academia, academic, business, negotiating, negotiations

Are negotiations part and parcel of everyday life?

Negotiating is a powerful tool in organizational life, helping solidify relationships, create benefits; and speed up agreements for parties involved. However negotiations can diminish relationships, suspend agreements or cause parties to seek out other opportunities where their positions and interests are fully understood and appreciated by the counter party (See Diagram 1.1). Negotiation has been coined as ‘a process of maximising ones value through interpersonal decision making in situations where outcomes for each party are interdependent’ (Martin & Fellenz, 2010).

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Is negotiations part and parcel of everyday organizational life? Instead of taking a generalized approach to this question, this article will touch on three key situations where negotiations occur at different levels of an organization (Individual, Group & Organization Levels adapted from Cummings & Worley p.93 (2009)) that are embedded in organizational life.

Situation: Interviewer & Candidate at the Individual Level

A candidate seeking employment/advancement in organizations occurs on a daily basis. With the labour market intensifying coupled with people becoming more specialized, negotiations take place between employers and potential candidates regarding the terms and conditions of employment (Salary/BIK). Malhotra (2014) discusses tactics that candidates can use when faced with job offers:

Cited in www.mbjobsquad.com

Likability should not be underestimated: The potential employer must like you to consider you. Being likeable allows you to probe at the value of the offer without seeming petty and so on. DeMarr & Janasz (2013) also note such tactics for increasing your own power in a negotiation.

Justify Demands: An increase in proposed salary merits detail as to why you deserve it. Young & Rhoderick (2014) note that stating your position is the most explicit form in negotiations; often quantified and specific i.e. I want ‘W’ amount extra for moving to your organization because of my skills in ‘X’, my experience in ‘Y’ and my sacrifice in leaving ‘Z’.

Seriousness: A candidate should emphasize that they want to work with the employer in question. Using tactics that show how another six employers want you will only decrease the employer perception that you unquestionably want this job thus decreasing chances of your demands being taken seriously. DeMarr & Janasz (2013) also state that such intimidating tactics or trying to improve your BATNA to increase your power in a negotiation can cripple your position.

Considering the whole deal: Take into account the job satisfaction, responsibilities, opportunities for personal development and personal circumstances.

Situation: Employer & Trade Union at the Group Level

Featured imageIn places where trade unions have power and influence, integrative approaches or mixed motive bargaining is necessary to reach agreements. However, not all negotiating situations create outcomes beneficial for both parties. Martin & Fellenz (2010) note there are five different conflict handling styles shown below.

Accommodating: In the case of Aer Lingus, the employer ‘reluctantly agreed to pay €191 million into its employee pension fund’ which was a final recommendation made by an expert panel (also known as a mutual third party) (The Journal, 2014).

This aptly applies to the accommodating approach by allowing the other party to achieve what they desire at the end of the negotiation to ensure unity and harmony emphasizing the importance of the relationship (Martin & Fellenz, 2010). Demarr & Janasz (2013) point out WATNA (worst alternative to a negotiating agreement) and it is abundantly clear Aer Lingus management considered their WATNA prior to negotiations over the pension fund dilemma i.e. Employee strike causing disruption to services costing the airline everyday it continues.

Situation: B2B Sales at the Organization Level

In today’s globalized and interconnected world where competition is dynamic and complex, negotiation places a vital role in businesses acquiring the best quality inputs at the most favourable quantities and at the lowest prices possible or in terms of the supplier, acquiring the best possible price for their products at their most favourable quantities (DeMarr & Janasz, 2013).

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Literature Review: Coined by Lenarčič & Brcar (2014), conflicts can arise between business partners as they have different interests and goals and there is a paramount need to understand the counter party, find long term solutions acceptable to both sides. DeMarr & Janasz et al (2013), state there is a specific need to use an integrative approach in negotiations as the ongoing relationship merits better outcomes for both parties as ‘preferred customers often have better access to product support, and obtain more favourable delivery schedules and payment terms’. ‘Common goals will be compromised, if one party insists on its interests alone and very often, the other partner ends the relation in such situations’ (Lenarčič & Brcar 2014) thus it is necessary to align goals, avoid being perceived as manipulative or using hardball tactics; and be honourable in all dealings when relationships are important (DeMarr & Janasz, 2013).

