Optimal Collaboration: A Three-Tiered Process
The second tier of collaboration is emotionality, which brings visceral intensity to the interaction. Human beings are in a state of “perpetual emotion” (Shapiro, 2001) – we are always feeling something—and those reactions can be particularly vibrant when we are personally invested in the focal issues. Collaboration can be exciting, annoying, frustrating, and aggravating, and our perceived treatment in that process can stimulate personal pride, joy, shame, anger, and disgust. Dealing with emotions is complex. But while there are hundreds of possible shades of emotion with which to contend, Roger Fisher and I propose that negotiators address a smaller set of core concerns–basic human motivations—that stimulate many of those sentiments (Fisher & Shapiro, 2006). Our research illuminates five core concerns that tend to arise in negotiation: appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, status, and role. If a core concern is met, we feel positive emotions and are more inclined to work together; if it is unmet, we tend to feel distressed and are less prone to cooperate. Thus, stakeholders who address the core concerns can counteract the adversarial mindset and increase the efficacy of collaboration.
The third tier of collaboration involves identity, the spectrum of characteristics that define who we are and for what we stand (Shapiro, 2017). Do we feel cast aside based on gender, race, ethnicity, or nationality? Do other stakeholders’ values seem incompatible with ours? While the rational mind responds to reason and the emotional system responds to empathy, identity responds to valued recognition. Without feeling appreciated for who we are and what we bring to the table, the entrepreneurial spirit of collaboration quickly fades.