Pay Negotiations Conflict



There are 5 conflict-handling styles, avoiding/withdrawing, accommodating, collaborating, competing, compromising.

Avoiding or Withdrawing

  • It is a lose-lose situation.
  • It is where one party just backs out from the situation resulting in the negotiation to be broken off.
  • The negotiations stops before the situation is resolved and before each party is able to find an acceptable solution.


  • It is a lose-win situation.
  • It is where one party is willing to oblige or adapt for the other party’s needs.


  • It is a win-win situation.
  • It is where both party will find a situation that is satisfied by both parties.


  • It is a win-lose situation.
  • It is where one of the party will benefit and gains advantage over the other party.


  • It can be a win-win, win-lose or lose-win situation.
  • It is a where both parties come up with a settlement through concessions by one or both parties.
  • It is where the settlement satisfy both parties.
  • It is where the settlement only satisfy one party’s needs and goals.

One of the conflict-handling style that was used in the scenario was compromising. This style was displayed through Kay. Compromising is a style that negotiates the conflict. It allows for both of the parties to be satisfied even though it is not the ideal solution to either parties, but it has settled the main conflict. Even though it can result to a win-win, win-lose or lose-win situation, either way a settlement is met. When Kay was approached by Robert for an increase in his pay, Kay knew that it was not possible as the company has plans to expand and diversify. Kay then tried to negotiate with Robert to come to a settlement with Robert, that even though he was not given a raise, there could be new job opportunities, overseas assignment and possible promotions in the new project. It shows that Kay is trying to come up with an acceptable solution and negotiate because what Robert has asked for is not achievable.





Distributive approach is a win-lose situation. It tends to be competitive. This approach will only benefit one party, and only one party gets what it wants. Whereas integrative tends to be cooperative where both parties are willing to negotiate. They are willing to sacrifice what is less important to them for the other party.

Robert has used a distributive bargaining approach. In this scenario, Robert requested for a raise due to his team’s contribution to a profit increase for the company. And when Kay suggested other solutions as the raise was not possible, Robert made threats to get the union involved if he did not get what he wanted. This shows that Robert is not willing to settle in a mutual agreement or negotiate the situation, and is only thinking about his benefits and individual profit. It also shows that only Robert will benefit from this situation.



Interpersonal communication is a one to one communication and are verbal and non-verbal messages. It includes the body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, listening, assertiveness, etc.

I think that the lack of effective listening is contributing to the poor working environment. Such as attitudinal barrier in effective listening. Attitudinal barriers are behaviours that prevent people from communicating properly due to their own opinions and personal feelings.

Kay was willing to sit down and talk with Robert about how his team could benefit and get involved in the new project which could result to new job opportunities rather than having a monetary increase. However, Robert was not listening effectively and is adamant that his team needs to be compensated. Robert shows signs of egocentrism as he is thinking only about himself and not taking into consideration of the suggestion given by Kay. Robert is also showing that he is engrossed with the idea of getting a pay raise and is getting his personal feelings in the situation, as he is not willing to settle for anything else and is threatening to go to the union if he does not get what he want.



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High context model tends to be more in-direct, relies on non-verbal communication, value cooperation, group harmony and encourages long-lasting relationships. Whereas low context cultures are confrontational, direct and focusses on individual needs and tends to make short-term relationships.

Using Hall’s context model, Kay shows signs of characteristics of high context cultures. Kay knows the value of Robert’s team and acknowledges their achievements. She is also willing to sit down and talk about how Robert’s team can get involved in the new project and how there would be other job opportunities, possible promotions, etc. It shows that Kay foster long-lasting relationships and wants the message to be conveyed to Robert properly, as it is all interpreted by how her suggestions are being said, where it is being said and her body language to persuade Robert that her suggestions are acceptable and could satisfy him without having a monetary raise.



Reference list

Difference Between Distributive and Integrative Negotiation Strategies. (2011). Brighthub Project Management. Retrieved 19 August 2017, from

Frost, A. (2013). High Context and Low Context Cultures | Monochronic & polychronic time | Restaurant Kyoto’s Blog. Retrieved 19 August 2017, from

Interpersonal Communication Skills | SkillsYouNeed. Retrieved 19 August 2017, from



4 thoughts on “Pay Negotiations Conflict

  1. Hi Nadia. I think your explanation towards choosing compromising do make sense as end of the day there is no conclusion to their conflict. However, I feel that it is quite confusing as other conflict-handling styles are suitable for this case study too. I agree with you regarding the distributive approach which Robert used as it clearly shows that he only thinks about his own benefits and individual profit. I also agree that Kay is showing a high context culture as by giving more opportunities to Robert, it shows that she wants him to stay and continue to work for the organization.


  2. Hi Nadia,
    I really enjoyed the detailed and insightful explanation to each of the answer posted. I think it is great that you took the time and effort to give a summary of each and every style of conflict-handling. This is so a person without business communication knowledge would be able to briefly read through the different styles and decide for themselves whether or not they agree with your answer. However, I feel that it is possible that Kay is adopting a collaborating style as one can argue that the new job opportunities, overseas assignment and possible promotions would have greater value than the 8% increase in pay. I feel that the opportunities afforded by the new project “creates a bigger pie”, albeit a delayed one, if Robert stops seeing things narrowly and agrees to work on it with Kay. Thus, resulting in a win-win situation as the opportunities could carry a higher value than the 8% increase


  3. Hi,
    Impressive insights on this case study! I like that you explained clearly the 5 conflict-handling styles as well as the difference between distributive and integrative approach to bargaining. It was refreshing to read your understanding on Kay’s conflict-handling style. Many of the other post that I read all mentioned Robert and his Competing conflict-handling style. I also agree with you that there is a lack of effective listening in this conflict. Robert did not effectively listen to any of Kay’s options to his team and was only fixated on getting his team a pay raise. I believe that if Robert could listen and understand where Kay is coming from, he will understand that Kay is actually giving him a better option by getting his team to work on the new project.
    I really enjoyed your post. Great work!


  4. Hi Nadia,
    Great explanation towards 5 conflict-handling styles. I do agree with you that Robert is using distributive approach. it clearly shows that Kay has already flagged with him that the new project could really benefit his team with a lot of job opportunity as well as possible promotion to various leadership positions. But he refused to accept the offer and is willing to go as far as getting the union involved. its just shows that Robert care more about his own gain over the organization. Great table explaining High and low context culture as well. Great Sharing, Keep up the good work!


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