All of us know, the art of negotiations. It’s not a science, with set rules. As we work under uncertainty, it’s difficult to follow a straight path. Ideally, each party negotiates to maximize self interest. However, when both parties are equal or slightly unequal, many a times rational outcomes does not arise. Take example of recent Negotiations between BJP and Shiv Sena. We can look at it in two phases: Before Election and After.
Both parties appear very strong, and Shiv Sena, having upper hand in ticket distribution since last 25 years, fails to recognize the rise of BJP and failed to accommodate the demand. Had they were more accommodating, the outcome for them would have been different.
They anticipated, rise of BJP would diminish their chances, with more Seats, they could bargain better with BJP. In the process, they bargained beyond reasonable.
For Shiv Sena, Pride came in the way, and they could not go back in compromising position. It is when, they lost the entire battle of negotiation. Obviously, in Hindsight.
For BJP, they probably always wanted to ditch the alliance, but with no reasonable ground, could not break away. Or Atlest assert their new found Power after thumping victory in Lok Sabha. They are like a younger brother, who for prolonged period remained under the shadow of the elder brother, and now aspires to show his prowess. Hard Negotiation for them was not a bargain but a door to break away or asset their superiority, they succeeded. BJP had detailed analysis and could measure the pulse of the voters, so they knew, they have an excellent chance of securing major seats.
BJP now is in a superior position. With a master stroke from NCP, they bargain very hard with Shiv Sena, now they deployed the same technique of pushing Shiv Sena to the wall.
For Shiv Sena, once again, they could have accepted the weaker position, but somehow it seems indecision or pride or both of Mr. Udhav Thakarey come in the way to accept the defeat at the hand of BJP.
In my analysis, if both BJP/Shiv Sena does not come to cooperate each other, both will loose out on negotiation.
Let us apply, game theory, classic example of Prisoners Dilemma.
If you are unaware, the Prisoner’s Dilemma is a classic game theory question, where each party has the option either to co-operate or betray another. In the absence of knowledge of the stand taken by other person, it is difficult to take a decision. So, If prisoner – A : Keep Quite and prisoner – B : Confess or vice a versa, both of them looses, since one of them have to go to Jail for 10 yars, as they do not know stand taken by other, No one will keep Quite, because than other person has chance to go Free. If both of them Confess, they go to Jain for 5 Years. So, in Ideal situation, in the event of uncertainty/ non availability of complete information or knowledge or other party action, best would be to cooperate i.e. Keep Quite. Even, though, it gives advantage to other. You may have to re read it couple of times to understand, as to why Keeping Quite, by both the parties, and accepting Jail Term of 1 years is best Alternative.
Now, let us relook at how Negotiations in real life have progressed:
Negotiations, to my mind are like a game of Chess + Poker. While you have to move strategically to best serve your long term interest, like poker along the way, you may be required to bluff. In a situation, where long term self interest is not getting served, the best situation would always be to Co-operate. A la Keep Quiet, even if, it appears that other would take advantage of Silence by confessing.
Though, in real life, there are many factors at play. As we hear every other day, some statements coming from NCP, threatening to withdraw support etc.. However, we know very well, its all a veiled attack to keep BJP on tenterhooks.Third parties does play an important role, but they should never become pivotal to negotiation strategy. If BJP banks on NCP support for their negotiation power with Shiv Sena, they will loose out, more so because in the ultimate analysis, its like conceding your power of negotiation to third party, while winning negotiations with others. In this case, Shiv Sena.
Similarly, for Shiv Sena, support of BJP in Mumbai Municipal Corporation is Must to continue its control, so in a sense, they appear to be weak, but even for BJP, appearing to be breaking Shiv Sena in Mumbai would indicate a negative image, that they cannot afford to project. In between, Shiv Sena utters less than a polite word on our Prime Ministers pedigree, and that seems to be the real blow to any further fruitful negotiation. And again for BJP supporting Shiv Sena in Mumbai leaves them a door open for renegotiaon. For Shive Sena, recalling their MP’s before cabinet expansion is part of the Shiv Sena strategy to show their displeasure over, the manner in which, their MP – Suresh Prabhu was snatched by BJP hours before expansion. It’s not that they loved him, but at least they have to appear to be having displeased. All along, bluff, calling shots thru media has become a norm to further ones negotiation power or to appear strong, so to speak, And at the same time keeping the back door open. With each round, the matter becomes complicated. And as the saying goes.
Problems are rarely a problem, but our reaction to the problem becomes major problem.
Thus, now original negotiation on Seat Sharing has turned into a power game,pride and game of one upmanship. And mostly, Pride always comes in the way of Rational Decisions.
What will happen:
In coming days, if both parties act rationally to serve their long term interest, like Prisoners Dilemma, the only way is to have a compromise formula. Finally, I feel PM Shri Narendra Modi will call the shot, if he can forgive some not so pleasant words in Samana – Shive Sena Mouth Piece and provide a long rope to Shiv Sena, that also requires some private apology from Mr. Udhav Thackarey. And if Shiv Sena, accepts the fact that they are no more a big brother in Alliance and that BJP will call the shot.
Let us wait and see how matters unfolds in the coming days.