The Dynamics of International Negotiation: Essays on Theory and Practice (Routledge 2023) by Bertram Spector

| Home | Research | Center's Publications | International Negotiation Journal | Negotiation Bookstore | Contact | Call for Papers - Ukraine

Here are chapter-by-chapter abstracts for the book:

1.     The Dynamics of International Negotiation

This chapter offers an introduction to the book and its structure. Given the wide breadth of issues, domains, frameworks and approaches, the dynamics of the international negotiation system still leave a wide door open for study. The essays in this book examine these dynamics and seek to extend these key negotiation drivers to stimulate further research and analysis that can help academics, and also practitioners, in their difficult work.

2.     Negotiation is a Creative Experiment

Experimentation, as is discussed in this essay, is not about a game used for training purposes, but how the real-life negotiation process operates. The negotiation process can be characterized as a grand field experiment – in fact, multiple overlapping experiments – that start with hypotheses developed by each engaged party about how they might best achieve their desired outcome and motivate behavioral change in the other parties by promoting dependent variables – their strategy and tactics. Through numerous interactions, it can be seen whether each hypothesis has been validated or not, hopefully, as the parties come closer to developing a formula for a negotiated outcome. Negotiation experiments allow practitioners to attempt new and creative ideas and see if they will resolve the conflict or problem at hand. 

3.     Engineering Negotiation Situations for Improved Outcomes
This essay explores how negotiators can actively engineer the bargaining context when faced with potential stalemate to improve the chances for a successful outcome. A wide range of situational factors can be employed to induce more flexible bargaining behavior. And creativity approaches can be introduced to transform negotiation situations that are at an impasse into mutually acceptable solutions. Ultimately, we ask the question of how such negotiation engineering tools can be delivered to practical international negotiators so that they will become integrated into their everyday planning, strategizing and execution of negotiation activities. 

4.     The Psychology of Negotiation

The human factor cannot be ignored when trying to explain negotiation process dynamics and outcomes. This essay describes an empirically based study that was designed to examine the roles of personality, perception, and persuasion in negotiation. A psychological model of negotiation was formulated, an experimental vehicle was developed to simulate redistribution bargaining, and the resulting empirical data were analyzed via the model to determine the degree of impact of micro-level factors on negotiation dynamics. The findings confirm the potency of psychological explanations of the bargaining process and outcome. 

5.     The Negotiability of Nations

Negotiation is a behavioral process among parties to solve a problem, settle a conflict, or achieve a common goal. As with any process, sometimes it is easy and sometimes it hard to accomplish. The course that this process takes depends largely on many contextual factors, not least of which are the characteristics of the other parties in the negotiation and the chemistry of those characteristics with the negotiator’s own. Key elements that describe “who” one is negotiating with, such as the ease or difficulty of negotiations, the capacity to negotiate, and party trustworthiness can be assessed and their confluence described as a country’s negotiability quotient. In this essay, some preliminary indicators are used to capture these dimensions. We believe the analytical approach can offer meaningful measurements for practitioners and researchers. Further research could offer additional paths for monitoring these negotiability dimensions. 

6.     Incomplete International Negotiations: Adding Implementation Formulas

The assumption at the end of most negotiation processes is that the agreed provisions will be implemented by all parties so that the negotiated results will have the desired impact. However, success needs to be determined not by words (that is, the negotiated agreement), but by deeds (how that agreement is implemented). This essay examines why negotiated agreements fail when they are not implemented as expected. Can the negotiation process be adjusted to avert the potential for negative results as a result of unimplemented provisions? We examine options to activate explicit and inclusive negotiation efforts focused on how agreed provisions can be implemented effectively by all engaged parties. The resulting implementation strategy should be included as a mandatory feature of overall negotiated agreements, not one left to chance. 

7.     What Matters When Implementing Negotiated Agreements?

This essay studies the problem of implementing negotiated agreements. What are the key factors that push provisions forward or put obstacles in their way during the post-negotiation period? Is power asymmetry the primary factor determining implementation or are there others? In particular, as the first step on the road to implementation, what is the likelihood that the negotiated agreement will be ratified and accepted at the national level? We examine this problem through an analysis of international environmental agreements, where the author was involved directly. 

8.     Decision Support Systems: Getting Negotiators to Use Them

Negotiators need to do a lot of information gathering, analysis and planning ahead of and during talks with their counterparts from other countries. Such assessments will give them a better understanding of their own interests, the interests of their counterparts, alternate strategies that might achieve a compromise, and the costs and benefits of different paths. This analysis can also facilitate design of creative negotiation formulas that are at the heart of what the negotiators came to the table to achieve in the first place. Analytical support can take many forms, but the development of a set of systematic tools that can assist negotiators – decision support systems (DSS) – is a fundamental way for negotiators to prepare themselves to achieve successful results. This essay examines the author’s experiences designing and supporting the use of DSS in Middle East peace talks leading up to the Camp David Accords, as well as a study of how Austrian negotiators use information. 

