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Why Negotiators Love Their Enemies

Posted: Friday, 4 January 2019 @ 13:43

With respect Brexit and the recent hard-nosed statements of Thersa May, and Jean Claude Junker regarding the recent Downing Street dinner it is blindingly obvious that both the Conservative PM and the Commission EU President have vested interests in amplifying the disputes which have little to do with what is good for their countries/institutions and more about shoring their own respective positons within the bodies they work for.

However this is no shock and should be considered "normal" behaviour. 

This is offen the case in mediations which involve individuals who are negotiating on behalf of companies or institutions.     

For example I previously blogged here with the the British Airways/Unite dispute which took place a number of years ago.

At this time I observed that for British Airways management one of the compelling reasons for the dispute to continue was the fact that it took attention away from the fact that the airline was losing money and it may be poorly run.

For the Union, I observed  internal politics at the union Unite played a significant part in the  dispute to surround British Airways. Len McCluskey, an assistant general secretary at Unite, was one of the leading contenders to become the union’s first sole general secretary which he became.

In my experience as mediator, often people who have a senior role within the organisation may have a number of considerations in factoring how to approach the negotiation and they are not overty clear. These factors are below the service and motivated by the self interest of the negotiating party.

The key skill is for the mediator is to uncover this and then use this knowledge sparingly.