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COM 507: Communication and Negotiation Skills Midterm Assignment Answers

COM 507: Communication and Negotiation Skills Midterm Assignment Solutions 2020

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Universal Computer Company

Introduction:

You work for the Universal Computer Company as the plant manager of the Crawley Plant. You are going to negotiate some arrangements with another plant manager from the Phillips Plant. You are in a potentially competitive situation where cooperation is clearly desirable. Your task is to find some way to cooperate as a confrontational situation or argument might seem to put you at a disadvantage.

 

Background Information:

The Universal Computer Company is one of the nation’s major producers of computers. Plants in the company tend to specialize in producing a single line of products or, at the most, a limited range of products. The company has considerable vertical integration. Parts made at one plant are assembled into components at another, which in turn are assembled into final products at still another plant. Each plant operates on a profit center basis.

Your Crawley plant produces computer chips, modules, cable harnesses, and terminal boards, which are shipped to other company plants. In addition to numerous computer chips, the Crawley plant makes more than 40 different modules for the Phillips plant. The two  plants are about five miles apart.

 

The Quality Problem:

Production at the Phillips plant has been plagued by poor quality. Upon examination, it has been found that a considerable portion of this problem can be traced to the quality of the modules received from your Crawley plant.

Your Crawley plant maintains a final inspection operation. There has been considerable dispute between the two plants as to whether the Crawley plant is to maintain a 95 percent overall acceptance level for all modules shipped to the Phillips plant, or to maintain that standard for each of the 42 modules shipped. The Phillips plant manager has insisted that the standard has to be maintained for each of the 42 individual modules produced. You as the Crawley plant manager maintain that the requirements mean that the 95 percent level has to be maintained overall for the sum of modules produced. Experience at the Phillips plant shows that while some module types were consistently well above the 95 percent acceptance level, 12 types of modules had erratic quality and would often fall far below the 95 percent level. As a result, while individual types of modules might fall below standard, the quality level for all modules was at or above the 95 percent level. This raised serious problems at the Phillips plant, since the quality of its products is controlled by the quality of the poorest module.

 

The Interplant Dispute:

The management of the Phillips plant felt that the quality problem of the modules received from your Crawley plant was causing them great difficulty. It caused problems with the customers, who complained about the improper operation of the products that contained the Crawley modules. As a result, the Phillips plant operation had earlier added secondary final inspection of its completed products. More recently it had added an incoming inspection of 12 poor-quality modules received from the Crawley plant. There were times when the  number of modules rejected was large enough to slow or even temporarily stop production. At those times, to maintain production schedules, the Phillips plant had to work overtime. In addition, the Phillips plant had the expense of correcting all the faulty units received from your Crawley plant.

Ideally, the management of the Phillips plant would like to receive all modules free of defects. While this was recognized as impossible, they felt that the Crawley plant should at least accept the expense of repairs, extra inspections, and overtime required by the poor quality of the parts.

Since installing incoming inspection procedures on the 12 modules, the Phillips plant had been rejecting about $15,000 of modules a week. For the most part, these had been put into storage pending settlement of the dispute as to which plant should handle repairing them. Occasionally, when the supply of good modules had been depleted, repairs were made on some of the rejected units to keep production going. The Phillips plant had continued to make repairs on the remaining 30 types or modules as the need for repairs was discovered in assembly or final inspection.

From your perspective, the Crawley plant felt that it was living up to its obligation by maintaining a 95 percent or better quality level on all its modules shipped to the Phillips plant. Further, you pointed out that using sampling methods on inspection meant that some below-standard units were bound to get through and that the expense of dealing with these was a normal business expense that the Phillips plant would have to accept as would any other plant. You pointed out that when buying parts from outside suppliers it was common practice in the company to absorb the expenses from handling the normal level of faulty parts.

The Phillips plant management argued that the Crawley plant management was ignoring its responsibility to the company by forcing the cost of repairs onto their plant, where only repairs could be made—rather than having the costs borne by the Crawley Plant, where corrections of faulty processes could be made.

 

Planning for Negotiations

Your objective is to develop a plan for that negotiation. The purpose of the planning process is to make sure you consider all of the major factors that may impact the upcoming negotiation, and assemble information, arguments, or analysis so that you can be more effective in achieving your goals in that negotiation. The readings in your textbook may offer additional help in considering how to plan most effectively.

