Multiparty negotiation is a negotiation process in where more than two parties are working together to reach a collective objective. In the multiparty negotiation process, each party has his own preferences and priorities. Therefore, a meeting is required to make a discussion about the best options for everybody and make a collective decision. This is a multiparty negotiation that involves unique dynamics in a collective decision-making process.
However, the process is not that easy to manage. There are factors that make multiparty negotiations more difficult to manage than one-on-one negotiation. First of all, number of parties makes the negotiation become bigger and create challenges for managing several different perspectives. It is difficult to ensure that each party has enough time to speak his own preference and be heard. Secondly, informational and computational complexity brings in more issues, more perspectives on issues, and more total information. Increasing the number of parties make the negotiation situation less lucid, and more demanding. Many people involving in a decision-making also create social complexity. The social environment would change from a one-on-one dialogue to a small-group discussion. As a result, all the dynamics of small groups begin to affect the way the negotiators behave, and participate. Besides, when more parties are involved in a negotiation, the process individual has to follow is more complicated. Parties take longer time to present the issues and it takes longer to reach the negotiation objective. The parties may have to negotiate a new process that allows them to coordinate their actions more effectively. Finally, multiparty negotiations are more strategically complex than two-party ones. The negotiator must consider the strategies of all the other parties at the table and decide whether to deal with each of them separately or as a group.
Since there is many parties involve in the negotiation and the process is complex, negotiator should know the effective ways to deal with it. There are three main stages that characterize multilateral negotiations: renegotiation, actual negotiation, and managing the agreement. In the renegotiation stage, the parties would deal with participants, coalitions, defining group member roles, understanding the costs and consequences of no agreement, and learning the issues and constructing an Agenda. In the formal negotiation stage and managing the group process and outcome, to ensure a high-quality group decision, the parties have to appoint an appropriate Chair, use and restructure the Agenda, Ensure a diversity of information and perspectives, ensure consideration of all the available information, manage conflict effectively, review and manage the decision rules, strive for a first agreement, and manage problem team members. At last, in the agreement phase, four key problem-solving steps are to select the best solution, to develop an action plan, implement the action plan, and evaluate the just-completed process.
At last, multiparty negotiation is like a group decision-making in which all members are trying to reach a common solution in the situation but the parties’ preferences may be different. Therefore, parties need to understand thoughtfully its process, develop strategies to deal with the issues, and understand how to make their group as an effective group.