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Negotiation is a process applied to confer with another individual with a purpose of settling some matter, and also to implement a conference for such a purpose. Human beings are negotiators by their nature. At various capacities, people make many decisions through negotiation. A butcher will haggle with farmer for an acceptable price for a bull, and a businessperson will negotiate with the lending institution for the optimal terms and conditions for a loan.

The two most known negotiation ways is either hard or soft negotiations. For the soft negotiator, the approach to settle a conflict will be to keep tranquility and accommodate concessions to resolve the matter. On the contrary, the hard negotiator views the matter as a battle to fight, in this case the person who seems to take the most extreme position and stick to it will carry the day. There is a possibility of the soft negotiator to feel used, while the hard negotiator will often be exhausted and end up creating enemies with other parties. Therefore, typical strategies for negation will likely to leave parties dissatisfied, hostile and worn out. The most frequent form of negation-positional bargaining-relies significantly on giving and taking up of positions. Though, this form of negation can be successful, it may not be efficient and may fail to reach a peaceable solution. The negotiators may stick to their positions, committing a lot of effort on maintaining their position at the expense of the victim of the matter under discussion. They tend to feel that a compromise will be translated into the loss (Francis, 2002).

The positional bargain also develops incentives that stall the settlement. The negotiators may stand with extreme position, threaten to leave the negation table, if their views are not considered, and stubbornly stick to their positions. Rather than jointly working to come up with a solution, the process becomes a battlefield of opinions. The agreement reached through such a process, tends to reflect splitting of differences, but not a careful development of beneficial solutions.

To have a successful negation with the win-win outcome, there are recommended steps that guide the process. To start with, a successful negotiator should be able to separate the individuals from the problem, and then they have to focus on the interest, rather than on positions. Secondly, the negotiator should create opinions for the mutual gain, i.e. work mutually to invent opinions that are satisfying to the both parties. Finally, they should emphasis on applying objective standards of ganging the proposed solutions.

To address a potential conflict in the workplace, it is advisable to follow the above-mentioned strategies.

Separating the People from the Problem

It quite difficult to solve a problem without parties misunderstanding each other, getting upset and taking issues personally. During negation, the “People Problem” causes entangle of relationship in discussion of the problem. The negotiating parties should make a commitment handle problem separately from relationships. As a negotiator, one should anticipate the potential “people problem” in the form of perception, communication and emotion. In dealing with perceptions, the negotiator should avoid confusing their perceptions with the reality; they should also avoid making conclusions on other parties’ intention prior to discussion. To arrive to an agreement, it is necessary for the negotiators to put themselves into other parties’ shoes to see not only the fault of their opinion, but also to have a clear view merits as well. Though, the blame tends to be a possible trap to fall into, one should not blame others for their problems. Though, blaming may be justified and tempting, it is likely to be counterproductive (Francis, 2002).

In the case of the blame game, the parties tend to be defensive and avoid listening. A successful negotiator will give the other parties a stake in the results of the negotiation by including them into the process.

According to Rousseau (2006), Evidence-based Management means decoding principles based on the evidence into organization practices. Through evidence-based management (EBM), the managers develop into specialists who make a decision through information made by social scientists. In other words, evidence-based management moves professional decisions from reliance on unsystematic experience, personal preference and typical situational cues towards making a decision based on the best available scientific proven evidence. This evidence usually comes from a large sample.

To apply the evidence-based management in the current case study (Oklahoma State University), manager must be exposed to understanding, and embracing scientific-based evidence. This point may be seen obvious, but it is not trivial. Unlike education or law, management cannot be classified as profession. There is no demand that managers should be exposed to the scientific knowhow concerning management. They are not required to pass tests to be licensed, or to pursue continuous education to be allowed to carry on with their practice. Furthermore, considering that the first choice for the most managers has been to consult with other managers, and since remarkably few managers tend to read academic materials, the forum on how to teach managers about evidence-based management remains open.

The best way through which to inspire managers to learn about evidence-based management is through encouraging them to undertake formal education in MBA programs (Shillabeer, 2011).

Theory of Creativity in Decision-Making

The psychological creativity is a concept of self-actualization. Self-actualization is being able to view the reality with accuracy, and having an objective comparison of cultures; creative decision-making process calls for genuine spontaneity and ability to look into issues in a fresh and straightforward way. The psychoanalytic theory maintains that creativity production is a result of preconscious mental activity. In this case, brain process information at a higher level that is less accessible to conscious thoughts.

