JMSB home |  E-negotiation project |  Inspire system |  Invite platform | 
  Home |  People |  Purpose |  Projects |  Seminars |  Papers |  Learning |  Community |  Positions  |  Franšais
 
 
 InterNeg Research Centre
 Suite MB-014-264
 1450 Guy Street
 Montreal, Quebec H3H 0A1
 Tel: (514) 848-2424-2799
 interneg@jmsb.concordia.ca

Power and Influence

Negotiation power can be defined as the ability of one negotiator to influence or modify the behavior of another. It has a variety of aspects and qualities. Power is not absolute but relational; one has power in relation to some other person or event. It is relational because the ability to influence others has to be accepted by them. Often power cannot be acquired rather it is given by others, for example, when one acts on behalf or a corporation or a large group of people.

Power is the source of pressure, while influence is the use of power. It is often associated with strength; powerful politicians, speakers and corporate officers that can influence organizations and groups of people. However, even the weak have power if they can deny what others wish to obtain.

Power is effective only when the target agrees to comply. Everybody may be able to resist the power of another. But one may feel powerless to resist. Also, the social, political, personal, and/or emotional price to be paid may be considered too high in comparison with compliance. Fear of failure in resisting someone‟s power may be another reason for compliance.

The aspects and qualities of negotiating power include:

  • It is relative between the parties
  • Changes over time
  • Is always limited
  • Can be either real or apparent
  • Its exercise has both benefits and costs
  • It relates to the ability to punish or benefit
  • It is enhanced by legal support, personal knowledge, skill, resources and hard work
  • It is increased by the ability to endure uncertainty and by commitment
  • It is enhanced by a good negotiating relationship
  • It depends on the perceived BATNA
  • It exists to the extent that it is accepted

Sources of power (J. French and B. Raven, "The Bases of Social Power." In D. Cartwright (ed.), "Studies in Social Power." Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, 2001, pp. 150-167.)

  • Information power and expert power is based on based on what one knows, what experience one has, and/or what special skills or talents one has. It involves the ability to present
    facts, make credible arguments and be persuasive with data
  • Reward power is based on the ability of some to offer positive or negative rewards be it tangible (e.g., monetary) or intangible (e.g., spiritual). It requires access to (re)sources that
    others require: direct and indirect control over resources
  • Legitimate power gives you authority because of your position in a hierarchy. This often gives you also information and resource power. Legitimate power can also be gained by
    reputation and performance has an influence. If you get things done (performance), people will respect the fact that you can get things done (reputation).
  • Referent power comes from affiliations and location in organizational structure: social networks can give you information power. Some positions are more powerful in terms of
    centrality, criticality, flexibility and visibility in a network
  • Coercive power exists when the use of or the threat of force is made to extract compliance from another. Force can be physical but also social, emotional, political, or economic.
  • Personal sources of power: friendliness, emotion, integrity, and persistence

Strategies of influence

  • Persuasion - ability to create a compelling logical argument
  • Exchange - offering favors or promises to secure the other person's cooperation. "One hand washes the other"
  • Legitimacy - ability to give direct orders and control the content & process of negotiation
  • Friendliness - establishing rapport
  • Praise or reinforcement - strong influence on shaping people's behavior
  • Assertiveness - being very direct, using strong and compelling language
  • Inspirational appeal - emotional appeal that targets someone's values or aspirations
  • Consultation - involving others makes them more likely to follow final decision
  • Pressure - like commitments, defines some cosequence for your behavior
  • Coalitions - getting support from others to strengthen your case

Illustration of the relativity of power

This story has been circulated on the internet. Allegedly it is based on an actual radio conversation between a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier (U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln) and Canadian authorities of the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995.

Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid collision.

Americans: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

Canadians: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid collision.

Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians: No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.

Americans: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES' ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE
ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR
COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH. I SAY AGAIN, THAT'S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER-MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO
ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.

Canadians: USS Lincoln, this is a lighthouse.....Your call.

 

 
  September 26, 2017
 
© Copyright 1996-2017 Gregory Kersten & The InterNeg Group
InterNeg Research Centre, Concordia University (Montreal)