Moving Negotiation Theory from the Tower of Babel Toward a World of Mutual Understanding

Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution Symposium

October 7, 2016, 9 am to noon
Hulston Hall

Reading List

Speakers at this symposium suggested the following publications to provide a solid foundation for thinking about negotiation theory.  The literature on negotiation theory is vast, especially considering the wide range of disciplines that deal with negotiation.  This reading list is not intended to be comprehensive.  Instead, it provides a list of what the speakers believe to provide some of the most useful ideas about negotiation, ranging from classics to the latest contributions to the field. The speakers have included their descriptions of the publication and what you might find of interest. You can download some articles from the reading list below. If you would like to get a copy of articles that are not posted below, please email John Lande.

A “virtual book club” is being hosted on the Indisputably blog, which includes more detailed summaries and discussions of the publications listed below.

David Matz provides the following general description of the three pieces he suggests:

I have been developing an advanced negotiation course which looks at the process differently than most introductory courses, focusing on the questions:  what is the experience of negotiating, and how can an awareness of that experience enhance our ability as negotiators?  To open these issues for students, I have focused on literary creations.  Novels, stories, plays, and poems specialize in opening experience to the reader and in providing an emotional understanding. I have used the following topic headings to organize the syllabus:

  • Focus on the inner life. No link to a negotiation.
  • Focus on the inner life, with reference to a negotiation.
  • Focus on negotiator behavior, encouraging the student to infer an inner life from that.
  • Compare the inner life of a negotiator as inferred by a student, with the same done by an artist.
  • Students create negotiating inner lives by writing fiction.



Wendy L. Adair & Jeffrey Loewenstein, Talking it Through: Communication Sequences in Negotiation, in Handbook of Research on Negotiation 311 (Mara Olekalns & Wendy L. Adair eds., 2013).

This chapter adopts a process view, one that treats negotiation as a dance that consists of moves and turns, actions and responses, and strategies and tactics. These verbal and nonverbal interactions develop into sequences and patterns that influence outcomes.  For example, research reveals three main categories of sequences – reciprocal, complementary, and structural – that account for matches and mismatches, conflict spirals and impasses, and distributive and integrative types of negotiations.  (Linda Putnam)

Samuel Arbesman, The Half Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date (2013).

The author posits that facts in each discipline “decay” and become out of date at predictable rates.  This analysis is not specific to negotiation, but it is important to consider for our field.  If facts become out of date in other fields, what facts have become so for us?  For summaries of the thesis, you can read this essay, or book reviews in Slate or the Wall Street Journal, or this interview of the author in The Economist.  (Rishi Batra)

Lee Blessing, A Walk in the Woods  (1988).

This is an artistic effort intended to engage the reader/audience with the thinking and feeling of the participants in a negotiation.  A Walk in the Woods is a play available on DVD and in print.  It is a “private” conversation between two participants in an arms control negotiation, and juxtaposes an innocent but learning American negotiator with an experienced, not completely cynical, Russian negotiator.  The parties are explicitly trying to understand each other, and it is their feelings of success and failure that most draw in the observer.  The parties are aware of the power of the organizational / political context to make personal communication nearly, though perhaps not completely, impossible.  One way to understand this play is to see negotiation as a prison, with the drama residing in the parties’ awareness of the risks of breaking out. The play may be about a conflict that no negotiation can resolve, and what it feels like to live with that limit. It thus raises issues of stamina and hope, and what makes them so difficult.  (David Matz)

Adrian Borbély, Negotiations, Ryanair-Style, IÉSEG School of Management Case Center, Ref. no. 314-293-8 (2014).

This case study is designed as a pedagogical tool to demonstrate how corporate strategy and negotiation are intertwined.  It makes the case that Ryanair, the Irish ultra-low-cost carrier that dominates the European airline market, can combine the lowest fares with the highest returns only by its signature way to negotiate with its key stakeholders.  (Adrian Borbély)

Adrian Borbély & Andrea Caputo, The Organization as Negotiator, in Negotiation Desk Reference (Christopher Honeyman & Andrea Schneider eds., forthcoming).

