Reflective Journal (Negotiation)

Reflective Journal (Negotiation) - NEGOTIATION JOURNAL 1...

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NEGOTIATION JOURNAL 1 Reflective Journal - Negotiation Terrance McKnight Teachers College – Columbia University
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NEGOTIATION JOURNAL 2 Reflective Journal - Negotiation Prior to enrolling at Teachers College, I naively believed that conflict could not be of any benefit to any situation or relationship; the word in itself had a very negative connotation. When I used to think of conflict, I thought of wars, win-lose situations and the like; basically, anything where direct, malicious competition was involved. I hated conflict, and as such, tried to avoid it at all costs; I have broken up with former girlfriends because “they are too prone to drama.” After all, who wants to be associated with welcoming confrontation? I was a self-proclaimed “lover, not a fighter.” But that was me viewing conflict as overt dysfunctional behavior on the border of chaos; basically, literal verbal or physical fighting. I have never been in a fistfight in my life; and because I have not and can count the number of times I have had an intense argument with others, I believed that I had enjoyed a moderately conflict-free life to date. Most of this was due to my perception of handling conflict; I oftentimes did not view myself as involved in conflict because I did not care about the issues of the conflict. Thus, externally, it appeared as if I were constantly employing an accommodating or avoiding style on the Dual Concern model (Resolution, 2009); internally, there was no conflict at all, or so I thought. I always sought to dismiss or avoid what I had defined as conflict mainly because I never thought that conflict could be a collaborative process or a situation where win-win goals could be achieved; I even viewed negotiations in a negative light. Dean Pruitt and Jeffrey Rubin stated that conflict means a perceived divergence of interest, or a belief that the parties’ current aspirations cannot be achieved simultaneously (Resolution, 2009); the latter part of this definition summed up my views on conflict. Ironically, I have always been competitive. I am an African-American who plays sports. Both of these aspects of my cultural identity lends to me having a competitive nature; the former because of the direct, emotional conflict style of most African-Americans, and the
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NEGOTIATION JOURNAL 3 latter because of the “win-lose” dynamic that is innate in most sporting games. However, I did not view competition as conflict, because it was usually under the guise of a game. Though competition can often be emotionally charged, I never viewed it as conflict due to the fact that no one was ever intentionally hurt physically or emotionally by it. The same goes for what I consider to be “healthy debate,” such as the stereotypical talks by the water cooler or in the barber shop; I see no harm at all in arguing about who is the greatest boxer ever or why interracial dating should be embraced more in America. These types of discussions (in addition to intellectual or religious debates) have shaped my outlook on conflict more than I
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Reflective Journal (Negotiation) - NEGOTIATION JOURNAL 1...

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