The Ryan Air Story: Just after the 9/11 tragedy in the U.S, Ryan Air entered negotiations with Boeing and because of the downturn in Boeing sales caused by terrorist attack fears, Ryan Air availed of large discounts on a bulk purchase (Independent, 2008).

Ryanair interiorAbandonment: In 2009, Ryan Air came back to the negotiation table where the outcome differed due to a change in power positions. Ryan Air ended negotiations to purchase two hundred aircraft with Boeing following the supplier not agreeing to some terms and conditions (savings) that Michael O Leary’s company had ‘enjoyed in existing contracts with the supplier’. Mr. O Leary commented on the situation highlighting that it was disappointing that the negotiations did not result in a ‘mutually acceptable conclusion’ (BBC, 2009). It is important to note that all of Ryan Air planes are Boeing 737s’ as part of a cost minimization strategy.

Thinking Strategically: Despite the above case, it is of utmost importance for suppliers to transform business collaborations into business partnerships through sharing common goals; understanding the importance of the relationships (Lenarčič & Brcar 2014).

Conclusion:

The three situations discussed above show how negotiations are part and parcel of everyday organizational life, albeit, further discussion of all stakeholders must be analysed in negotiations to fully understand the interdependent web in which an organization resides. Negotiations happen on a daily basis (between line managers and subordinates) and some happen less frequently (mergers, acquisitions, make/buy decisions) but all impact on the short and long term effectiveness of a business. Finally, negotiations skills and training are crucial to every organization thus positions should be made or managers should be trained in the art of successfully negotiating with stakeholders like those aforementioned in the three situations to in order to maximize value through outcomes.

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academic, Analysis, citizen journalism, digital natives, digitalage, digitalutopia, Media, Social Media, technology

Social Media Marketing: A necessity in today’s connected world

We are the so-called ‘Digital Natives’ after being brought up alongside advancements in technology and mobile technology. We are connected and through our vast networks we share with others all elements of our daily lives. We explicitly inform those who are in our circles of the good, the bad and the ugly times in our lives. This sharing is not limited to facets of our personal lives albeit our aims are usually to promote ourselves as influencers across social media platforms. No sir, the world of commerce also spreads through all social media platforms thus we share our thoughts and experiences via using and consuming goods and services. Social media marketing is defined as………

Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of Internet marketing that utilizes social networking websites as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach (What Is, 2014)

Cited in Shelly Palmer

Cited in Shelly Palmer

What is the golden rule with regards to social media marketing?
If I was to describe social media marketing in one word however I would say that it is all about reputation. Think about this for a moment. The world is so connected and news travels fast that it is paramount that an organisation implements an online reputation management plan. Even if a company finds it difficult to measure results with regards to return on investment of their SMM efforts, reputation will always have to be managed effectively. It is the one piece of criteria that needs to be constantly monitored. Companies must recognise this to ensure their company and brands do not build a bad reputation on social media platforms. You can view some companies failures on twitter here and a key point to take away from these failures is to ensure the team in charge of social media spaces are competent with crisis management and know how to generate engaging content. Another . It is crucial to set up a Google alerts to monitor where your name or brand is being spoken of online as well as other tools like twitter search. Before going into depth with social media marketing and how it can be used towards your overall marketing strategy, check out the trends set for 2015 in SMM.

A good reputation is more valuable than money (Publilius Syrus)

Cited in Flickr

Cited in Flickr

Creating tangible results from the intangible……..
The network effects of social media is that platforms like Facebook and Twitter became extremely popular in a short space of time. What did marketers do? They hopped on the social media bandwagon pushing products and aggressively competing against rivals for market share and expand their reach. The social media ethos is to be human. The strategy of simply pushing products through your pages does not work on its own. You need to create engaging content and converse with users of such platforms. How do you know content is engaging? How do you measure effectiveness of posts and campaigns? I am not going to mention all the tools available to monitor and measure. There are so many available (some of which will be free) and a majority of them measure similar aspects with slight differentiations. One area I would recommend measuring is your Share Of Voice (SOV). This measures mentions of your brand versus competitors brands which you can learn more about here. Again, with regards to content you share, you can measure sentiment, albeit,  done manually. This will give you a ratio of good, neutral and bad mentions. Google analytic’s, Facebook insights, Twitter analytic’s and Simply Measured analytics are good starting points for measuring efforts on social media platforms. However as pointed out by Miller (2012), do not focus too much on ‘vanity metrics’, instead, look for site stickiness and total page views  of your website as well as click-through rate (CTR). This is what you want users of social media sites to do: You want them to be redirected to your very website to conduct purchases.