This chapter tackles the question of negotiation at the organizational level.  What can a manager do to get better negotiation results beyond training his teams? The paper, which kicks off a research project, tries to identify management and strategic levers (taken at the collective level) potentially relevant to negotiation performance (at the individual and aggregate levels).  Overall, following the approach in Ertel’s article [see below], it offers an organizational perspective on negotiation.  (Adrian Borbély)

Adrian Borbély & Julien Ohana, The Impact of the Negotiator’s Mindset in Three Dimensions, in Negotiation Desk Reference (Christopher Honeyman & Andrea Schneider eds., forthcoming).

This chapter mixes reflections related to negotiation process, the three dimensions of negotiation (People – Process – Problem) and the idea of mindset of the negotiator.  This work-in-progress suggests first that the distributive-integrative distinction is more related to how negotiators approach negotiation than the context and the variables at the table. It also examines how the negotiator’s mindset may impact not only the Substance dimension of the negotiation but also the Process and People dimensions.  (Adrian Borbély)

Danny Ertel, Turning Negotiation into a Corporate Capability, 77 Harvard Business Review 55 (May-June 1999).

This article raises a very interesting question about how to make organizations (rather than individuals) better at negotiating.  By suggesting some management tools (such as incentives, best practice exchanges, and database reporting), it adds a management twist to reflections on negotiation and training effectiveness within organizations.  (Adrian Borbély)

CPR, A New CPR Conflict Prevention Initiative.

CPR, Dispute Reduction Initiative: Prevention Practice Materials (2009).

Robert Dingwall & Mary Byrne McDonnell, The SAGE Handbook of Research Management (2015).

Following the 2007 Honeyman et al. “Next Frontier Is Anticipation” article [see below], there was a CPR initiative for a while, which produced the two documents cited above. The CPR background paper (“practice materials”) documented a series of techniques that had actually proved to be workable in one huge industry – yet remained an object of indifference in all other industries, not to mention government.  The SAGE Handbook of Research Management also incorporates a suitably tailored version of some of these ideas.  But in nine years, that’s surprisingly little, especially considering the widespread evidence of failure to plan ahead for inevitable conflict.  It’s even possible to argue that this form of myopia was a central factor in the near-meltdown of the economy in 2008.  This paragraph from the CPR conclusions reached in 2009 seems still relevant:  “Research inquiry: Why are business leaders so willing to fund dispute resolution efforts but reluctant to fund dispute prevention efforts? Is it because dispute resolution is tangible, something they can feel and touch, while dispute prevention, whose objective is to create “nonevents,” is intangible, less real?” (Chris Honeyman)

Daniel Druckman & Mara Olekalns, Punctuated Negotiations: Transitions, Interruptions, and Turning Points, in Handbook of Research on Negotiation 332 (Mara Olekalns & Wendy L. Adair eds., 2013).

This chapter explores the concept of turning points in negotiation as critical moments that change the direction of a negotiation.  Turning points have distinct departures from earlier patterns of events, events that trigger them, and short and long term consequences of these critical moments.  It examines transitions, interruptions, and framing as moments that mark departures from previous actions and shows how these patterns differ for value based negotiations, conflicts of interest, and cognitive conflicts.  (Linda Putnam)

Roger Fisher and William Ury with Bruce Patton, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (2d ed. 1991).

This best-seller, which is used in teaching, scholarship, and business, sets out the basic structure of two coherent negotiation models in a readily-understandable form.  (John Lande)  Pages 170-71 summarize the authors’ insights and recommendations regarding negotiation via information technology.  (Noam Ebner)

Owen Frazer and Richard Friedli, Approaching Religion in Conflict Transformation: Concepts, Cases and Practical Implications, Center for Security Studies, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich (2015).

This paper is remarkable for its systematic approach to distinguishing the various ways religious and worldview differences are important to negotiation and conflict engagement.  It gives a number of specific examples of this emerging framework.  (Michelle LeBaron)

David Grossman, To The End of the Land (English translation 2010).

There is a brilliant four-page scene (pp.  597-600 in the Vintage International paperback) which requires me to provide a lot of background. It is worth the preparation time because the selection captures with pain and humor the raging inner voices of an Israeli mother, furious that her two wonderful sons have been “nationalized” by the government into the army and into a hostile, suspicious frame of mind. The author contrasts her inner fury with her cheery-mom-voice, attempting to make normal with words and a salad what she feels as insanity on the brink. I ask the students for their feelings about the mother, and what impact her inner and outer life has on the atmosphere of the kitchen and on the sons. Can they identify occasions when they have played the mother’s role of conflicted inner and outer life, and can they identify occasions when someone else in their presence was playing the mother’s role?  (David Matz)

Christopher Honeyman, Julie Macfarlane, Bernard Mayer, Andrea Schneider & Jeff Seul, The Next Frontier Is Anticipation: Thinking Ahead about Conflict to Help Clients Find Constructive Ways to Engage Issues in Advance, 25 Alternatives to the High Cost of Litigation 99 (2007).

