Negotiations in the International, Private and Public Sector

November Conference 2015

The conference took place on 6th November 2015 at the Institute of Management and Law of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). The goal of this conference was to give participants three different views of the art of negotiations in diffent frames. To do so, we invited three experts who are all very active in their field. This sold-out conference created a fruitful environment for both the participants and the experts, particularly through the intense exchange of views and ideas, the discussions following the presentations, and the interest and competence shown by our participants. The three experts were: Dr. James T. Peter, Dr. Vitalijs Butenko and Alessandra Vellucci.

Business Mediation

Dr. James T. Peter was to first to take the floor. His intervention “What is business mediation” gave an interesting insight on what a negotiation in the private sector looks like. What is the main goal of a negotiation? Is it to find a win-win solution? Or to benefit as much as possible regardless of the counterpart? A questions raised by one of our participants brought us back to the first conference of N.CH on November 2014: “How do you deal with different cultures in negotiation?”, the history teaches us for instance that it is a bad habit to show the soil of your shoes to your arab partner. The best you can do to avoid unpleasant situations is to learn as much as you can about the people you are going to negotiate with.

Negotiation Engineering

The floor was then taken byDr. Vitalijs Butenko, a smart academic from the ETH Zurich. His intervention titled “Negotiation Engineering”, he focused on the history of the game theory, and how to apply it on a daily basis for any tasks requiering strategy and decision. A few concrete examples illustrated how this theory can improve the outcome of a situation if correctly applied.

Negotiating at the UN

The third and last speaker to take the floor was Alessandra Vellucci, currently Chief of the Intergovernmental Support Service of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In her intervention on negotiations in an international frame, she provided our participants some extremely interesting stories of real negotiating dilemmas within international panels, and how she handled them.

At the conclusion of the conference, the participants had the chance to play the prisoner’s dilemma with a stranger, in order to apply what they have learned during the day. During twelve rounds, the red-blue game put our participants to face the importance of strategy, and also – when possible – to collaborate in order to both get a positive result. This brought us to a question stated at the very beginning of the day: is a win-win solution the main goal of negotiation?

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