Cited in No Waste Marketing

Cited in No Waste Marketing

Social Media Marketing is in many ways different from traditional marketing (creating content, being human and conversing heavily with users). However, the fundamentals of marketing have not changed. Every marketing plan has a social media marketing plan as part of overall marketing strategy. Because users of social media platforms demand new content on a regular basis, I think that a strategy (long-term) is more of a guide line that will direct your company online while social media marketing is more about the tactics that you use to engage with audiences. The SOSTAC model can help you plan your social media strategy. Another useful tool for social media marketing is setting up a Google Calendar for publishing content, shares, Tweeting, Blogging and so on. this will allow your social media marketer to stay on top of all social media platforms effectively be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

To conclude, marketers need to test many social media platforms to see what platforms their target markets and segments are using. Sometimes, a company may find the majority of its audience on Facebook or Twitter while others may find that their audience is a younger demographic thus Instagram is the more widely used platform of their audiences. IKEA have leveraged Instagram in an interesting way by creating a catalogue through the application which you can read more about here. Finding new ways to leverage platforms will help you stand out from competitors. Another interesting concept that you should be looking at with regards to content you share in your marketing efforts in ‘evergreen‘ content (Colligan, 2011) which means that your content has a longer ‘shelf life’ per-say. Finally, Facebook’s new algorithm may force companies to rearrange their paid media arrangement which may have strong implications for smaller organisations with limited marketing budgets.

Remember that social media marketing is not a perfect substitute for traditional marketing. Companies should try and find a perfect ratio to suit their needs.

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academic, Analysis, citizen journalism, college, Experience, Social Media, students, University

NUIM? No bro, it’s Maynooth University, got it?

Where do I begin?
Ah yes, after completing the leaving certificate in secondary school I decided to ‘hop on the friend bandwagon’ in fear that I had to be with my friends to enjoy college. My first choice: Computer Science and Software Engineering…….yeah I know……

I chose this thinking that I would enjoy the challenge. Fate however is not without a sense of irony!!  The course enjoyed my suffering more than I enjoyed the course. So I dropped out, started a new course and transferred back to Maynooth when it was possible to do so.

Second Time Lucky!!!
After transferring back to Maynooth I reaped the benefits of the new library, great proximity and a great module variety. The only weak point (which is not the university’s fault) is the nightlife! God I just don’t see a point in going out in Maynooth. I feel like I am back in a teenage disco every establishment I enter (sorry Roost, Brady’s, Mantra in advance) so my final year in college in consisting of study and society involvement. Despite this set back, the MSU do work hard to provide the college students with top-notch events and have always done so.

Let’s get back on track:
What is great about this college? Well the people are great, the grounds are beautiful and the modules are interesting. This year (my final year) I have taken modules like sustainability and social media (which is my reason for writing on this topic) but the most interactive and interesting module is social media. Here are some photographs I took of the castle just outside the South Campus.

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Get Involved!!!
I am not the first person to say this nor will I be the last but the university experience is student-generated. In other words don’t expect everyone else to make the experience for you. It takes self commitment and eagerness to be part of a wider community. The more people you meet, the bigger your network becomes at university. This applies to all college life and thus it applies to Maynooth University. I know people who literally go into college, go to class and then go home. This is not what college is about. You spend your days working on academic writings or studying as well as attending classes but ultimately you need to get involved in extra curricular activities on campus. For instance, I am the events officer of the Maynooth University Business Society. So from running social nights out for members to raising funds for charities I am kept busy while at college. This involvement looks great on a C.V. as well as developing new skills and characteristics needed when entering the working world.  If you are thinking about applying for Maynooth University, here is a link to the great range of clubs and societies available to join.

To conclude, Maynooth University is a fantastic college that provides students with great resources to aid study and ongoing learning. The only negative aspect of the Maynooth Experience is the off campus night-life available which is limited and to be frank nothing special.

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academic, Analysis, digital natives, digitalage, digitalutopia, Experience, Media, Social Media, technology

Immediate Media

Okay people, back to basics:

What is Media?

