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Chris Honeyman & Andrea Kupfer Schneider
With this book we have tried to provide the most up-to-date negotiation writings possible from as many disciplines as possible. We are both honored and humbled by the array of talented and wise colleagues who have joined in this effort.
In the Preface, we outline the 14-year path that has brought us to this point. Our assumption has always been that “we don’t know what we don’t know,” and that to continue working to improve the field, we ourselves need to be consciously open to new sources. The same applies, we think, to other scholars and practitioners; and the 106 contributors here have conspicuously accepted this principle. The imperative to work across disciplinary boundaries should also be obvious to scholars by now, and again, our colleagues have honored it, in a variety of ways.
This book tries to do the translational work of taking great theory and research and showing how both impact practical negotiations. It also tries to summarize each theory or line of research into usable “bite-size” chunks, so that scholars and teachers can efficiently distinguish what they already know, what they would like to know more about, and what they might want to include in their next course.
In such a process, we have necessarily drawn on different stages of “subject maturity” for different topics. Some chapters here are based on empirical research that is truly cutting-edge. Many chapters are based on their authors’ far more detailed works or even complete books, and we greatly appreciate their willingness to edit their thoughts into brief pieces. Other chapters are based primarily in stories from the real world. It is our objective to interrelate such practitioners’ hard-won wisdom with other chapters, containing scholars’ related research and theoretical insights, so that the next practitioner to encounter a similar problem has more to go on. Among examples of these are the chapters on negotiation in the professional boxing ring, hostage negotiations, Kashmir, Africa, and public policy cases.
We know that all the authors here have far more to say than we have allowed space for. We encourage readers to take each chapter’s reference section less as evidence of the author’s own study (in many cases we have had to demand that they be shorter!) than as an invitation to probe further; some authors have also provided their e-mail addresses, in an open invitation to questions and suggestions.
We appreciate the authors who have in these pages tried something brave, as some have. We believe that it’s essential, to a field that hopes to maintain its now 40 years of rapid development, that the editors of a reference book such as this not take a conservative, “proven treatments only” cut at the universe of topics, but take a few risks ourselves. What we have seen as a result confirms our conviction that these creative ideas will likely lead to other creative ideas, as well as the development of more useful and interesting negotiation practice work.
Some have asked whether we now have an overarching “theory of negotiation”. No.1 But we do have a theory of how to learn about negotiation: More is better. Interdisciplinary is better. Empirical is better. Practical is better. Theory into practice is better still. Perhaps if we had just one theory, we could produce a book that would fit in your pocket. Instead, we realize that we have tried to do all of these things, with one result that we admit, for some readers, will be unsatisfying, in its flat refusal to draw an easy line. So be it. Our field deals with human beings, in all their complexity and contradiction; and therefore, so does this book. We think that negotiators are better off becoming comfortable with complexity—with nuance, and with gray. So we invite the reader to also become comfortable with that complexity.
We have organized each section with different voices and perspectives. For example, we believe that rather than providing one “answer” on styles, giving the reader several views will lead all of us to think about that subject more carefully. Rather than one “answer” on ethics, multiple chapters give us different slices of how scholars with different disciplines’ training each see the subject through their own prism. Sometimes the most relevant knowledge is based on practice; sometimes it is based in empirical research, sometimes based on classroom teaching—or even, occasionally, in outright theorizing. Each of these views can help us understand a particular topic. But the combination offers better and more subtle insights.
Because of both the Canon of Negotiation initiative and related projects (see Preface) we have now been privileged, for half a career’s span of time, to travel and read and talk in professional circles far from our original ones. We have tried to distill here the best of what we have encountered. Yet there are certainly brilliant scholars we don’t know; many countries we have not yet been to; languages we cannot read. We have designed the web edition of this book (and included it in the price of the print edition) partly to allow for future expansion into cultures, subjects, and other forms of expertise we are not yet even aware of. Again, the details are in the Preface.
Meanwhile, we hope that the new Negotiator’s Desk Reference as it stands will provide tools for readers of all negotiation interests. Unlike its direct predecessor, our Negotiator’s Fieldbook (Schneider and Honeyman 2006), this new book has essays reviewing the basics of negotiation—styles, communication, preparation, and so forth—for people who are new to negotiation theory. Other essays, as in the first edition of the Fieldbook, provide an overview of several different disciplines’ theories as applied to negotiation, such as psychology, neurobiology, theology, law, and the arts; these are now both more varied and more developed. Still other essays apply negotiation to particular contexts—from hostage negotiation to the military to business to getting the last seat available on “the last plane out”. And newer topics push this even farther, examining how negotiation is used in, for example, the professional boxing ring, on soccer teams, and in community conflict.
