The avoiding approach to negotiating is characterized by losing, leaving, and withdrawing. No commitments are made, and behavior is impersonal. Use this approach when you would get hurt by staying or when you want to change the ground rules. It is useful when issues are trivial and is helpful when the other side has much greater power. Its disadvantage is that the problem is left unresolved, and this can result in nothing getting done if too many problems are swept under the rug. In the avoiding approach, at least one of the parties displays a subtle reluctance or unwillingness to resolve the issues. This approach is of little use for those working with organizations as it strains relationships and prevents the building of trust between the parties involved. Using this approach can also increase the other party's resistance to negotiation.
Under the accomodation approach, the parties are yielding, and they try to avert conflict. The accommodating negotiator undervalues his own worth and accomplishments and places top priority on maintaining peaceful relations with others. It is a "don't rock the boat" philosophy used when there is a need to concede on small points in order to gain on major points later. It is helpful when the other side is right and you should give in, or when preservation of the relationship is more important than negotiation. Among its problems are that it creates potential IOU's for future negotiations. Furthermore, it may hand you a major loss on important issues and can lead to a habit of concession on many issues, hence decreasing your power and reputation. This approach gives away too much by overly emphasizing the relationship between the parties. Accommodating may satisfy the other party while your interests suffer. Use this approach when appropriate, but do not make a habit of it.
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CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.