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Ethics, Fairness, and Trust in Negotiations Essay

Discuss two of the following statements then respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings. Try to respond to students who picked different statements. * Discuss how skills in ethics, fairness, and trust can be a part of the negotiation process even though some negotiation tactics challenge those values. * Identify the Five Bases for Trust and explain why they are important in the negotiation process. Describe Kant’s Ethics of Principle and Mill’s Ethics of Consequences philosophies and discuss which theory you would be more incline to use in a negotiating situation.

Kant’s and Mill’s philosophies are a means to identify ethical means to guide parties to a successful negotiation. They are two separate school of thoughts in ethics. Kant believes that moral rightness should overcome and minimize self-interest, feelings, or empirical fact. Kant’s moral principle is based on pure reason. He states that basic ethical principles aren’t “empirical” (from sense experience). Ethics gives necessary truths that hold for all rational beings. In other words feelings whether personal, rational or irrational or sentimental should not be involved in ethical reasoning.

He believes that ethics based on reason is needed more than self-interest motivation because such motivation can lead to violation of duty. Such motives lessen our moral worth; the highest motive is to do our duty, not from ulterior motives, but just because it’s the right thing to do. Kant supreme moral principle is to act as if your action would become a universal law and to treat yourself and others as an end it itself not the means to an end (Gensler, 1998).

On the other side, Mill’s philosophy is based on pure utilitarianism (self-interest). Utilitarianism says that the basic moral principle is that we should to do whatever promotes the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Mill equated happiness with pleasure. But not all pleasures have equal value; higher pleasures of the mind are better than lower pleasures of the body. Mill’s view is purely hedonistic in nature. The basic idea of his philosophy is that any intrinsic value is based on pleasure which equals to happiness and we should all strive for it. There are however different values of pleasures in his view. The highest pleasures are more valuable than lower ones.

For example, the pleasures of learning things and of helping others are more valuable than the pleasures of eating and drinking. We can decide which pleasures are more valuable by looking to the consensus of experienced observers. Utilitarianism says that actions are right if they promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number. This is the basic principle of ethics of Mill’s philosophy, and the foundation of morality. In applying the principle, the happiness of everyone is equal. We should all strive for our own individual happiness. So, as a group, we try to obtain the happiness of all in the group and this is the basic foundation of the utilitarian principle (Gensler, 1998).

The two individual principles are equality attractive in the negotiation process and I can see the benefits of both of them. However, I believe that Kant had the right idea. If we are using either idea as a guide in the negotiation it is best to go for a more moralistic point of view than utilitarianism. I believe when we only think of self interests we lose sight of the true objective and purpose of the negotiation.


Gensler, H.J. (1998). Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction. London and New York: Routledge. Retrieve online at http://www.jcu.edu/philosophy/gensler/index.htm.

Discuss the Functionalist Model, Mutual Trust Principle, and the test for meeting procedural fairness of a negotiation.

The Functionalist Model is about procedural fairness in a negotiation. The model refers to the bargaining as a voluntary process and the purpose is to reach an agreement. Also, the concept of the model refers to behaviors that threaten reaching an agreement are also threats to the purpose of the negotiation. In this the negotiation process is adversarial and bargaining tricks and tactics are used to gain information and advantages (Carrell, 2008).

The Mutual Trust Principle refers to the procedural fairness in trust building in a negotiation. The idea is to build trust early in the beginning of the negation process. In other word to treat others as you would want to be treated. Your actions speak louder than word has a lasting effect on how you are perceived and how you perceived others. The appropriate behaviors in this principle to build trust is exhibits the same trust worthy attitude when you are gathering information about the other party by asking friends, associates, and contacts.

It is appropriate and expected that you would make an unrealistically opening demand and hide your real position. It would be appropriate and expected behavior that you give an open impression of non-adversarial and confrontational. The misrepresentation of facts and lying in a negotiation are inappropriate behaviors. To falsely threaten or promise things with no ability to deliver and use confidential information by bribery is unfair and inappropriate (Carrell, 2008).

The test for meeting procedural fairness of a negotiation is to ask yourself the following standard questions: * Reciprocity standard—would you want to be treated in this way? * Universality standard—would you advise others to behave this way? * Publicity standard—would you like to see the actions in the press? * Trusted friend standard—would you tell your friend of your actions? * Legacy standard—do you want to be remembered for acting in this way?

Carrell, M.R. & Heavrin, C. (2008). Negotiating essentials: Theory, skills, and practices. Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN-10: 978-0-13-186866-3

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