As Dr. Chester L. Karrass
writes in his book Give and Take:
“Unethical tactics for achieving worthwhile goals ultimately destroy the positive value of those goals.”
In business negotiations
, we are working to achieve a goal. However, we should not be so goal-focused that we fall into unethical tactics. As Dr. Karrass says that unethical tactics “....have no place in the business world. Those in the gray area between right and wrong should be looked at with skepticism.”
Whenever we enter a negotiation we may ask ourselves what will I do to achieve my goals? The website, Culture at Work (http://culture-at-work.com/ethics.html
) on its section regarding ethics, puts it this way:
“When someone else stands in the way, the negotiator faces the core ethical issue of negotiation: when are my needs and wants more important than treating this person in a moral or socially acceptable manner? Whatever choice you make may involve significant costs to yourself, to the other party, to the wider community. Often the "right" thing to do is not clear.”
Some behavior is clearly wrong, like lying. But what about withholding information, is that unethical? What about bluffing?
According to Dr. Karrass, “Business bluffing is part of negotiating. However, the rules forbid and should penalize outright lying, false claims, bribing an opponent...”
In order to avoid unethical behavior and tactics, we must accept that ethical behavior is important and recognize unethical strategies and tactics. We may often have to take the higher road because the other party may not always act ethically.
Dr. Karrass suggests instilling the following guidelines:
Do not allow lawbreaking or lying
Avoid misrepresentation and exaggeration
Select ethical people to be on the negotiating team
Negotiate in good faith
Enforce the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have do unto you.”
Have you been confronted with unethical behavior during a negotiation? How did you deal with it?