Negotiation Journal

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  • Issue Information
  • Connecting the Dots: The Nexus Between Leadership and Negotiation
  • Editor's Note
  • Negotiating a New Social Contract for Work: An Online, Distributed Approach

    A massive open online course (MOOC) entitled “Shaping the Future of Work” (offered through MITx, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's online learning division) has been the context for a multiparty simulation designed to produce classroom negotiation results that will have social impacts. After running the course in the MOOC context three times and in face‐to‐face settings eight times, we noticed that key themes emerged. Participants have brought their own workforce perspectives to their simulation roles as employers, worker representatives, elected officials, and educators. They have called for reciprocal agreements centered on fair treatment and representation in the workplace, improved organizational performance, investments in skills and capabilities, aligned rewards and benefits for workers, and work–life balance in communities. We continue to use the simulation in the classroom and are exploring ways to expand its use. In the meantime, in this article, we discuss how the insights gleaned from this simulation could be used to crystallize and advance a new social contract at a time when the public policies, institutions, and organizational practices governing employment relations have not kept up with the dramatic changes taking place in the workforce, nature of work, and overall economy.

  • Fostering Constructive Action by Peers and Bystanders in Organizations and Communities

    Peers and bystanders play important roles in organizational and community conflict management. Bystanders often learn relevant information and have opportunities to act in ways that can affect three of the basic functions of a conflict management system (CMS.) They can help (or not help) to identify, assess, and manage behaviors that the organization or community deems to be “unacceptable.” Examples in which bystanders play important roles include sexual and racial harassment, safety violations, unethical research, national security violations and insider threats, cyber‐bullying and cyber‐sabotage, violence, fraud, theft, intimidation and retaliation, and gross negligence. Bystanders often are a missing link in conflict systems. For the purposes of this article, I define peers and bystanders as people who observe or learn about unacceptable behavior by others, but who are not the relevant supervisors, or who knowingly engage in planning or executing that behavior. I define CMS managers as all those people, including line managers, who have responsibility for managing conflicts. Conflict managers face many challenges in fostering constructive behavior from bystanders. The interests of bystanders may or may not coincide with the interests of conflict systems managers in an organization or community. Bystanders often have multiple, idiosyncratic, and conflicting interests, and experience painful dilemmas. In addition, peers and bystanders, and their contexts – often differ greatly from each other. Blanket rules about how all bystanders should behave, such as requirements for mandatory reporting, are often ineffective or lead to perverse results. Bystanders are regularly equated with “do‐nothings,” in the popular press. In real life, however, helpful bystander actions are common. Many bystanders report a wide variety of constructive initiatives, including private, informal interventions. In this article, I report on forty‐five years of observations on bystanders in many milieus. I present what bystanders have said are the reasons that they did not – or did – take action, and what can be learned to help organizations and communities to support bystanders to be more effective when faced with unacceptable behavior.

  • Keith Murnighan, Thomas Schelling, and Margaret Shaw
  • Outbursts: An Evolutionary Approach to Emotions in the Mediation Context

    Evolutionary psychology offers a powerful framework for understanding the ultimate function of emotions, and that understanding can be applied usefully in the mediation context. In this article, we first introduce the relevant theoretical foundational assumptions of the evolutionary approach to emotions and then use anger and gratitude to illustrate the evolved functions and effects of emotions on cognition and behavior before exploring specific implications for mediation. We also discuss mediator strategies for leveraging anger and gratitude, as well as the potential for future research applying an evolutionary approach to understanding emotions in mediation.

  • A Pioneer's Legacy: The Influence of Morton Deutsch
  • Cognitive Maelstroms, Nested Negotiation Networks, and Cascading Decision Effects: Modeling and Teaching Negotiation Complexity with Systemic Multiconstituency Exercises

    Negotiation practitioners today struggle to manage complex political, economic, and cultural disputes that often involve an array of intertwined issues, parties, process choices, and consequences – both intended and unintended. To prepare next‐generation negotiators for these multifaceted challenges, negotiation instructors must keep pace with the rapidly evolving complexity of today's world. In this article, we introduce systemic multiconstituency exercises (SMCEs), a new educational tool for capturing this emerging reality and helping to close the experiential learning gap between the simulated and the non‐simulated environment. We discuss our pedagogical rationale for developing The Transition, a seventy‐two‐party SMCE inspired by the complex conflicts in Afghanistan and Central Asia and then describe our experiences conducting multiple iterations of this simulation at Harvard University. We argue that SMCEs, in which stakeholders are embedded in clusters of overlapping networks, differ from conventional multiparty exercises because of their immersive character, emergent properties, and dynamic architecture. This design allows for the creation of crucial negotiation complexity challenges within a simulated exercise context, most importantly what we call “cognitive maelstroms,” nested negotiation networks, and cascading decision effects. Because of these features, SMCEs are uniquely suited for training participants in the art of network thinking in complex negotiations. Properly designed and executed, systemic multiconstituency exercises are next‐generation teaching, training, and research platforms that carefully integrate negotiation, leadership, and decision‐making challenges.

  • Editor's Note

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