Public Negotiation

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Identification

This tactic is increasingly used with social media and in other contexts involving public policy. This happens when one party insists on full public disclosure, and the presence of every stakeholder; if they believe the public majority supports them. Negotiations conducted in the public eye are seldom productive, as they may be influenced by the lowest common denominator. Calling on public opinion to create noise is often a sign that logic is failing to influence policy. This also stifles creative brainstorming.

Example

Examples appear when politicians promote their position on social media. This tactic may also be used by aggressively emailing large distribution lists.

Solution

In the case of the politician example above, posting an objective report in a passive way may help: “Thanks Joe Politician for your post, it made me think of this report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics [adding link].” This may alienate your politician friend, but may get the truth out there. At a negotiation table, the way to avoid this is to have parties sign non-disclosure (confidentiality) agreements and conduct the negotiation in private at the outset. Plan public portion and closed-door portions (e.g., “executive session”) if public meeting laws allow this. Sometimes, executive sessions allow for more conducive creative problem solving. When this tactic is used, often committees without elected official participation are tasked with justifying the elected official’s position. Questioning the communications between independent committees and ideologues is a way to start a request for transparency. Louis Brandies. said, “Sunlight is the best of disinfectants.”

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