Bargaining Essay

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Bargaining is the process of negotiating and determining  acceptable  conditions of matters  that  are, for example, political, social, economic, or legal in nature. Bargaining  is a common  feature  of relationships  associated  with  these  and  other  areas. There are five types of bargaining processes. Together,  these  are  referred  to  as “five  levels of exchange” within the “anatomy of the negotiation process,”  according    to   Chester    Karrass    and Gary  Karrass—two worldwide  leaders  and  well-known  negotiation trainers  and  the  founders  of Karrass  Ltd.

  1. Share-bargaining process: Share bargaining is the process of negotiation that  concentrates on financial  divisions, issues pertaining to property, and power/status.
  2. Problem-solving process: The problem-solving process, as the name suggests, is concerned with solving a problem  by reaching  a solution  or set of solutions  amicable  to all parties  involved in the bargaining  process. In this interactive process, communication is essential and forms the basis of understanding the position  of each party.
  3. Attitudinal bargaining process: Attitudinal bargaining is a part  of every negotiation, particularly in the case of individuals  involved in a long-term  relationship. Karrass  and Karrass identify five dominant relationships: (1) extreme aggression, (2) mild aggression, (3) mutual accommodation, (4) open cooperation, and (5) direct collusion.
  4. Personal bargaining process: The classic “man versus himself” conflict characterizes the personal bargaining  process, whereby  an individual  experiences an internal  struggle and is part  of a course of action(s)  to resolve conflicting  needs and desires.
  5. In-group bargaining process: In-group bargaining  refers to negotiators working  for other  people or parties—these  negotiators can be representatives in the case of organizations or companies.

The importance and nature  of bargaining  differ from  one  region  of the  world  to  another. Often, there can be strongly opposing  cultural  norms that govern the process(es) or concept(s) behind bargaining  and  negotiation. In North America,  bargaining is guided by the societal facet or dimension in which it takes place. For example, bargaining  in social situations cannot  be expected  to follow the same rules as bargaining  in political  or legal contexts.  This  can  be  said  of  other  regions  of  the world  as well. Bargaining  among  commercial  vendors  and  private  buyers  is  less  frequent   (as  set prices typically  regulate  this form  of interaction); however,  in Southeast  Asia (i.e., Indonesia, Malaysia,   Vietnam,   and  Thailand, among   other countries  in the region) and in some other parts of the world,  bargaining  constitutes  a major  component of local and nonlocal  commercial  interaction. In some cases, vendors  preclude  the possibility  of bargaining  by indicating  that “fixed  prices” are in effect. This means that bargaining  is not acceptable in that  particular venue exclusively, while indicating that  cultural  norms  are  either  changing  or  at risk. In many cases, it can be difficult for people to understand when  or  where  bargaining  is acceptable. This idea is not limited to the context  of businesses, vendors,  or commercial  outlets.  Corporate business  culture  and politics in various  places can be  either  misleading  or  misrepresentative of  the acceptability of bargaining  in those places.

In the workplace or in companies, the process of collective bargaining takes place when there are negotiations between  employers  and  a  group  of employees who attempt to improve a certain set of working  conditions, usually over a long period  of time. In the case of collective bargaining, the interests of many workers  are taken  into consideration and  are  represented by  one  or  more  employees who  permissibly  speak  on  the  group’s  behalf.  In such  a case, a collective  bargaining  agreement  is the main goal of the representative during the negotiation process.  An agreement  can  signal the end  of the  collective  bargaining  process.  There  is no established  rule for the type of issues that  can be brought up during the bargaining  process; however,  typically,  matters  such  as wages,  hours, promotions, benefits, and other  conditions of employment  are discussed. A collective bargaining agreement  cannot  address  every single issue that might  arise in a workplace. Additionally, bargaining in this  context  cannot  overturn the  rights  of workers  or  of  individuals  who  are  protected by law in a given country. For example,  in the United States, workers  have the right, under  the National Labor  Relations  Act, to  form,  join,  or  assist in a workers’  union  at any time.

Dilip    Abreu    (Princeton    University)    and David  Pearce  (Yale University)  have  built  on  the theoretical foundations of bargaining  by arguing that  not  only  do  personalities determine  the  bargaining processes and outcome  but also the “presence of behavioral types profoundly influences the choices of optimizing  types.” They explain,  moreover, that “behavior is determined endogenously as part  of  a  social  equilibrium.”  Processual  theory sets apart  aspects of the overall bargaining  process to build a clearer picture  of the entire negotiation process that  takes place between people or groups of  people  in  various  settings.  Bargaining   range, critical  risk,  and  security  point   constitute  three main  elements  in  this  theory.  Integrative   theory states that  parties  take part  in a negotiation strategy that  attempts to reach  a “win-win” outcome. Narrative theory focuses on the discursive features of a bargaining  or negotiation process as opposed to logical factors  such as financial  gain.


  1. Laruelle, Annick and Federico Valenciano. Voting  and Collective  Decision  Making:  Bargaining and Power. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  2. Meyer, Erin. The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible  Boundaries  of Global  New York: Public Affairs, 2014.
  3. Muthoo, Abhinay. Bargaining Theory With  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  4. Osborne, Martin J. and Ariel Rubinstein. Bargaining and Markets. New York: Academic Press, 1990.

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