Students take the art of negotiation from the classroom to the business world.

Kimberly Taylor

One’s ability to negotiate effectively with co-workers, superiors, and subordinates is taking on an increasingly important role in today’s global workplace.

According to Kimberly Taylor, associate professor in the college’s Department of Marketing, people need to use active listening techniques, adopt effective question techniques, interpret non-verbal communication accurately, employ collaborative communication, and think creatively to find a win-win conflict resolution strategy instead of employing more commonly used (but less desirable) win-lose tactics. Currently, Taylor teaches a full-semester negotiation course in the Evening MBA (EVEMBA) and the Professional MBA (PMBA) programs as well as occasional workshops for the college’s Executive and Professional Education office.

But, she wondered, how effective are these classes when it comes to improved trainee self-confidence and post-training transfer?  And why do students choose to take them in the first place?

Seeking answers to these questions, Taylor undertook a recent study in collaboration with two doctoral students in the Psychology Department at Florida International University.

“Are students gaining valuable negotiation skills that they can apply as they head out into the business world?”

Kimberly Taylor, associate professor, Department of Marketing, College of Business Administration

“Do students take these classes because they are fun—very hands-on and interactive, perhaps a nice alternative to a lecture-based course?” she said. “Or, as I would hope, are students gaining valuable negotiation skills that they can apply in the business world?”

Taylor and her colleagues sought answers from former students who sought to apply their newly found skills in important real-world negotiations.

Negotiation skills learned in class translate well in the working world.

The results of her data collection efforts indicated that students who took a typical negotiations training course that believed that they had improved their negotiating skills in the workplace.

“Students felt that the business negotiation classes helped them adopt a more integrative conflict management style.” Taylor said. “More importantly, these perceived changes in their negotiation skills persisted over time.”

“Teaching The Art of Negotiation: Improving Students’ Negotiating Confidence and Perceptions of Effectiveness,” an article recapping the study’s results, will appear in the Journal of Education for Business.

Taylor’s research also contributes to management education literature by exploring the effectiveness of university courses at improving negotiator confidence and ability, which are known precursors to improving post-training negotiation outcomes.

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