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It’s Just Not About Ego, Greed And Incompetence

from Forbes,

This is a guest post by Deepak Malhotra, a professor at Harvard Business School, where he teaches negotiation.  

National Hockey League fans are understandably upset by yet another dispute between owners and players.  The growing frustration with labor relations in professional sports stems from the perception that the conflicts in the NHL (and last year in the NFL and NBA) are due to an ugly combination of ego, greed, and incompetence. Why else would “millionaires and billionaires” be having such a hard time sharing billions of dollars in revenue?  Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that.

If we want to chart the right course towards agreement, it is important to understand why even smart and well-intentioned parties may have a hard time negotiating seemingly straightforward deals – especially in the context of sports.  Consider the following:

Only one side really knows how much money is up for grabs.

Say $100 is on the table, and you want your fair share of $50. But the other side is stubbornly demanding no less than $90. They seem greedy.  But what if you’re the only one who can see there is only $100 available, while the other side believes that the total is $200? Are they greedy?

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Part of the solution for the NHL in 2012 should be for owners and players to jointly define which costs will be considered legitimate expenditures, and to structure a deal that adjusts salary caps contingent on actual expenditures.

That’s pretty much what the 2005 CBA did though.  A lot of the cost outlays that have gone up significantly are things like front office bloat (GM Salaries aren’t considered “direct costs” and the Leafs essentially have three GMs right now). The players’ solution to de-link salaries from revenues is a temporary item until the correct link is established and then they’ll start doing that again.

It’s a small consideration out of an otherwise very good article. The main points about the negotiations portion are well-considered and put together well.

 

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/21/12 at 11:20 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

Remove Bettman and a deal gets done. With a new Commish comes new ideas and re-thinking outside the box to make this work. Still don’t understand why the owners haven’t figured this out <shakes head>

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 10/21/12 at 01:54 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 10/21/12 at 01:54 PM ET

You are beclowning yourself now

Posted by Evilpens on 10/21/12 at 02:26 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

You are beclowning yourself now

Posted by Evilpens on 10/21/12 at 02:26 PM ET

Careful Francis, those big words might blow your last fuse.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 10/21/12 at 02:44 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 10/21/12 at 02:44 PM ET


Uh yeah good comeback

Posted by Evilpens on 10/21/12 at 04:22 PM ET

Baroque's avatar

Guys, cut out the namecalling, please. You are both better than that.

There isn’t actually a guarantee that any new commissioner would have any new ideas, especially after negotiations (such as they are) have proceeded for a while. He’d be working within the existing framework and with the same stipulations from the owners.

It might make a difference purely in the players dealing with a less abrasive personality with whom they have a long and bitter history, but in terms of the actual nuts and bolts there would likely not be much change.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 10/21/12 at 05:33 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Uh yeah good comeback

Posted by Evilpens on 10/21/12 at 04:22 PM ET

Hey you too.  Boy this is fun.  Such a high level of discourse you always bring.

very liberal with the compliments.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/21/12 at 05:40 PM ET

Paul's avatar

I can’t believe I have to step in and put a stop to the name calling.

People, we now have an Ignore feature for KK members.

Go to your Profile, then Utilities, then Manage Ignore List, add the screen name and update.

Easy as that and I highly suggest using that feature instead of writing a comment like someone from third grade.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/21/12 at 05:54 PM ET

Avatar

Well thought out article, and pretty accurate. 
Now if only they had this urgency about three months ago

Posted by bsalamon on 10/21/12 at 09:56 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

My apologies to you Paul, and the community as well. I’ll take the high road and block him.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 10/22/12 at 02:00 AM ET

Avatar

I hope this article resonates with the fans who feel like one side or the other is wholly to blame, or that one side or the other is engaged in this with better, more pure motives.

They are not.

Whether your basic bias tilts you to side with 600ish millionaire players or with 30ish billionaire owners, it is important to remember that absolutely all of them are completely complicit and knowledgeable.  They just have different viewpoints and different.

Mix in the profitseeking from owners with the dislike for Bettman from the players and you get what we get.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/22/12 at 04:03 AM ET

Avatar

What resonates with me is that the NHL chose to lockout the league, AGAIN. I can make a hypothetical case where the league did not lockout the players and the players chose to strike instead, but that is something I would make up in my head. The NHL strategy of relying on lockouts to get what they want is not only tiring but, very REAL and for that I can blame only one side, the owners.

There are a lot of other variables on both sides, but the key for me is that all I want to see is the NHL playing hockey, and the owners unilaterally prevent this from happening every time a new CBA comes up. I am told over and over again that the owners hold all the cards and the players really have no say since it will go the way of the owners in the end. If this is true, then the owners have all of the responsibility to get the game going again since they presumably have all the power.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 10/22/12 at 11:58 AM ET

Avatar

The NHL strategy of relying on lockouts to get what they want is not only tiring but, very REAL and for that I can blame only one side, the owners.

Alas.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/22/12 at 12:12 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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