But part of the purpose of all of our work, of course, is to help ideas and experience become better known outside their domains of origin. We hope the different streams of background and potential they bring will be seen as an asset and a contribution.
Many chapters represent updates on writings that were in the 2006 Fieldbook; many others represent the cutting edge of our field as of today. In addition to updates on ethical guidelines, for example, we now have chapters on the latest research in moral character and on psychological barriers. The original volume had one chapter offering a tour d’horizon of the major world religions’ respective attitudes toward conflict and conflict management; this book has two chapters, with a more nuanced treatment of the original subject followed by an analysis of how religion and religious people can actually help to deal with conflict. The 2006 Fieldbook said just a little about technology in negotiation; the Desk Reference has multiple chapters addressing online platforms as well as the new challenges of negotiating with the digital generation. Our attention to how negotiation can be used in different ways has also been expanded, to consider (for instance) activism, negotiated fact-finding, system design, and the broader uses of neutrality.
With so many different topics, authors, cultures and ways of thinking about our field, there have been many options as to how to lay out this book. In the organization we have chosen, we are fully aware that some inevitably would prefer a variety of different structures. In part, our decision to publish the web edition not only as a standalone product, but also as an additional feature of each print copy sold, is intended as a convenient device for teachers of negotiation. With the flexibility of a web edition, they can relatively easily select any combination of chapters they wish to use, without regard to the print edition’s more rigid structure.
We begin with a two-chapter section which starts with this Introduction and continues with just one other overarching piece, Learning How to Learn to Negotiate, designed to help readers actually absorb and implement all of the other readings in this book.
You and Your Style, by contrast, includes six chapters. Beginning with an up-to-date treatment of a foundational area of the field (the distinction between integrative and distributive bargaining), the discussion promptly moves on to a chapter that shows how style integrates with culture—and sometimes doesn’t. This is followed by a thorough analysis of the ways in which someone’s individual style of negotiation may not actually mesh with the same person’s style of conflict handling, often because of a failure to think through the differences between good practices, tactics, and tricks.
Tricky negotiation approaches are often believed to be characteristic of a highly “distributive” negotiation style; the next chapter shows how “hard bargaining” really works, in no less than 28 different varieties. This is followed by a chapter discussing the impact of the negotiator’s mindset, and arguing that mapping three different dimensions of a negotiation onto your own mindset will help you see where you actually have influence, and thus how you might want to change your approach. The section closes with a chapter that analyzes the shape-shifting qualities that define the most flexible (and effective) negotiators.
You and Your Brain is the next section. Beginning with a neuroscience-based explanation of how human beings evolved to be interdependent, the section moves on to a chapter on social intuition—a quality which helps you be aware of yourself, read your counterpart, and attune yourself to them. Next comes a chapter that picks apart two qualities, creativity and flexibility, which are often casually treated by negotiators as if they were the same thing. But in the structure of the brain, they aren’t. And this has consequences for how your brain actually works.
This is followed by a chapter on compassion, an essential element in negotiating with anyone whose troubles aren’t exactly like yours; in other words, just about everyone. Next is a short treatment of classic research in the internal conflicts of the individual, supplemented by the (distinguished) author’s latter-day review of how such internal conflicts have sometimes created all-too-public disasters. Finally, the matter of whether mental illness may be affecting someone at the bargaining table is discussed, in a chapter which lays out the surprising frequency of mental illness in our society—and the varied ways in which we may need to respond to it, in a negotiation.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the section on Relationships is one of the longest in the book. The concept of trust alone gets three chapters, beginning with a core account of how trust and distrust work, and proceeding next to an analysis of how trust, once broken, may be repaired. This, however, is not always possible, and the third chapter is a trenchant analysis of what you can do in an environment where trust is impossible.
Trust is, of course, related to reputation. How a reputation is formed and why a trustworthy reputation is important, in far more settings than is commonly believed, are the subjects of the next chapter. Naturally, human beings being what they are, the effort to maintain a good reputation is sometimes going to involve making an apology, the subject of the following chapter; and perhaps if the apology is effective, forgiveness and reconciliation will follow, as they do in our book.
Of course, good negotiators are strategic animals, and it should not be surprising that there is a strategic element in building relationships—the subject of the next chapter. It may, however, be surprising to some that the need to strategize can become very long-range indeed. The final chapter of this section discusses why people increasingly must think not just about contemporary needs, but about how to ensure fairness, and their own reputation, over generations.
