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Resiliency in Negotiation: Bouncing Back from Impasse

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image of International Negotiation

Deadlocked international negotiations risk prolonged uncertainty and, worse, the possible onset of hostilities. While the negotiation research literature is replete with strategies and tactics that seek positive sum outcomes, there is a paucity of reliable advice for negotiators faced with stalemate on what they can do to avert failure and get back on the negotiation track. This study suggests that international negotiations can learn from the field of developmental psychology about the concept and practice of resiliency. Resiliency is the human capacity to face, overcome and be strengthened by experiences of extreme adversity. It is a basic and powerful human competency that negotiators, faced with impasse, need to master to avert failure and achieve successful negotiation outcomes. If people have the capacity to bounce back from adversity in their personal lives, negotiators in their professional lives should be able to mobilize this capacity to bounce back from impasses, as well. Several propositions based on research findings are examined.


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