Behaviouristic theories argue that human creative behavior is a conglomerate of reactions to the environmental stimuli. Appropriate stimuli will always lead to a creative behavior, hence, decision.

The cognitive approach recommends that creativity comes from the capacity for making new and unusual mental associations concepts. Creative thought is the manifestation of a general process, through which manager acquires knowledge about their trades.

Stages of the Creative Process

1.         Preparation

At the preparation stage, the decision-maker collects information about the problem. This entails understanding of the elements of a problem, and what ways they connect to each other.

2.         Incubation

During this stage, the decision-maker explores the problem, directly and indirectly, he examines all the alternative paths toward the optimal decision. The decision-maker will be engaged in doing many things that may be seen to have low chances of generating the solution. Apparently, playful activities will stir up the ideas of the decision-maker.

3.         Illumination

At this stage, the decision-maker becomes aware of a new alternative solution to the problem. This insight will happen when things come together either spontaneously or because of a careful work.

The decision-maker has to verify that the possible solution does have merit. The verification phase demands a careful thinker to go back to the facts of the problem and evaluate the quality of the alternative solution. Verification in this context means scrutinizing the newly invented solution in the background of how satisfying the problem is and how well it meets the objectives.

Blocks to Creativity

The creativity blocks derails and interfere with the process of creativity by obstructing the generation of new solutions to a decision situation. There are three main blocks to creativity:

Perceptual Blocks

These are the blocks, which arise from the way individual tends to perceive, examine, and define the problem at hand in the light of the alternative solutions. Some specific blocks under perceptual blocks are:

1.         Stereotyping

Mostly, this strategy is functional, since the categories available are rich and present the most observations sufficiently. However, when a new phenomenon appears, the stereotyping and the related preconceived concept interfere with correct decision.

2.         Tacit Assumption

Decision-makers often view the problem with constraints that are tacitly imposed, which may or may not be appropriate.

3.         Inability to understand the problem at various levels

This block is manifested in different ways. One of the manifestations is the familiar problem of separating the precise decision context that calls for attention. The other manifestation is focusing mostly on the details without reframing the decision to give it a broader context.

4.         Inability to view the problem from the other person’s perspective

In case a decision involves many stakeholders, it is always necessary to understand the interest, values and objectives of the other parties. A creative solution incorporates all the possible objectives. The inability to meet others’ objectives and interest may interfere with the development of the optimal decision (Keeney, 1996).

The Value-Based Blocks

The individual objectives and values can interfere with the ability of seeking creative alternatives in making a decision.

1.         Fear of risk taking

Though the idea of risk-aversion is the main concept in the process of making a decision, this may be counterproductive.

2.         The status quo bias

It means that the decision-maker is considering an alternative other than the status quo. Most people have a bias towards the status-quo. The stronger the bias is, the harder the process of formulating the best alternative decision.

3.         Reality versus fantasy

The decision-maker may place a lot of interest on being realistic, and little interest on fantasizing. Creative manager must contain their imagination and deal with the reality.

4.         Judgment and criticism

The block arises from using an individual’s values too early in the process of decision-making. Rather than allowing a free flow of the ideas, some decision makers tend to find fault with the ideas they come up with. This habit scarifies the creative potential.

The Other Blocks are Environmental and Cultural Blocks

The environmental factors that affect the division of agricultural sciences and natural recourses in Oklahoma State University include the general environment and the task environment. The task environment includes the divisions with which the organization has a direct interaction and has an express impact on the running of the organization’s capacity to attain its objectives. This environment essentially includes the raw materials, industry, market sectors and possibly the human resources, as well as international sectors (Kazmi, 2008).

On the other hand, the general environment affecting the division includes the sectors that to some extent do not have a direct interaction on the daily running of the organization, though; these factors are affecting the organization directly. The general environment in case of this division of the Oklahoma State University includes the government, economic conditions, sociocultural conditions, technology and financial resources sector. These environments affect all organizations in one way or the other.

The management in this division has taken the initiative to explain the goals and the principles of its strategic plan to every member of the division. This has assured each individual that though they may not be seating on senate, everyone can contribute to and assess the recommendations.  The recommendations are put before the members to determine the possible ways to fulfill the objectives of the organization. The strategic committee decides on the general recommendations, while the leadership, staff and the operating committees determines how these recommendations will be implemented (Robin John, 1996).

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