To me, the most interesting mystery in negotiation and related theory now is the general indifference to the “thinking ahead” line of work that Andrea and I, with Bernie Mayer and others, tried to encourage nearly a decade ago described in this article and the CPR materials above.  (Chris Honeyman)

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011).

Kahneman is one of my favorite writers for his substance and style.  In this book, he brings some results of his research to bear on why we might make thinking mistakes and how we might lessen their impact when negotiating.  (Sanda Kaufman)

John Lande, A Framework for Advancing Negotiation Theory: Implications from a Study of How Lawyers Reach Agreement in Pretrial Litigation, 16 Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution 1 (2014).

Analyzing law school textbook definitions of the traditional models of negotiation in current negotiation theory, this article demonstrates that these models are poorly defined.  It also presents empirical accounts of actual pretrial negotiations to demonstrate that the theoretical models do not fit some real-life negotiations. It argues that it is time to replace the traditional models with a flexible framework that can accommodate virtually all legal negotiations and it uses cases from this study to illustrate a possible framework.  (John Lande)

John Lande, Taming the Jungle of Negotiation Theories, in Negotiation Desk Reference (Christopher Honeyman & Andrea Schneider, eds., forthcoming).

This chapter surveys theoretical literature about negotiation from various disciplines to identify the range of issues they address.  It demonstrates that, although there is considerable overlap between the texts, there is nothing approaching a consensus about the structure and content of negotiation theory or even a definition of negotiation.  It provides a concise summary of major issues in negotiation theory.  (John Lande)

John Lande & Peter W. Benner, Why and How Businesses Use Planned Early Dispute Resolution, 13 University of St. Thomas Law Journal (forthcoming).

This article reports the results of an empirical inquiry analyzing why some businesses adopt “planned early dispute resolution” (PEDR) systems when most other businesses probably do not do so.  PEDR systems enable parties and their lawyers to resolve disputes favorably and efficiently as early as reasonably possible. They involve strategic planning for preventing conflict and handling disputes promptly as they arise rather than dealing with them ad hoc.  Based on the barriers to adopting PEDR systems identified in this study, the article recommends some measures to overcome these barriers – and address some of the “thinking ahead” problems described in the CPR and Honeyman et al. publications listed above.  (John Lande)

Michelle LeBaron, The Alchemy of Change:  Cultural Fluency in Conflict Resolution, in The Handbook of Conflict Resolution 581 (Peter Coleman, Morton Deutsch &Eric Marcus eds. 3rd ed., 2014).

This chapter explores relationships between conflict and culture in relation to theory, practice, and pedagogy, and argues that both arts and science need to inform development of the negotiation field moving forward.  (Michelle LeBaron)

Michelle LeBaron & Nadja Alexander, Negotiating Beautifully: The Alchemy of Aesthetics in Collaborative Processes, in Negotiation Desk Reference (Christopher Honeyman & Andrea Schneider eds., forthcoming).

This chapter integrates a discussion of aesthetics and Jungian concepts of alchemy into negotiation theory and practice.  It also addresses constellation work and neuroscience. (Michelle LeBaron)

Roy J. Lewicki, Teaching Negotiation: The State of the Practice, in Handbook of Conflict Management Research (Oluremi B. Ayoko, Neal M. Ashkanasy & Karen A. Jehn eds., 2014).

This chapter discusses some of the challenges and dilemmas of the “instructional side” of teaching negotiation, identifying the possible advantages and disadvantages of a “canon of negotiation” as well as some of the likely challenges of developing a unified theory that would incorporate all the possible lenses one can put on a negotiation dynamic.  (Roy Lewicki)

Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Toward Another View of Legal Negotiation: The Structure of Problem Solving, 31 UCLA L. Rev. 754 (1984).

