Salary Negotiation - Learning-by-Doing in our Managerial Communications Course

by S├ębastien Leroy, Global MBA Ambassador 2018-2019 | Hospitality Management major

Salary negotiations are an exercise which many find challenging. How do we approach this delicate discussion without being over demanding, and how much more would be considered acceptable? To help us manage such negotiations better, our Managerial Communication professor, Boris Quinchon, organized an interactive role-playing activity for our class today. It is always motivating to take part in such activities because it engages us through active involvement in the course, allowing us to apply what we’ve learned to real-life situations.

For the case, we were split up into groups of four. Each group had one employee and one manager, who were discussing a salary negotiation, as well as two observers who analyzed the exchange and the discussion. This exercise was interesting because both the manager and the employee were given different sets of information. The employee was playing the role of a senior employee in an organization, who was a newly-wed father asking for a raise, while the manager had newly arrived in the company and did not know her subordinates very well. While the employee had high expectations in the negotiation of the raise, the manager did not have much leeway in terms of how much the increment could be.

While certain groups did not reach an agreement in the exercise and ended up in a confrontational situation, others were able to negotiate a common ground and found themselves in a situation of mediation and common discussion. The takeaways from this exercise for MBA participants would include being more mindful and empathetic of both the employee’s and the manager’s position during salary negotiation. An employee may not be aware of the budget restrictions that may be imposed on a manager, perhaps by the board members or the organization, and likewise, a manager may not be aware of the daily difficulties (financial or personal) that an employee may be facing outside of the workplace. Being aware of these biases is helpful in understanding the mechanics of an effective negotiation. 

At the end of class, the observers had the chance to summarize their interpretation of the exercise and the different groups discussed their results. In this Managerial Communications class, we have the opportunity to consolidate the skills and new perspectives, which we have acquired in our other classes, such as in our Negotiating or Management of People at Work classes, which we attended earlier in the year. 

Stay tuned for the next first-hand Global MBA class experience!

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