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Personal Development
Critical thinking and Communication

Reflective Essay

Negotiation is an interactive process in which two or more parties who have different
opinions and try to seek for common ground to resolve differences, then achieve a mutually
acceptable agreement.1 In week 4, I participated in a role play activity on negotiation and act
as Chris Johnson who has worked with the company for six years and just switched to
another department. Another two characters are Dale William (Manager) and Pat Taylor
(another subordinate). The main task for me in this activity is to negotiate with the new
manager Dale about whether or not necessary to comply with safety rules in the company.
Based on this activity, I recognized that my natural preferences of influencing tactics are
rationality and impression management. Before I met Dale, actually I did some preconceived about this negotiation. Due to the company is restructuring and downsizing
recently, I assumed that this negotiation may be a part of my assessment about whether or not
I could keep this job. Therefore, I prepared to talk with Dale about my personal situation like
I am a single parent and really need to keep this job, which is used emotional appeal tactic
to persuade others by asking for pity or sympathy.2 However, in fact, the main issue we
talked about is safety rule. Therefore, I did not use emotional appeal tactic initially, instead,
I explained my own opinions towards this issue, like according to the working condition in
this department, it is not quite necessary to wear safety glasses, and may affect work
efficiency due to the glasses is not comfortable to wear. This tactic can be regard as
Rationality .Another tactic I used is impression management, due to Dale mentioned I had
a bad relationship with last manager, thus, I did an explanation with a self-promotion about
my effective and hardworking past performance. From the activity it reflected that sometimes
assumption may not happen in the reality, thus our natural preferences will come into play.
As my past experience and prior knowledge, I thought that a win-win situation is the best
way to solve any problem, however, in the reality, a mutually acceptable agreement is much
harder to achieve than expected, and always along with the compromise by one or both side.
Same as what happened in this role play, Dale gave me a lot of pressure to wear glasses by
1 Personal Development: Critical Thinking and Communication MGX9001 (by Pearson Custom Publishing).
2 Marcic, D., & Seltzer, J. (1995). Organizational behavior: Experiences and cases. Cincinnati, Ohio: South-Western College Publishing.

illustrating someone has badly injured without wearing it and also used legitimized appeal
to restate the companys policy that not wearing safety glasses will result in one-week
suspension for first offence and may be more severe for repeaters. Thereby, based on my own
situation, I really need this job to support the whole family, so that the best way for me may
be compromised to wear the safety glasses. Like the exchange tactic, both sides can
exchange desired resources, Dale want me to comply with the safety rules, and I need the job
to live, then get mutually benefit from the transaction.3
From this activity, I learnt that mutually benefits always come along with some compromise
by one or both side. Therefore, that requires us to achieve agreement with as little
compromise as possible. Then, Transpositional consideration is a good way for us to achieve
this goal by putting ourselves into others shoes. Based on the mutual understanding, both
sides can Exchange desired resources to get mutual benefit. Hence Exchange tactic is a
quite effective way to negotiate, however, different tactics can be used in different
circumstances, but the common thing is based on mutual understanding. In the future, both in
the work or life , I will try to be a principled bargainer and consider more about others
opinion and interests, remember that mutually understanding is the first step to achieve
agreement, then the trade-off between mutual benefit and compromise is what we need to
take into consideration further on.
If I could do the role play again, before I use any influence tactics, maybe I will try to figure
out what the purpose of this negotiation first, and then see what the managers standpoint.
After that, I will express my point of view and try to get the mutual understanding with
manager. Afterwards, lets try to get the trade-off between mutual benefit and compromise
together, and then work out a mutually acceptable agreement in the end. Why I will do such
changes? Because mutually understanding is the first step to achieve agreement, any problem
can not be solved by regardless of what others view, therefore, we need to listen first and
understand what others opinion, and then let other parties know what our standpoint. Based
on these mutual understanding, try to use Exchange tactic to settle disputes and achieve the
mutual acceptable agreement together.
To be a more effective negotiator, there are still many skills I need to explore and develop in
3 Marcic, D., & Seltzer, J. (1995). Organizational behavior: Experiences and cases. Cincinnati, Ohio: South-Western College Publishing.

the future. As I stated above, mutual understanding is the first step to achieve agreement,
therefore, a good listening skill is essential to accurate understand others opinion. Otherwise,
it is also necessary for us to be a principled bargainer, and consider more about other parties
interests rather than just standing on our own position. Whats more, critical thinking and
communication skills are also quite important for an effective negotiator, because without
critical thinking, communication is meaningless; without communication, critical thinking is
just limited in your own world and others will not understand what your thought. Therefore,
the marriage of these two skills is quite important for an effective negotiator to understand
others, meanwhile, let others understand you, consequently, get the mutual understanding and
contribute to the agreement achieved eventually.

In a word, from this role play activity, I found that learning should be a never-ending process,
there are still many gaps between theories we learned at school and the reality of work and
life, and I also have many shortcomings need to be improved. Therefore, as a graduating
student, I need to learn by doing and try to be both the learner and the reflective
practitioner in my future professional life.