This classic article provides a solid theoretical framework for analyzing the assumptions and principles of the adversarial and problem-solving models of legal negotiation and outlines how particular orientations in negotiation can lead to different results.  The article introduces a theory of problem-solving focusing on the client’s needs and objectives and creating solutions.  It thoughtfully addresses potential criticisms of problem solving based on inequality of power and wealth, need for adjudicated decisions, reluctance of parties to use a problem-solving approach, and efficiency and morality of basing decisions of parties’ assertions of their needs.  (Andrea Schneider)

Robert H. Mnookin, Scott R. Peppet & Andrew S. Tulumello, Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes (2000).

This book advances the discussion of problem-solving negotiation by presenting a framework of three tensions in negotiation, between (1) creating and distributing value, (2) empathy and assertiveness, and (3) principals and agents.  It elaborates about the third tension by discussing how the involvement of lawyers profoundly affects the process.  It provides advice about legal negotiation “behind the table” between lawyers and clients and “across the table” with the other side.  It also addresses professional and ethical dilemmas and negotiations involving organizations and multiple parties.  (John Lande)

Oscar Nudler, From Controversies to Conflicts between Worlds: The Trials of Socrates and Galileo as Examples, in Normativity and Praxis: Remarks on Controversies (Ángeles J. Perona ed., 2015).

This chapter connects well-known cases, such as Socrates´ trial, to a discussion of tragedy as a poetic genre and conflicts between worlds.  I appreciate it particularly for its treatment of the inter-relations among “culture,” “society,” and “subjectivity.”  The term “example” as applied to an event means that such event has universal significance without losing its irreducible uniqueness.  (Michelle LeBaron)

Bruce Patton, Negotiation, in The Handbook of Dispute Resolution (Michael L. Moffitt & Robert C. Bordone eds., 2005).

This piece summarizes the so-called “seven elements” of negotiation – BATNA, interests, options, legitimacy, commitments, relationship, and communication – and forms a basic framework for understanding every negotiation.  (Rishi Batra)

Linda L. Putnam, Communication as Changing the Negotiation Game, 38 Journal of Applied Communication Research 325 (2010).

This article adopts a conflict transformation view of negotiation and examines how disputants learn from and gain new understandings about issues, relationships, and the negotiation itself.  In particular, it focuses on “differentiation” as holding contradictory forces together, “framing” as shaping the boundaries of disputes, and “joining together” through rituals and storytelling that make sense of events.  (Linda Putnam)

Linda L. Putnam & Samantha Rae Powers, Developing Negotiation Competencies, in The Handbook of Communication Science: Communication Competence 367 (Annegret F. Hannawa and Brian H. Spitzberg eds., 2015).

This chapter provides an overview of the communication competencies for effective negotiation that surface in two research traditions: the social psychological and social constructivist perspectives.  Three major skills surface in the social psychological tradition:  control in terms of meeting negotiator goals, signaling collaboration through taking account of the other party, and adaptation.  Competencies that surface in the social constructivist approach include the coordination of differences, the co-construction of meanings, directing communication sequences, and ability to change the negotiation game.  This paper contends that negotiators who develop optimal communication competencies are able to move outside their existing systems, alter the direction of the process, and produce new ways of understanding problems in the bargaining situation.  (Linda Putnam)

Howard Raiffa, The Art and Science of Negotiation (1982).

Thomas C. Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (1980).

Schelling and Raiffa said a lot of what we are rediscovering in different guises, so I would like to pay homage to them.  I think they remain good reads for those, like me, who come at negotiation theory and practice from a decision making perspective.  (Sanda Kaufman)

Andrea Kupfer Schneider, Teaching a New Negotiation Skills Paradigm, 39 Washington University Journal of Law and Policy 13 (2012).

Negotiation labels – of styles or approaches – can hide or overshadow the real focus of negotiation skills training.  We need to categorize in order to convey a significant amount of complex information.  We also know that style labels are pithy and easy to understand.  At the same time, we need to teach the weaknesses of labels and be sure that our students are not over-reliant on the simplification that labels provide. Students need to struggle with the nuances of skills – the fact that skills can seem contradictory or counterintuitive leads us to want to oversimplify (e.g., all competitive negotiators are jerks, all accommodators are nice) rather than more effectively parsing each skill to stand on its own. This is particularly important in the areas of social intuition and ethicality which have, up to this point, been subsumed in discussions of style without holding their own style labels.  When we focus on skills – assertiveness, empathy, flexibility, social intuition, and ethicality – we can provide students clear goals for improving in all areas while making them more aware of their particular strengths and weaknesses.  Further, we can highlight the choices that they must make along the course of negotiation in terms of using each skill rather than sending them off with guidance only at the style level.  Finally, we can give students a different construct – negotiation origami – on how to choose among the skills based on client, counterpart, and context that will give them a more sophisticated understanding of the evolving and nuanced process of negotiation.  (Andrea Schneider)

Richard Shell, Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People (2006).

