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International Negotiation and Good Governance:

A Researcher-Practitioner’s Perspective


by Bertram I. Spector

(Routledge 2024) (Released 2 October 2023)


 International Negotiation and Good Governance: A Researcher-Practitioner’s Perspective book cover

This book examines two critical political science domains: the processes of international negotiation and the establishment of good governance practices. While these domains are often independent of one another, they do sometimes connect, occasionally in unanticipated ways. I approach these topics based on my experiences as a political science researcher-practitioner, not as a pure academic. I believe that this perspective adds a real-world sense to how I observe, analyze, and make recommendations about negotiation and governance dynamics in my practitioner and researcher roles.

The book starts off with a narrative of how and why I decided to take the researcher-practitioner path, which is unconventional for most Ph.D. political scientists. Then, the book examines several topics of importance for understanding and strengthening negotiations and good governance. With regards to negotiation process dynamics, we analyze the inclusion of new actors at the negotiating table; the impact of psychology, creativity and values on negotiating outcomes; the significance of post-agreement negotiations in validating, adjusting and improving earlier negotiated outcomes; and how negotiations that resolve civil wars need to incorporate explicit anti-corruption provisions, especially when endemic corruption was the primary spark initiating the internal conflict. Interspersed with these analyses are descriptions of how my technical research was used to support negotiating teams preparing for the Middle East Camp David talks in the late 1970s, and my technical support for negotiators engaged in global environmental talks in the 1990s.

From the governance perspective, we examine the age-old problem of corruption that is often a major factor responsible for bad governance practices, economic dysfunctions, and widespread poverty. The book explores how strengthening citizen advocacy can play an essential role in pressuring government to make the necessary reforms; how appropriate anti-corruption strategies can be designed and implemented in particularly fragile states; how corruption risk assessments are essential to customizing anti-corruption strategies; and how the negotiation transaction that is fundamental to making corruption operate can be deconstructed to reduce or prevent this behavior. Along with these analyses are descriptions of many programs I have implemented in over 40 countries in conjunction with government authorities, businesses, the media, and citizen groups to address the many facets of corruption.

Each chapter focuses on one of these issue areas and provides an interesting mix of my practitioner experiences with my research contributions. The narratives start with anecdotes of unexpected events I experienced when implementing programs around the world. Some important results from these programs are then discussed, and several abridged versions of related articles that I have published in academic journals are also included.

This unique volume will be used in university courses on international negotiation, conflict resolution, governance practices, international development, and comparative politics, as well as providing a useful resource for researchers, policymakers, practitioners, NGOs, donor organizations, and grant-giving organizations.

Table of Contents

  1. The Unconventional Path
  2. Evolutionary Negotiation
  3. Promoting Advocacy for Good Governance
  4. Fighting Corruption in Fragile Societies
  5. Citizen Inclusion at the Governance and Negotiation Tables
  6. Detecting Corruption Risks
  7. The Corruption-Negotiation Connection 
  8. Marshaling the Psychology, Creativity and Values of Negotiation Processes