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Should I Be Worried About Multi-Party Negotiations? Part 2

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In part one of this two-part series, a Broward contractor attorney from Cotney Construction Law explained the fundamentals of multi-party negotiations, the pre-negotiation stage, and the various complexities associated with these negotiations. As we discussed, negotiations involving three or more parties are decidedly more complex than traditional two-party negotiations, and contractors can benefit by having a Broward contractor attorney present throughout this process. Your attorney can help you prepare for the key challenges inherent to multi-party negotiations. In this article, we will break down these challenges.

Formulating Trade-Offs

When you sit down at the negotiation table with three or more parties, you’ll have to be on the lookout for trade-offs between parties that can offset the balance of negotiations. Circular logrolling occurs when a series of trade-offs is implemented like a chain reaction. Each party concedes on one issue to help bolster their case on another issue. Unfortunately, these concessions tend to cancel each other out as negotiations travel around the table. You should also be cognizant of reciprocal trade-offs, a type of trade-off that involves two parties negotiating a trade-off that could be beneficial for two parties but detrimental to the third.

Voting and Majority Rule

Many multi-party negotiations have to implement a voting and majority rule to usher the process toward a clear resolution. Usually, a fifty percent majority plus one vote is enough to end negotiations, but this creates problems of its own, including:

  • Condorcet Paradox: a phenomena in group voting that results in differing majorities based on the alternative solutions proposed after multiple votes.
  • Impossibility Theorem: the theory that “a clear order of preferences cannot be determined while adhering to mandatory principles of fair voting procedures.”
  • Strategic Voting and Misrepresentation: a situation involving one negotiator intentionally misrepresenting their preferences to get a leg up on another negotiating party.

Communication Breakdowns

As is the case with any type of negotiation, communication can break down suddenly and without warning. When this happens, your chances of reaching an amicable resolution are greatly reduced. There are many reasons for this, but some of the most common include:

  • Private Caucusing: side meetings held in private between two parties that result in information being withheld from negotiations.
  • Biased Interpretation: the phenomena in which negotiators’ predispositions affect the flow of information and how it is interpreted.
  • The Curse of Knowledge: the phenomena in which a party with access to highly valuable information that other incorrectly assumes that other parties have access to the same information, regardless of whether or not they actually have means to obtain this information.
  • Indirect Speech Acts: a speech technique that involves one person asking another to perform a certain task, so they can gauge their response and the steps they followed to complete the task.
  • Multiple Audience Problem: the challenge of clearly communicating thoughts and feelings to an audience composed of unique individuals with different perspectives.

If you would like to speak with one of our Broward contractor attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.