Shell’s book is an excellent, clear-eyed practical text that I like to use in my classes.  It backs prescriptions with relatable rationales.  (Sanda Kaufman)

James K. Sebenius, Why A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations Remains a Triumph at Fifty but the Labels “Distributive” and “Integrative” Should be Retired, 31 Negotiation Journal 335 (2015).

As part of a special issue in the Negotiation Journal (2015) celebrating the 50th  anniversary of the publication of A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations, Professor Sebenius writes about the “labels” that Walton and McKersie used in describing the four subprocesses that constituted their theory.  While acknowledging that Walton and McKersie “were prescient analysts who uncovered and explicated some fundamental processes of negotiation,” Sebenius argues that the labels they used “have obscured as much as they have enlightened.”  He focuses on the labels “distributive” and “integrative” bargaining, identifying reasons why these labels might be problematic and concluding by advancing some alternative terminology.  (Rafael Gely)

Murray Stein, Stories to Tell and Live With (2015).

This short commencement speech addresses Jungian analysts – quite a different breed than those who teach or practice negotiation or assisted negotiation. Yet the point he is making with the story is vitally important for negotiators to consider:  we are unavoidably part of relational systems, and we need to draw on ourselves and our inner resources to make a difference.  (Michelle LeBaron)

Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton & Sheila Heen, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (1999).

This is a helpful reading on understanding different perspectives in our most challenging conversations.  It teaches how to separate the “what’s happened” conversation from the “feelings” conversation and the “identity” conversation and it outlines how to have learning conversations.  It is easy, accessible, and enjoyable!  (Andrea Schneider)

Richard Walton & Robert McKersie, A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations, Chapter 1 (1965).

Chapter 1 of this seminal book serves three purposes.  First, it introduces readers to what the authors called the “touchstones” of their study: “the field of collective bargaining; the emerging field of conflict resolution; and the underlying disciplines of economics, psychology, and sociology.”  Second, the chapter discusses the theoretical framework, which Walton and McKersie defined as composed of four subprocesses – integrative, distributive, attitudinal and intraorganizational bargaining.  Finally, the chapter identifies the types of propositions that the underlying theory is likely to generate.  According to the authors, “the few propositions which we have made explicit and the other propositions which are implicit in the statement of the theory are about how people actually tend to behave and how elements of the process actually interact.”  (Rafael Gely)

Michael A. Wheeler, The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World (2013).

I find that prescriptions should be accompanied by reasons for why they might work, because otherwise they become recipes – and predictably fail.  Thus people no longer remember why they should or should not do certain things when negotiating.  Failure ensues and then we are discredited!   So I think it is very important to give people the tools to think through why their strategies might work, so they can tailor them to their specific situations.  Otherwise, we turn out dogmatic practitioners who collaborate because competing is not nice.  Schelling, Raiffa, Shell, and Wheeler are the antidotes to such an approach.  In fact, Wheeler’s book illustrates well how we can apply what we learn in the other three books.  (Sanda Kaufman)

Lawrence Wright, Thirteen Days in September, The Dramatic Story of the Struggle for Peace (2014).

This is a magnificent account of the negotiation at Camp David One between Carter, Begin, and Sadat. This is a journalistic account of the facts, but it is written, as the title suggests, as a drama. Indeed, Wright had written a play on this topic before he wrote this book. And the book reads as an unfolding drama, and works as a good drama works on the reader, even as the outcome is well known. One can say that Wright uses the structure of drama to frame the existence of the negotiation, the impasse that defined most of it, its breakthroughs, and the agreement it finally reached. The dynamics of the play are driven by will-power, a commitment to honor, the temptations and pitfalls of courage, vivid memories, the fear of failure, the lifelong habits of struggle with menacing enemies, the perceptions of politics infused with violence, the feelings that go with the exercise of power and the pains of frustration, and the mystery of what can change one’s own mind, and what can change the mind of the Other. Wright’s book suggests that these feelings are not just background to the negotiation. They are the negotiation. They are what drive the negotiators. Enacting these feelings is what negotiators do. (David Matz)