This next section, Making Your Case, is about ensuring that however farsighted and generous you choose to be in a negotiation, your own needs are still met. It begins with a chapter on productive ambition, or how to ensure that your aspirations are both high and attainable. This is followed by a chapter on six factors that influence whether you will get your way or not (all other things being equal), and another on how to distinguish between, and work with, two kinds of audiences which are responsive to completely different psychological approaches. We turn next to a chapter which boils down a bestseller into a brief treatment of how each party is likely to formulate (and believe) a completely different story of what is going on.
When the story your negotiation counterparts are telling themselves is one that you must challenge, the moves and turns that the discussion takes are likely to determine whether you get anywhere or not, and that is the next subject. Yet most negotiations, no matter how adroitly handled, include some element of uncertainty about the future. The section closes with an analysis of how you might think about uncertainty, and assess the risks.
The next section, The Spoken Word Is 10% of Negotiation, is completely new since this book’s 2006 predecessor. Beginning with two chapters on listening—one arguing that listening can be used in a disciplined way to avoid either cooperating or competing too much, and the other demonstrating findings from clinical psychology on actually understanding that which you listen to—the third chapter in the section goes on to explain why, and how, the best among salespeople listen far more than they talk.
Yet listening is not everything, and next is a chapter on how much of the negotiation may be influenced, or even predetermined, by something you may not even be aware of: your facial features, and those of your counterpart. Concluding the section is a chapter that analyzes nonverbal communication as a whole, showing just how many different forms it takes, and how you can employ them consciously.
Employing any strategy or tactics at all in negotiation has ethical and moral elements, of course. The next section discusses these elements from a truly broad set of perspectives. Beginning with a chapter on moral character and how it affects trustworthiness, particularly in organizational settings, the discussion next moves to an analysis that shows how morals, rules, and law may all treat the same situation, but in vastly different ways—and how understanding these can give you a better sense of how your counterpart thinks, by analyzing which choice he or she has made at a critical moment.
Underlying this kind of analysis, one would hope, would be some kind of ethical bedrock. This, from a philosophical perspective, is the subject of the next chapter. This is followed by a chapter on the use of psychology in an effort to negotiate ethically, and then a chapter on how fairness is perceived, particularly with an eye to fair processes as well as fair outcomes. The next chapter builds on this discussion from the perspective of international relations, arguing that even in these high-stakes settings it actually has been possible to get parties to think about core concepts of justice and fairness. Finally, a radical shift of setting: the last chapter in this section discusses how the increasing role of technology in negotiation creates new ethical dilemmas, for which very few negotiators are as yet ready.
Cultural considerations now loom much larger in negotiation than was once true. Our section on Difference begins with one such set of considerations that should be obvious, at least to Americans: race, a salient factor in many disputes. Yet the next chapter, analyzing how Westerners tend to misread Chinese culture when negotiating there, meshes to a surprising degree with the chapter on “negotiating while black”, such that the two together can suggest cultural errors you may encounter (or make) in still other cultural encounters.
Gender, of course, is by now often considered under the same rubric as culture, and gender is the next subject addressed. The common observation that men and women appear to be following different codes, however, is just the beginning, and the ensuing chapter lays out how overlapping systems of cultural codes actually work. The final chapter in this section assesses the often sad experiences of Western/Northern negotiators and mediators when they have taken their (implicit, and often unrecognized) codes with them....to an extremely different culture.
The next section is on the structure and contexts of negotiation. It’s not necessary to delve into a foreign culture to find oneself flummoxed by structures that surround and define what you can do in a negotiation, but that often don’t reveal themselves easily. Section IX begins with a classic analysis of how even a major negotiation in an international setting has some predictable stages, in a somewhat predictable process. The same author continues with a chapter that defines some of these stages further, in terms of timing and ripeness.
Next is an analysis of how different dispute domains work—or in other words, how you might forewarn yourself in time to change to a more effective setting for your particular negotiation, and thus avoid the worst constraints. This is followed by a discussion of one very common setting in which the constraints are major for both sides—plea-bargaining—and in turn, by a chapter that discusses an even more common setting, arbitration, in which only one side suffers the major constraints (and unless you happen to be a major corporation, this means you.) Finally, Volume 1 closes with a chapter that addresses the still more common situation in which you, as an individual, must face off with a huge organization that has boiled all of its negotiation moves down to a script. When you read this chapter, you may find you have more leverage than you think.
Volume 2: Section X
Volume 2 begins with The Hidden Ideas that Power Our Field. The first of these, but perhaps not the best hidden, is metaphor. (Metaphor is all around us, it’s the oxygen in our intellectual atmosphere.) Following our chapter on metaphor is one on why, when we consider whether or not to negotiate (and how), we are making moral choices as well as practical ones.
