Strategy and Collective Bargaining Negotiation

By Carl M. Stevens | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V Tactics of Coercion: Bluff and Notbluff

In a game-like interaction such as collective bargaining, the outcome realized by each party depends, in part, upon the course of action pursued by the other, and hence what each party does depends, in part, upon what he thinks his opposite number will do. These considerations of strategy underlie tactics of coercion, which were distinguished in Chapter IV as: A's attempts to control B's course of action by operating upon B's opportunity function (the range of outcomes at least apparently available to B) --as this depends upon A's own course of action, and/or the courses of action of "third parties." Coercion thus defined includes items (5) and (6). In negotiating with B, A may (5) attempt to alter or establish B's expectations about A's intended subsequent courses of action and (6) attempt to alter or establish the courses of action of "third parties" where these may affect the outcome of negotiations.

As we have discussed in Chapter IV, tactics of rationalization were deemed persuasive insofar as their impact on a "public" was concerned. At the same time these tactics are coercive insofar as the impact on the bargaining opponent is concerned.

Tactics of coercion may be divided into two classes--bluff and notbluff. On the subject of tactics of collective bargaining negotiation, one finds frequent reference to the bluff as an important instance of such tactics, and, in this literature emphasis generally tends to be put on the deception aspect of the problem.1 In other analyses of interactions involving conflict, some of which are of at least potential interest in analysis of collective bargaining negotiation, emphasis tends to be on notbluff.

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