Edited by Mara Olekalns and Wendi L. Adair
Chapter 1: The complexity of negotiating: from the individual to the context, and what lies between
Does negotiation research have an ancestral tree? If we were to trace the negotiation tree back to its origins, what would they be? No doubt each negotiation scholar has her own answer, but three books stand out to us as laying out the foundations from which negotiation research was launched. Published in 1965, Walton and McKersie’s A Behavioural Theory of Labour Negotiations: An Analysis of Social Interaction Systems set out two approaches to negotiation, integrative and distributive, that continue to underpin scholarship in the field. In the early 1970s, two books began to explore these concepts in greater depth, and foreshadowed many of the topics that negotiation researchers have since returned to. The Social Psychology of Bargaining and Negotiation, by Rubin and Brown (1975), provides a comprehensive review of research drawing on experimental games such as Acme Trucking and Prisoner’s Dilemma. Their analysis provides an in-depth discussion of how structural variables such as the number of parties, the number and types of issues, and the physical setup shape negotiations. They go on to consider how individual differences, power, motivational orientation, and influence impact on negotiations. These latter themes are developed in Morton Deutsch’s (1977) The Resolution of Conflict: Constructive and Destructive Processes, which explored the factors that direct negotiators to either compete or cooperate in greater depth. Among these factors are the context within which negotiations takes place, the content of communication (threats and promises), as well as the nature of the relationship (trust or suspicion).
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