Of course, illustrating hidden ideas is problematic, or they wouldn’t be hidden: the next chapter discusses literature as a rich source of examples and explanations. Yet many ideas don’t reduce themselves easily to writing, and the following two chapters explore groundbreaking ideas of how aesthetics, particularly ideas of beauty and alchemy, can be used to open up negotiating possibilities that remain invisible if only the standard approaches are used.
The final two chapters of Section X return to ideas that have definitely been expressed in text, but not necessarily understood: the core ideas of one of the field’s founders, and the “jungle” of competing negotiation theories.
Section XI addresses the postmodern era of communication, in which hardly anyone with a negotiating proposal to make puts it in a “letter” any more. It begins with a chapter that surveys the confusing panoply of options now available as media and technologies, and outlines a way of making sense of them. Next we move to what has probably become the baseline method of ordinary, day-to-day communication, particularly of components of a negotiation that has yet to be framed in complete documents—i.e., e-mail. Yet texting has now become so routine that even people who don’t believe they negotiate by text are likely to, at least as to some procedural issues or fragmentary data or component ideas; this is analyzed in the next chapter. From there, it’s a short hop to recognizing that you actually negotiate, or will soon negotiate, through still other technologies; the next two chapters respectively address videoconferencing—by now, almost routine, for many—and an array of less common additional technologies, many of them proprietary.
Two very different groups have particular needs and uses for technology in their negotiations: lawyers, and the young. The final two chapters of this section analyze first lawyers’ needs, and how technology is changing their practice, and then, the youngest adult generation—who are such avid users of technology that it is barely possible to reclaim their attention from it.
The next section turns our attention to Organizations and Teams. Following a chapter analyzing how some real, live—and even famous—teams actually work in their internal and external dealings, the second chapter argues that organizations that hope to be truly successful in their negotiations should learn from those which foster a consistent, company- or organization-wide approach.
Next is a chapter, by contrast, on the productive uses of disagreement within a team or organization; this is followed by one on the negotiator’s role—which includes a moral role—within a whole framework for participating in as well as designing disputing systems. And finally, there is a chapter that reviews the history, in one major industry and two other domains, of parties actually and productively thinking ahead about inevitable conflict, so as to avert it. The chapter goes on to propose that other industries and organizations learn to do likewise.
“Everybody negotiates” is a trite phrase, but often even its users don’t realize how true it is. Section XIII analyzes a series of settings that take the concept to its logical extreme and, yes, find negotiation operating in the professional boxing ring; between police and hostage takers; between businesses that act like hostage takers, and their counterparts; in the military; and in martial arts.
The last two chapters in this section explore what happens when a party who should be negotiating refuses to admit that there is anything to discuss, and how to negotiate implementation of a new program—using the example of peer mediation programs for children.
Section XIV turns to the often-present problems created by the fact that frequently a “tribe” has an “agent” of some variety to negotiate for it. First is a chapter analyzing what happens, and what you can still do, when the other side’s agent admits that a deal you thought was in the bag now has to undergo ratification by someone outside the room. The next chapter addresses situations in which the agents are numerous and the parties are diffuse—i.e., almost any major public negotiation. This is followed by a trenchant analysis of agents’ frequent failure to ensure that their clients have actually given informed consent to the agent’s actions.
One type of agent who tends to come in matched pairs is the specialized expert, called in to buttress a particular position—and liable to get into an expensive and unproductive duel with a similar expert hired by the other side. What to do about this is the subject of the next chapter. The section closes with an explanation of how, despite the tendency of parties to claim that “the facts” are immutable (though, of course, disputed), sophisticated negotiations with huge factual disputes have developed techniques for defining which facts are actually, and productively, subject to a negotiated approach to refining them. The result has been the settlement of (for instance) many supposedly-intractable cases that had disputed scientific components.
Intractable conflicts are the topic of Section XV. This section begins with a trilogy of chapters that analyze, first, how a fairly predictable percentage of conflicts in almost any domain can become “intractable”, and outline techniques for handling this. The second chapter goes into more detail about what exactly makes a conflict intractable, and how new insights are developing new levers for change; and the third describes the process of using those levers to actually influence a conflict which supposedly cannot be influenced.
One of the tools frequently advocated for serious conflict is training of groups of the participants—but sometimes these are resistant. The next chapter addresses how you might approach an audience when you expect such resistance—or didn’t expect it, but encounter it anyway.
