OUTLOOK — By Haider Al Lawati — Negotiations are a continuous process all around the world, whether at the level of individuals, institutions, governments or international organisations. Every capable and efficient negotiator who has better position papers in his hand could accomplish his mission at the least possible costs, because he builds his issues on sound bases for negotiating with others. At the level of governments, we sometimes see that certain negotiations fail at the last moment because a particular point or a particular item does not convince the other party. Consequently, these negotiations drag on until an agreement is reached at a later stage.
Accordingly, there are some theories of this science. It is necessary that negotiations should be initially successful at the domestic level through the collective agreement of ministers, advisors and the other officials before they are launched to the next level with the foreign representatives of other governments.
If the group of advisors and domestic ministers are fully convinced that what they agree upon at the level of the domestic government could be equally successful at the second or third level, then this could form the beginning of success. However, if the head of the negotiating team insists on his opinion without consulting or ignoring the ideas of the other members, then this could be a setback for the negotiations at the second level with the other team.
We can apply the theory of the two-level game approach to many recent negotiation cases involving the political and economic affairs in many countries. Members of states, sometimes, are able to convince the other parties about withdrawal from any suggested project or to convince the others about their representation for that project if that is necessary for a country or organisation. Succession in such situations means protecting treatments that were approved by the members. There could be some complexities in such cases, but by applying sound policies and accurate thinking and decision, people can solve and adopt many successful projects on other stages.
This is very clear now at a time when the world is facing a huge financial crisis that has affected some countries because of foreign debts.
Negotiation means dialogue between two or more people or parties who intend to reach an understanding, or to resolve a point of difference, or to produce an agreement. Some people negotiate for bargaining or satisfying various interests of two or more parties involved in that process. They try to gain an advantage for themselves by the end of the process and to reach a compromise. Therefore, negotiation manifests itself with trained negotiators to act on behalf of their organisations. It also involves simple everyday examples like the process of buying a car, or to rent a house, or to achieve something which has value by getting it at a suitable price. In some cases the negotiations need a degree of trust and a forming of a relationship, because the parties involved in the negotiations want to walk away feeling they've achieved something which has value by getting what each of them wants.
Any kind of negotiation involves an agenda, the various steps, the interests, the tactics, the communication and the style the people adopt, besides the strategy, tools and options in order to reach their logical goal. Sometimes skilled negotiators are needed for complicated issues and demands in order to obtain all or most of the desired outcomes of a party.
In the Sultanate, today we need to spread a culture of negotiation in the many institutions, companies, workers, trade unions and professional associations that have been established in various fields. It is essential for members of these institutions to learn about these sciences to maximise the positive results for their teams when they negotiate with other parties. We need to educate members in those institutions, especially, some of the members who represent Omani organisations in international forums, which requires a strong team to enter into such negotiations.