Communication channels through which news, entertainment, education, data, or promotional messages are disseminated. Media includes every broadcasting and narrow-casting medium such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, telephone, fax, and internet. (Business Dictionary, 2014)

Ethics with regards to the use of media is constantly being challenged by different stakeholders who have a concern over the power of its presence. I am not here to get into a heated debate regarding that subject matter. I am here to breakdown how I am exposed to media on a weekly basis.
In today’s integrated world (with regards to communication), it is as simple as typing a message and clicking send for the receiver to view the message and instantly communicate back with you. Media can be communicated through an array of platforms/devices including the internet (via smart phones, laptops, tablets etc), newspapers, radios and so on.

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Online (Usage 65% of Total Weekly media spend):
My exposure to media on this platform has the highest ranking. After all I am one of many who grew up with it. I access the internet through two devices.

1. Smartphone:Unless you have some bizarre reason to be using a Nokia 3310 (which I call the ‘Builders Brick’), you more than likely have a smart phone. These devices have revolutionized how media is presented to users. I use my device on a daily basis be it checking E-Mails, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Asos or other useful applications. However I believe I spend too much time on this device like most people in this day and age. This was also cited by the Mail Online (2011) who warn smartphones were taking over peoples lives as more interesting content is released online. Fabian Hemmert (2014) points out that there is an existance of Smartphone Zombies which you can learn more about below:

2. Computer/Laptop: Similarly to my smart phone, I use of my laptop to check emails and log in to my social media pages. However I use this device largely for academic purposes. My media exposure is still high in this regard. After all, my course is Business an Management therefore I am constantly researching different companies websites, case studies and their official Twitter and Facebook accounts.

My exposure to media therefore is mainly through social media. As aforementioned I use an array of social media applications. Social media allows us to network, create and share content. To simplify it for you I have broken my exposure to these down.

i) Facebook (Usage: 30%) : I check this account daily primarily to check my messages, private group pages and comments left on posts. When I have time, I check my news feed for interesting articles or stories.For instance I was on Facebook the other day and I came across a post titled ’20 Things Bartenders need customers to stop doing’. Of course being a Bar Tender this was interesting to me. Likewise any news regarding the beer or spirits industries also catches my attention. My point being is that I am not just exposed to friends posts but companies posts be it selling a current product or marketing a new product. It is worth pointing out that I use Facebook for academic purposes e.g. If I miss a class I can get someone to inform me whether anything very important was covered and so on.

ii) Spotify (Usage: 20%) : I use my Spotify account as much as possible.I am in constant search of new artists, albums, songs and Spotify really set the status-quo with their application. Not only did the company create a platform that makes it easy to find new music but merged the idea with social media. Obviously if you have the free version of Spotify you are exposed to advertisements every few songs you play. Some ads are relative to me and some are not. For example, I may here an advertisement for a concert being held in Dublin (which I am interested in) and then I will hear another advertisement relating to insurance (but I do not drive therefore I don’t tune in to what the advert is telling me). I think advertisements through this form of media engages me as a listener/user/consumer but I filter the information I receive and only remember those adverts that are relative to me. According to KnowThis (2014), there are four levels to perception which effect how consumers filter information presented to them. These levels will be defined noted by KnowThis (2014) and applied to the to examples of adverts I was exposed to through the Spotify app:

  • Exposure – sensing a stimuli (e.g. hearing both adverts regarding the concert and insurance)
  • Attention – an effort to recognize the nature of a stimuli (e.g. recognizing that these are both adverts)
  • Awareness – assigning meaning to a stimuli (e.g., lively advert for the concert/ humorous advert for insurance)
  • Retention – adding the meaning to one’s internal makeup (i.e.Filter out the insurance ad/Retain Concert Advert)

Check out my spotify starred list here:

iii) Twitter (Usage 20%) : After recently setting up a Twitter account, I see what the hype is all about. I used to think friends were just being rude if they were on their phone instead of engaging with the group conversation going on around them but now I think social media platforms such as twitter can be addictive. I can see my usage of Twitter steadily rising especially when I start to follow brands I am interested in. Therefore I feel I engage with brands a lot more on this platform than any other. The more I engage, the more frequently I visit their online stores or retail outlets in the busy streets of Dublin.