9.     Negotiated Rulemaking

Negotiated rulemaking (neg-reg) brings together affected stakeholder groups with the relevant government agencies and a neutral mediator or facilitator to negotiate consensus on the features of a new regulation before it is proposed officially by the agency. Regulatory provisions are developed as a bottom-up participatory process of negotiation. A case study is examined showing how regulations in the United States were developed using neg-reg concerning the emission of hazardous air pollutants. Cultural and administrative obstacles in applying neg-reg are examined and practical steps are discussed on how to establish neg-reg as an effective procedure that includes all stakeholders. 

10.  Citizen Negotiation: Adding New Voices

This essay provides an overview of how the negotiation process can be used by advocacy groups operated by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to promote and facilitate getting things accomplished in conjunction with government. The conditions needed for commencing negotiations are described, as well as the stages and activities that define negotiation behavior. Ultimately, moving from confrontation to achieving results and desired reforms requires a “culture of negotiation” on the part of both advocacy groups and government agencies. A case study of the results of citizen negotiation in the Russian Far East is presented. 

11.  Paradiplomacy and the Democratization of International Negotiation

Increasingly, transborder negotiations about local issues are being conducted not by central governments, but by subnational or regional entities that are given the authority and legitimacy to negotiate with counterparts from other countries. This essay examines paradiplomacy, how such negotiations are conducted, and how they compare to more traditional international negotiation processes. Are these non-central processes significantly different from traditional nation-to-nation negotiations? Are outcomes fairer, better implemented and more sustainable because the local stakeholders are directly engaged? Does this localization of negotiation provide a viable platform for early and preventive conflict management between countries? 

12.  Values in Negotiation: The Case of International Development Assistance

Are negotiations concerning international development assistance and humanitarian support conducted empathetically? After all, if the objectives are to help countries that are in need economically, politically or socially, or in the midst of a violent crisis or environmental disaster, one would think that the principal motivators driving negotiation strategies, tactics and behaviors would be altruism, caring and compassion. Certainly, empathy must play some role in most of these negotiations, but other self-interested goals are almost always present as well – on both sides – and this impacts the negotiation process. New strategies and tactics are examined that can help boost altruistic values in international negotiations where compassion and life-saving actions are needed the most. 

13.  Reframing Negotiation for Development Conflicts
This essay examines the problem of how international negotiations that result in development assistance for low-income countries can be reframed to avert potential instability and conflict in the future. While international development aid is meant to improve the well-being of societies and is conducted with a pledge to “do no harm,” research shows that it has also been a major contributing factor to escalating internal instability and violent conflict if it results in drastically unbalanced or inequitable growth patterns. We discuss a range of options to reframe negotiations that establish development support to make them more aware and sensitive to the potential for development-induced conflicts and to seek preventive solutions. 

14.  Negotiating for Good, Negotiating for Bad

The international negotiation process is an unbiased mechanism meant to resolve problems in a nonviolent way. But it can take on value-laden meaning based on the nature of the issues for which the process is applied. Typically, we think of international negotiation as addressing political, security, environmental, ethnic, economic, business, legal, scientific and cultural issues and conflicts among nations, international and regional organizations, multinational corporations, and other non-state parties. But the negotiation process can also be subverted to achieve bad goals. It can help some actors delay progress, which can result in increased problems and conflicts. The process can also be put to use to disadvantage weaker actors for the benefit of the more powerful. And the process can promote corrupt behaviors across national boundaries. A range of approaches are examined that have been piloted and can be scaled-up that will start making a difference. 

15.  Evolutionary Negotiation

Most problems involving international actors are not peacefully resolved in one go-around. The negotiation process, when applied to ending complex conflicts, resolving major mutual problems, or developing consequential collaborative programs, is usually an incremental process carried out over a long period of time. One-off negotiations resulting in an agreement and followed by ratification by all parties, on the other hand, are usually the product of more straightforward and simpler problems. International negotiation is a step-by-step, evolutionary process, not one that advances by decree or by revolution. Through dialogue and the exchange of offers, agreements can eventually be made. Then, through implementation, the agreements’ provisions can either proceed to resolve conflicts, solve problems, or support coordination. Alternatively, the implementation efforts can demonstrate over time that changing situations, ideas, orientations and behaviors require that the negotiated agreement needs to be modified to continue to yield its desired impacts. Given this evolutionary tendency, several mechanisms are examined and further research recommended. 

16.  Future Paths

This collection of essays examines a wide range of issues and questions about international negotiation dynamics that have concerned me – where we already have some analysis but not enough, and where more deep dive study is needed. I hope that these essays extend our understanding of these issues and open new doors to advance our conceptual and practical understanding of negotiations. As we dig deeper, new questions and new paths for research always arise. This chapter describes a range of research paths that merit further examination. 


Find out more about this book. Go to the Routledge webpage: