Negotiations are a natural part of life. Most of us do it without conscious awareness. We negotiate with our partners, friends, co-workers, mechanic, children and just about everyone else. Power is still a major factor in all negotiations but is not always the deciding factor. The type of power used will often determine how the negotiations will run but doesn't always determine the outcomes.
There are two main types of power; coercive and non-coercive. Coercive power is often used in power over situations while non-coercive power is used in power with situations. One seeks to create power over individuals through negative consequences while the other creates power with people through inspiration.
Coercive Power: If you don't do this I will do this! A reward and punishment system. For example, someone who is physically bigger than you or who has a weapon could simply force you do do something physically. It may even take the form of formal power where your boss tells you to do something and the consequences of not doing it are not worth it.
Non-coercive Power:Non-coercive power is based in the ability to get people to believe in what you are doing and follow your lead. For example, information helps people make better decisions while force might ensure enough sustaining power to get a job done. People follow because they believe in the vision and power is used appropriately to make things happen.
It is possible to approach each problem with coercive or non-coercive power. Culturally we believe heavily in the coercive method but sometimes it is counterproductive. As a general approach, non-coercive power leads to better decisions, open debate that is akin to democracy, knowledge sharing, and more collaborators. Coercive power should be used when no other option is available and parties refuse to negotiate in good faith.
Negotiations can use coercive or non-coercive power to come to a resolution. The general process of negotiating is non-coercive but people still reserve the right to strike or walk out of negotiations. The ballistic approach sometimes works but may also be counterproductive if the other side simply cuts their loses and begins to find alternative strategies to minimize the long-term power of their opponent. Non-coercive power seeks to find a balance where both parties agree making a longer-term arrangement.