iv) Instagram (Usage 15%): I’ve had an Instagram for a good while now. As a user I am exposed to the marketing and selling of different products on a weekly basis. Products can range from fashion to food or beverage based. I think companies can engage with digital native to large extent using this platform. Additionally I use Instagram to share photos with the community and I search for specific areas of interest be it fashion or scenery. I engage with companies to a certain extent on this platform. I would usually leave comments under their posts to give my opinion on a product etc. IKEA (who I follow) is a prime example of using Instagram to market its products and hats off to them in their efforts. They have basically created a ‘website’ if you will by giving each  2014 cataloged item their own account which you can read more about here.

v) Other Platforms (Usage 10%): These include applications such as ASOS, Pinterest, Tumblr, Songkick, LinkedIn etc which I use interchangeably depending on my free time  during the week where I can simply sit back and browse through each of them. Being a dedicated follower of fashion I would spend more time using apps such as Asos and I would regularly order from them too. The ease of purchasing through your smart phone or laptop reduces the effort involved in finding items in stores, checking for sizes and so on. Hell, just early today I bought a suit online.

vi) Email (Usage 5%): I usually check my email account daily for updates or important dates to keep in mind (How easy has Gmail made organizing the different aspects of our busy lives?). However I am exposed to promotions such as Groupon, Grab One etc which I would browse through every so often to try and locate something I ‘actually’ need and not simply buying out of impulse. I think companies are focusing less on email to market or sell their products and focusing more on their applications for smartphones. They seem to integrate their app with sales, marketing, news forums and feedback making it a useful platform for users and customers.

Television (Usage 25% of Total weekly media spend)

Back when having a laptop or a computer was considered a luxury, Television was more dominant with regards to how many people used it. Today it is used in conjunction with other forms of media such as Netflix and so on. I spend about 25% of my weekly media spend using this platform. Now with Digital TV I can skip advertisements between shows, movies etc so I only watch what I want to watch. I will still expose myself to certain marketing efforts if they appeal to me or if they add some value to my research in college. For instance, I have always been a fan of alcohol advertisements such as the famous Guinness or Bailey’s adverts. Therefore I believe television advertising is still relevant in today digital context as the adverts still persuade me to purchase certain products. This is also noted by Forbes (2013) who covered a business article stating that traditional marketing is still alive. Despite this, I am watching less television as I have access to laptops, tablets and smartphones. The main two reasons I would use my television is for games consoles or Netflix. For what I pay, Netflix is worth it. Where it lacks in movies it makes up for in TV Series. Obviously the only form of media I expose myself to with regards to Netflix are shows, documentaries and movies. Documentaries however may deter me from buying certain goods such as Coca Cola or KFC. The same thing can be said about social media. If a negative story is posted by a reliable source regarding a good or product I may stop purchasing that good or product. On  the opposite end of the spectrum if a company is sponsoring a sport or event it will stay with me for a long time and would stimulate me to purchase their goods or services. But I am easily influenced so to each his own is what I’m trying to point out.


Radio (Usage 7% of Total weekly media spend)

I barely listen to the radio. This could be because I do not drive. I do listen to it if there is a heated debate taking place on the likes of 4FM. Certain stations suit my taste in music. For instance, I loved Radio Nova when it first appeared on the radio waves but grew tired of them as it felt they played the same playlist everyday. Certain radio presenters have great senses of humor while others would put me to sleep with the lack of life in their voice. Companies advertising through the radio catch my attention if there is a chance to win a prize or enter a competition. Although if you live in the Republic of Ireland, I think you will all agree that we need to ban the Eurocycles/Eurobaby radio advert that pollutes the airwaves.

Magazines (Usage 3% of Total weekly media spend)

I buy one issue of Total Film or Empire every week to keep up to date on new releases or whatever is in the works within the film industry. I have never ordered anything from magazines but I like to look through the state of the art home entertainment systems such as new advances in surround sound etc. Usually I use the magazines to look at verdicts regarding new releases. If the movie has gotten poor reviews I will wait for it to leave the cinema and be uploaded to Netflix. But if a movie has gotten a lot of praise I will take the time to go and view it in the cinema. Despite purchasing these magazines on a weekly basis, I don’t think it will be long before I start subscribing to an online magazine instead of roaming the shelves of shops searching for the latest issue. This was also noted by Forbes (2014) who mentioned that most magazines are moving online to eliminate printing costs.

If you have an opinion on this, please leave a comment with your two cents on the issue.

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