Edited by Mara Olekalns and Wendi L. Adair
Chapter 18: Crisis negotiation: from suicide to terrorism intervention
At 2:30am on a Thursday morning you accompany the police to a small housing estate in north London where a man is standing on his third-floor balcony. He has a nylon rope around his neck that is attached securely to a washing line hook. He is leaning on the metal fence that separates the balcony from the drop below such that, if he falls or jumps, it is likely that he will decapitate. The man sees you approaching and acknowledges this by asking, “what the f-- - do you want?” By this stage of the Handbook you will have read a great deal about negotiation. So, putting what you have read into practice, what would you say or do? Working out your BATNA or calling your favorite professor of negotiation is not an option here; you probably have about 30 seconds before it’s too late. In this chapter we follow the story of the two police officers who attended this incident. We use their story as a lens to explore what research over the last 25 years has taught us about negotiating crises, ranging from interventions to stop a suicide through to negotiations to stop terrorism.
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