having parallel conversations going on via text might encourage longer initial meetings.

So far I have only heard of this happening in the Asia and the Far East.  I haven’t seen much evidence of it in Europe yet.

What do you think?

This entry was posted on Monday, May 9th, 2011 at 12:05 pm and is filed under Uncategorized . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Technology in negotiations”

  1. JOHN DUNCAN Says:

    John
    The type of behaviour you describe is now very widespread in multilateral diplomacy and in meetings where there there are a number of representatives. In smaller face to face meetings then you are right it would defeat the object of the “personal meeting” if people were constantly texting. But elsewhere its common indeed a phot I took of my delegation at a recent New York meeting showed them all sitting behind me with there laptops open. Some were taking notes but others were reporting back, gathering information etc. How times change!

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