AN ORGANISATIONAL APPROACH TO LEARNING FROM STRATEGIC NEGOTIATION
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Negotiators are vital for organisations, yet little research has been undertaken to study how groups of negotiators can learn together. Learning is important because organisations have people undertaking complex negotiation in parallel, with similar objectives (Watkins 1999). This research focuses on strategic negotiation, where strategy emerges from long-term, consistent patterns of interaction (Walton et al. 2000). Following a literature review, an exploratory case study pursued qualitative responses from managers in a social care commissioning department, within the UK public sector. Semi-structured interviews gathered experiences and perceptions to understand how these managers can take an organisational approach to learning from strategic negotiation. Results were framed within the public sector context; particular issues around scarce resources and workload pressure were recurring. Findings were significant, suggesting that existing negotiation effectiveness is not always recognised, which can hinder performance. Organisationally, this can be improved if strategic negotiation is better defined within relevant job roles. This will ensure processes to support learning and the sharing of information is not too broad that effectiveness is lost. Also, within this department, the effectiveness of organisational learning from strategic negotiation is best measured by the strength of relationships with external suppliers. Moreover, within this social care sector, it would seem negotiation practice is one of the most complex areas to study, yet one of the least understood in theory. However, there are limitations to this exploratory research due to minimal prior studies on learning from negotiation and because data from participants represents only seven managers from one department. Nevertheless, this study answered the research questions and objectives. Furthermore, it has proposed two hypotheses for future research and guidance, that if developed, could support organisational learning from strategic negotiation. In conclusion, this research provides valuable insights into the under-researched topic learning from negotiation and has widened knowledge in the field of negotiation practice.