Power at the bargaining table is rarely distributed evenly. Power can shift from one side to the other in response to changing circumstances as people negotiate. In fact, the word power has somehow come to be associated with a negative connotation. This is because most people would understand the word in reference to one side dominating or overpowering the other. However, “negotiating power” is simply defined as the ability to influence others. Understanding how negotiation power works and how it can be manipulated is a critical part of negotiating successfully.
Power has many types and during the process of negotiation, many of these types can influence the result and the outcome. Their potential depends on their usage, when power is not used or exercised, it has no value. Position power for instance, can definitely be used. If the person is the head of the finance department, he can exercise his influence during negotiations and decisions about the annual budget of the company. Expert power or information power is also helpful during a negotiation process because the application of knowledge definitely confers power.For example, research can be performed before the negotiation process to find out what the other party’s goals are and discover the areas which they consider negotiable, and then this knowledge can be used during the negotiation process (Schneider, 2002). Charismatic individuals and people with referent power are also valuable assets during a negotiation process because individuals who are seen as trustworthy or who are good communicators can at many times facilitate the process and win the cooperation of the other side.
The fact that they are well-liked by others often helps to swerve the outcome in their favor. Reward and coercive power can also be used during the negotiation because people who have the power to bestow rewards and laurels on others, as well as those who can punish or penalize others hold significant power. Through the sheer strength of this power, they can influence the outcome of the negotiation process (Adler, Rosen & Silverstein, 1993).