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Introduction to Negotiation: Patterns and Cycles of Rationality

Most books on negotiation fall into one of several categories. There are collections of war stories. There are observations. There are collections of tricks and techniques, there are methods of negotiation and there are procedural manuals.

"War Stories" are case studies or stories about negotiations, often disconnected from the facts. At one time the most prominent of these featured a book length case study of the author's "triumph" when the author actually lost at every turn and was run out of the business he had entered. In general, there are more war stories about negotiation than any other approach.

"Observations" are statistical collections and commentaries on negotiation in general.

"Tricks and techniques" are collections of stunts and gimmicks, often delivered in the context of war stories.

"Methods" are books such as Getting to Yes or Winning Through Intimidation which feature a methodology or approach to mediation. Method books often illustrate the method with war stories. (You can see why war stories are so common as a genre to negotiation books, they are used for almost every other format as well as there being  books that are naked war stories).

"Procedurals" are manuals on how to execute a particular method or approach, a good example being the excellent Game, Set and Match.

My approach to mediation begins by understanding that Negotiation is a conflict resolution method that consists of patterns and cycles. My goal is to explain what is happening in negotiation, how and why it happens, the competing ethics or ethos that drive negotiators, and the tools and approaches available to work with and understand the rational and irrational processes that combine to make up any negotiation.

I also intend to includes usable methodology and procedures and to make an effort to produce a comprehensive treatment of the subject that acknowledges the research and the efforts that have gone before.

Caveats * Copyright 2008 Stephen R. Marsh * Terms of use * Old Blog Materials

Copyright 1999-2008   Stephen R. Marsh
All rights Reserved

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