Also Read: Communication Skills for Health and Social Care Management Assignment

Assignment Details:

  1. What are the issues to be negotiated?
  2. What are the priorities among the issues in the bargaining mix?
  3. What are the primary underlying interests?
  4. What are my limits on each issue—walk away points and BATNAs?
  5. What are my target points and opening requests on these issues?
  6. What do I know or can assume about the other negotiator’s interests, negotiating style, and personal reputation?
  7. What overall strategy do I want to pursue?
  8. What do I need to assemble—research, documents, charts and graphs, and soon—to make the most effective presentation on what I want to achieve? What tactics will I use to present my arguments or defend against the other negotiator’s arguments?
  9. What protocol is important for this negotiation: where we negotiate, when we negotiate, who is present for the negotiation, agenda to be followed, note taking? Also, what is my backup plan if this negotiation fails?

 

Negotiation Planning Process:

Here are the major dimensions you should address in planning for the negotiation:

  1. Understanding the issues—that is, what is to be negotiated?
  2. Assembling the issues and defining the bargaining mix:
    • Which issues are most important and which issues are less important?
    • Which issues are linked to other issues, and which are separate or unconnected?
  3. Defining the interests:
    • What are your primary interests?
    • What are the other’s primary interests?
  4. Defining limits:
    • What is our walkaway point on each issue—that is, what is a minimally acceptable settlement for each issue or the issues as a package?
    • If this negotiation fails, what is our best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA)?
  5. Defining targets and openings:
    • What will be our preferred settlement in each issue?
    • What will be our opening request for each issue?
    • Where are we willing to trade off issues against each other in the bargaining mix?
  6. Opposite negotiators: Who is the other party (or parties) in the negotiation?
    • What information do we have about them?
    • What issues will they have?
    • What priorities are they likely to have for their issues?
    • What are their interests?
    • What has been my past relationship with them? What future relationship do I need to have, or would I like to have with them?
    • What is their reputation and style, and how should I take this into consideration?
  7. Selecting a strategy:
    • What overall negotiation and strategy do I want to select? How important are the outcome and the relationship with the other?
    • What strategy do I expect the other will be selecting?
  8. Planning the issue presentation and defense:
    • What research do I need to do on the issues so that I can argue for them convincingly and compellingly?
    • Do I have (or can I prepare) graphs, charts, and figures that will clearly communicate my preferences?
    • In what order and sequence should I present the information?
    • What arguments can I anticipate from the other party, and how am I going to counteract their arguments?
    • What tactics will I use to present my arguments or defend against the other’s arguments?
    • What tactics will I use to try to move us toward agreement?
    • What roles will different people play in the negotiation?
  1. Protocol:
    • Where will we negotiate? Do we wish to influence the choice of location?
    • When will we negotiate? Do we wish to influence the time and length of negotiation?
    • Who will be at the actual negotiation meeting? Do we want to bring other parties to serve a particular purpose (e.g., an expert or an observer)?
    • Do we have an agenda? How can we help to either create the agenda or participate in its development?
    • What will we do if the negotiation fails?
    • Who will write down and confirm the agreement? Do we need to have the contract reviewed by a professional (e.g., attorney, accountant, agent)?

 

THE MIDTERM ASSIGNMENT

Develop a Negotiation Planning Guide by carefully and considering all aspects of the negotiation process by answering all 10 questions. (100 Marks Total)

  1. What are the issues to be negotiated?
  2. What are the priorities among the issues in the bargaining mix?
  3. What are the primary underlying interests?
  4. What are my limits on each issue—walkaway points and BATNAs?
  5. What are my target points and opening requests on these issues?
  6. What do I know or can assume about the other negotiator’s interests, negotiating style, and personal reputation?
  7. What overall strategy do I want to pursue?
  8. What do I need to assemble—research, documents, charts and graphs, and so on—to make the most effective presentation on what I want to achieve? What tactics will I use to present my arguments or defend against the other negotiator’s arguments?
  9. What protocol is important for this negotiation: where we negotiate, when we negotiate, who is present for the negotiation, agenda to be followed, note taking? Also, what is my backup plan if this negotiation fails?
  10. CONCLUSION:

a).  What did you learn from this midterm assignment?

b).  What impact did this midterm assignment have on developing your communications and negotiation skills?

c).  What are some of your thoughts and reflections on this midterm assignment?

d).  What part of the midterm assignment did you find to be the most challenging and how did you overcome it?

 

 

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