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Frameworks, Cases, and Experiments: Bridging Theory with Practice

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image of International Negotiation

A theory-oriented approach to teaching and training about negotiation is discussed in this article. Following the flow of a course taught on several continents, I emphasize the value of conceptualizing about the negotiating experience. This is done with concepts, metaphors, frameworks, and research findings summarized in the form of a set of narratives. A series of exercises bring the concepts to life. These include the difference between negotiating values and interests, designing scenarios, and enacting the negotiating functions of analyst, strategist, and designer. Students are also given an opportunity to perform as negotiators and observers in a complex multi-issue negotiation involving security issues similar to those discussed recently between the U.S. and Iraq. They are provided with a research experience that entails coding selected peace agreements for distributive and procedural justice as well as for the durability of those agreements. Lessons learned are generated in de-briefings of the exercises. They are also discussed in a final class where students’ insights, gained from comparative case analyses, are organized by the framework introduced during earlier classes.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public and International Affairs, George Mason University Fairfax, VA 22030 USA, Email:


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