Vanessa Abrams – Case Study
This case describes a typical win-lose negotiation in which lack of trust is at stake. On one side, Jerome Bailey (Jerry) is standing for employer and is imposing on the opposite side to sign a non-disclosure agreement, on the other side, the employee (Vanessa Abrams) is trying to take the opportunity to renegotiatecompensation package in return (as reciprocity), and this by leveraging on her outstanding business outcomes. The main issue in this negotiation is about power and influence use within the same organization which may be disruptive if stakeholders cannot reach an agreement in a win-win way.
First of all, Vanessa knew that her boss was under pressure from the corporateheadquarters because she was the only one not signing the nondisclosure agreement, and she was using her good results as leverage for not signing the document, then making a counter-move in order to open negotiations. She tried to negotiate using a third party influence in order to stick up for herself and this led to conflict between her and her company. Moreover she negotiated in such a way whichwas not natural for her and this had weakened her bargaining power as an unexpected result. By the way, she’d like her boss to recognize that she was important for the company but she did not control the climate at all (time, place, and mood) from the beginning to end of the negotiation.
From the company point of view, signing such an agreement would protect company’s data and prevent Vanessa toleave the company with crucial information concerning customers. Then, Jerry did not understand why she didn’t want to sign the agreement. The company’s stood for an inflexible position which is characteristic of a competitive negotiation. The company had shown little or no interest to Vanessa’s needs.
This is overall a typical distributive negotiation in which one party claim the most value(zero-sum) and ending with a win-lose outcome. Each party has fixed the value at stake to be negotiated and their goals are to get as much as possible. However, the weird thing in this negotiation is that usually in a competitive negotiation relationship doesn’t matter, and in this case, both stakeholders had been having a long term partnership. “Relationship-based negotiation sets an even moreambitious target. Instead of focusing on a single transaction, it aspires to develop the mutual trust, reliability, and future cooperation that will create value stretching far beyond the immediate deal”[i].
In this negotiation, Vanessa is experiencing inconsistency which leads to dissonance when behaving in a way that is not really her way when negotiating with others and in addition through athird party (Nick the lawyer). According the Consistency Theory, and because of our strong need for consistency, we must try to change the way we behave in order to keep away from the unpleasant experience - that is a state of dissonance -of inconsistency. Moreover, the third principle from the Social Judgment Theory saying that our level of ego-involvement affects the size of our latitudes is wellillustrated in this case. That is to say that when Vanessa becomes ego-involved in this negotiation, her latitude of rejection gets larger while her latitude of acceptance gets smaller. Therefore, she believed that what she was thinking was correct. Is the threat related to the agreement real? Is this a distortion or reality from Vanessa POV (Point Of View)? This means that we should rather work inthe latitude of acceptance than in the latitude of rejection, and watch out for ego-involvement issues. By the way, this situation can be explained as well through the Theory of Reactance: Vanessa perceived an unfair restriction to her action, then, activated a state of reactance which is an intense emotional state which may conduct to irrational behavior, and finally she must act to remove the...