Culture - The Body/Soul Connector in Negotiation Ethics
Jacqueline M. Nolan-Haley, CULTURE - THE BODY/SOUL CONNECTOR IN NEGOTIATION ETHICS, Hamline University, 2009
14 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2009 Last revised: 2 Apr 2009
Date Written: February 2, 2009
We conclude in this chapter that teaching effective negotiation in a global environment requires a framework for ethical decision-making, and therefore, ethics coverage should be part of negotiation training, whether it is a two-hour or two-day executive training program, or a two-semester course in law school or business school. If we conceptualize skills as representing the body of negotiation training, then ethics can rightfully be considered its soul, the spiritual sphere or innermost depth of one's being where a person makes moral decisions. From the soul, which is infused with its own unique cultural identity, the negotiator grapples with the deepest issues of professionalism and personal morality, and from the soul she attempts to resolve them. Acknowledging ethics as the soul of negotiation training recognizes the totality of the negotiator's personhood and explicitly honors her human dignity. Respect for human dignity reminds us that we are not training neutral technocrats, but human beings who will interact with other human beings in the human community. Beyond the spiritual sphere, ethical principles of professional responsibility distinguish legal negotiations from the morals of the market place bazaar, and provide practical guidance that may protect lawyers from disciplinary charges. We argue, therefore, that having workable guidelines to make ethical decisions in negotiation is no less important than knowing the skill sets for when to make the first offer, or how to close a deal.
But this claim is to state the obvious. Skills and ethics, the body and soul of negotiation training, always operate within cultural and contextual settings. In negotiation, culture matters a great deal because it may be determinative of how the negotiator perceives the ethical implications of her own, and the other negotiator's actions. In an era of globalization, transnational law practice, and internationalization of domestic law, students ignore cultural norms at their peril because ignorance of these norms can derail negotiations. The task for educators, therefore, is to provide negotiation students with a culturally inclusive framework for understanding ethical decision-making.
Keywords: negotiation, ethics, culture law school, legal education, culture
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