The Evolution Of Negotiation. In Essence This Paper Argues That The Definition Of Negotiator Success Has Changed.

7640 words - 31 pages

The evolution of negotiation Negotiation is a process of interpersonal exchange, so frequently encountered at every level of society that its impact on human welfare cannot be overestimated (Pruitt, 1981). In 1947, Zartman argued that, "ours is an age of negotiation." The validity of this statement remains today, since negotiation is a decision-making process commonly used to select courses of action or to distribute resources (Ury, 1991). As such, one's ability to negotiate well has serious implications for one's personal and professional well-being. Despite the fact that most of us negotiate every day, negotiators continue to obtain suboptimal outcomes, suggesting that practice does not always make perfect. Thompson (2001) makes this point when she notes that Raffia (1982) has likened negotiation to a dance stating "most of us have never taken lessons . . . or know what to do once we find ourselves on the dance floor" (Thompson, 2001, p34). As a result, scholars from an array of disciplines (e.g., psychology, economics, industrial and organizational behavior, sociology, communications, and law) continue to investigate the variables that account for negotiator success.Before scholars can generate a useful theory regarding negotiator success, and provide prescriptive advice for obtaining it, they must be clear about what "success" is and how it is operationalized. This paper examines the evolution of thought regarding 1) the operationalization of "negotiator success" and the implication these current notions of success have on theory and on research, 2) the interpretation of empirical findings, 3) beliefs about effective strategies, and 4) attributions about performance and prescriptive advice. In essence this paper argues that the definition of negotiator success has changed over time due to the failure to distinguish between negotiator objectives and strategies used for obtaining the objectives. This paper will further argue that the confounding of these distinct constructs has inadvertently led to a counterproductive measure of negotiator success (i.e., a joint-gain bias) and thus, reliance on a restricted and sometimes counterproductive subset of strategies.This paper identifies the existence of joint-gain bias. It is this bias that reflects an erroneous and possibly counterproductive notion of negotiator success. The paper includes a further examination of the potential impact this bias has on current theory, research, and application, beginning with a review of the negotiation literature and an assessment of its evolution. Specific hypotheses are made regarding the existence of a joint-gain bias and its potential origin. A methodology section outlines the procedures used for testing the proposed hypotheses and is followed by a description of the results. This paper concludes with a detailed discussion of the implications of the proposed bias and propositions for alleviating it.The Literature And Its EvolutionRational Theories Of Negotiator...

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