November 25, 2019
If you ask our HTM professors about the importance of experiential learning, without a doubt they would all say that it is a fundamental way of grasping and enhancing the knowledge ant the know-how in today’s world. One professor that truly stands behind those words is most definitely our professor Milena Kužnin. It is her Negotiation and Conflict course that yielded yet another exciting project in this semester – the first ever Tigers Bazaar at RIT Croatia Dubrovnik campus. Since the event was such a huge success, we couldn’t resist asking professor Kužnin and Paula Horvat, one of the students who were at the forefront of the project, to tell us more about it.
Q: Professor Kužnin, can you tell us more about the Negotiation and Conflict course?
Professor Kužnin: Everything in our lives today is a negotiation, from resolving conflicts with family members, dorm mates and fellow students to employees, employers and organizations. This is complicated by the fact that we live in a global environment facing intercultural issues daily. This course identifies the students' preferred styles of negotiation, how to identify the strategies and styles of others and most importantly how to innovatively work with the other person in a conflict to establish a resolution to the problem. The course deals with competitive negotiations and collaborative negotiations, and how to engage successfully in each type.
This course is a part of the Entrepreneurial Concentration at RIT Croatia Dubrovnik for HTM senior students and it is a free elective for WMD students. This year 2 WMD students and 19 HTM students took this as a senior level course.
Q: Tell us something about the overall concept of the Tigers Bazaar student project and how does it fit into your Negotiation and Conflict course?
Professor Kužnin: The idea was generated by students after we discussed the concept of perceptions of negotiation and conflicts across different cultures. The research proves it that a lot of times money is being left on the table in the Western societies because of the „fear of negotiating", while in the Eastern cultures the negotiation is welcomed. The students wanted to practice firsthand what it means to create an environment (Bazaar style) in which all parties will cooperate and create a new value (money raised for a charity of students’ choice). The bottom line is: you can do much more if you negotiate then if you try to do it alone.
Q: Paula, how exactly did you come up with the idea of Tigers Bazaar?
Paula: When we started talking about different types of conflicts and negotiation, Dora Batoš, one of my colleagues, said that it we could organize for example garage sale because in that way we can practice our knowledge about negotiation. We started thinking about it and we realize that this is a very good idea and that could expand our knowledge and help us in the future.
Q: How did you divide the roles within the team?
Paula: When we started expanding this idea and after a few meetings with our professor Milena Kužnin, we decided that, we need to make an e-board so that we can move this project forward. We decided that we need three more people besides Dora and me. Based on our previous knowledge about our colleagues we knew who would be the right choice for each role. In class, we had voting so that everything is decided within the class because we value the opinions of our classmates and based on this voting the members were selected. In addition, each e-board member had additional two to three people that were helping with preparations.
Q: What were the biggest challenges you have faced while organizing Tigers Bazaar?
Paula: The biggest challenge that we were facing while organizing Tiger's Bazaar was that not all people were participating in decision making and it was very hard to motivate them. In addition, we needed to remind them about meetings because they would forget about the project and we could see that they are not putting their 100% in this project.
Q: What was the final outcome of this fundraising event and to whom did you donate the funds raised at this event?
Paula: During our class discussions, we
were brainstorming if we would donate the money to some organization or to an
individual. In the newspapers, we saw that an eight-month-old girl needed to go
to Zagreb with her family because she needed to go through chemotherapy. They did
not have enough money and when we learned more about the story behind her illness,
we decided that we would collect money for her. Her name is Ejna Mujak and she
lives in Mokošica.
Our first goal was to collect around 3.000,00 HRK for her. However, the final amount that we collected was close to 6.000,00 HRK! I believe that this is a great outcome from the first ever Tiger's Bazaar and we hope that this money will help them to cover some expenses.
I would also like to thank all students, faculty and staff at the Dubrovnik campus for participating in this project and donating money for a good cause.
Q: What do you feel you have learned from taking part in this project and how do you connect the learning outcomes to your Negotiation and Conflict course?
Paula: Throughout this project, we practiced our negotiation and conflict skills and we have seen how does negotiation actually runs in real life situations. When Tiger's Bazaar ended, I was exhausted; however I felt extremely proud of my colleagues because we did a very good project and for a good cause. Every member of our class contributed a part of themselves in this project and I believe that it would not be possible to collect this amount of money if we did not work as a team. When we saw how much money we collected, we were very happy and proud and we are very thankful to everyone who came and contributed to this project.
Q: From your perspective as a professor, what were the learning outcomes of the project?
Professor Kužnin: Lessons learned at this project are:
1) Integrative, cooperative strategies pay off.
2) We negotiate in order to create a new value.
3) Common goals make us willing to work more – together.
4) Great team = great service.
5) No to the positions, yes to the needs!
Tigers Bazaar is one of many successful student-run projects at RIT Croatia with the purpose of giving ownership to those who came to us with the goal of experiencing learning in a creative and meaningful way. We look forward to each student-run event with the same level of enthusiasm and trust in their abilities. Therefore, congratulations to all students involved in making Tigers Bazaar such a great event!
Croatian language is a challenging language to learn. For international students coming to Croatia to pursue their undergraduate degree, living and studying in a country where you are unfamiliar with the native language can be challenging and frustrating at times. Yet at RIT Croatia, the International Student Club (ISC) run by Emily Arnold, a fourth-year student, provides students the opportunity to learn and better understand the Croatian language.
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