The ensuing two chapters address in detail one of the central factors in many major conflicts: religion. A chapter analyzing how religion can help solve as well as cause conflict is followed by one which explicitly argues that religious people and groups are actually capable of more “prosociality” than others, if they are approached in the right way. And the final chapter in this section analyzes how a consummate practitioner, faced with one of the world’s most famously intractable conflicts, actually applied many of the findings that are in the other chapters.
Such “Getting It Done” is the topic of both of the last two sections of the book, but in different ways. Section XVI is about strategies, beginning with an analysis of how, for any resolution to be possible, many disputes and other negotiations will require some kind of sharing of power. Next is a chapter on the inevitability of situations in which the most effective solution possible for the parties is not to try—contrary to instinct—for absolute clarity, but instead to admit that a well-chosen ambiguity here and there may be the lubrication that allows the gears to move. A similar function is served by the next topic, contingent agreements, in which the parties agree to disagree about the future, to their mutual benefit.
The remaining three chapters of this section address the late stages of a negotiation, beginning with what to do when the common “final gap” presents itself, at the tail end of an arduous negotiation. But sometimes, despite all of the advice in that chapter, a deadlock ensues; and the next chapter is about how to deal with that situation, and unlock the deadlock. The last chapter in this group analyzes what it takes to make sure that when you and your counterparts finally do “sign on the dotted line”, the result sticks.
The last section of the book acknowledges that sometimes, agents and principals by themselves are not enough, and some kind of “helper” is going to be needed. This section begins with three chapters on mediation: a general overview of mediation’s uses is followed by a chapter analyzing why one mediator is frequently so different from another, and what you might need to watch out for. The set concludes with a famous mediator’s reflections on how mediators, who routinely demand that the parties be more transparent, are often opaque about their own thought processes.
Yet mediators are not the only outside people who might become useful in a difficult conflict. The next chapter analyzes a whole series of non-neutral (and yet not classically “agent”) roles, under the general heading of “allies” who might be invoked by a party. This is followed by a close review of one particular type of intervener whose subtle role (and influence) is frequently underestimated: the interpreter. And finally, sometimes what a situation needs is somebody who will really shake things up. The last chapter in the book assesses the possibility that an activist may not (always) create conflict, and instead may sometimes be essential to resolving it.
Conclusion: Choosing Your Own Adventure
We’d like to conclude this introduction with a note to our (inevitably, time-pressed) readers, faced here with an admittedly large work. We, and even more our contributors, have worked hard to boil down complex material into relatively short pieces. Someone who decided to read one chapter a night could finish this book straight through in not much over three months. (And we do hope that some of you decide to make this a regular reading routine.) But we also recognize that many others will likely use the book differently.
We think what’s most likely to engage a busy reader is the particular chapter that deals with a problem you anticipate in tomorrow’s meeting, or the particular concept you need to review promptly for other reasons: a classic reference-book approach, in other words. We’ve therefore put some effort into linking outwards in the Editor’s Note for each chapter, to other particular chapters that may be the best next thing to look at for you even if they are not contiguous.
For the predecessor Negotiator’s Fieldbook (Schneider and Honeyman 2006) we also went one stage beyond this, in the associated webpages. The idea borrowed from the “Choose your own adventure” children’s books, in which a child could start with any chapter and move in any order, and still make sense of the whole. With the redoubtable Sanda Kaufman, we worked out some eight “paths” through short subsets of different chapters—chosen so that very different kinds of readers could see easily which chapters, in which order, might make the most immediately useful set of readings for their most likely needs. We look forward to offering something similar, and perhaps something more, in the web edition. We hope you will find it helpful.
At the same time, for those who prefer to read in a linear fashion, we hope that each section will bring enough complexity and internal debate to serve as a mini-course on that particular set of negotiation concepts. Knowing that the need for bite-size chapters has been served, we also remind the reader that a full dinner menu is often offered by our authors in their reference pages…and we imagine that those could be helpful as well.
In short, no matter how you read the book, we hope you find it helpful, informative and engrossing to read—as we have felt throughout the long process of working on it. With many thanks to our contributors, we wish you bon appétit!
1 See, however, Borbély et al 2017.
Borbély, A., N. Ebner, C. Honeyman, S. Kaufman and A. K. Schneider. 2017. A “Grand” Unified Negotiation Theory… in Context. Journal of Dispute Resolution, Vol 2017, pp 145-158. Also available at https://ssrn.com/abstract=2897920.
Schneider, A.K. and C. Honeyman. 2006. The Negotiator’s Fieldbook: The Desk Reference for the Experienced Negotiator. Washington, DC: American Bar Association.