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Consider how an imbalance between high power and low power parties might shape a negotiation process How might an experienced mediator deal with this problem Provide practical examples where appropriate The issue of power is inherent in negotiations In most negotiated conflict situations one party has more power than another They may use their greater share of power to shape and manipulate a negotiation to achieve their desired objectives Furthermore when the power differential is substantial this usually has a significant effect on both the substance and process of the dispute This imbalance in power can be generated by a number of factors such as information and expertise control over resources money supplies manpower time equipment critical services interpersonal support and location in an organisation structure Lewicki Saunders and Minton 2001 Essentials of negotiation p135 In order to resolve such a conflict a third party negotiator or mediator can be used to help the parties negotiate an agreement which they then have the option of accepting or rejecting To be successful a mediator must have a thorough understanding these sources of power as well as adopting various negotiation tactics In some cases mediators will play a problem-solving role focused upon negotiating an agreement to the immediate dispute Whilst in other cases mediation focuses more upon improving relationships with the assumption that the improved relationship will lead to conflict resolution or constructive confrontation This essay will examine the effects of a power imbalance on the negotiation process as well as examining how an experienced mediator might deal with the problem Power imbalances are evident throughout society They may be generated by how much information or expertise someone may have compared to someone else For example a university lecturer may have more power than there student because of the knowledge they posses on a particular subject matter Power imbalances can also occur when someone has control over resources money supplies manpower time equipment critical services
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