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Negotiation as Coalition Building

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image of International Negotiation

Multilateral negotiations can be understood through the metaphor of coalitions- deliberately constructed networks of actors having differing interests or values, priorities and goals, yet showing general or limited common objectives. Coalition building highlights the commonality of interests among parties and reduces the complexity of multilateral transactions, thus offering a powerful parallel to international negotiation processes. In coalitions, as in multilateral negotiations in general, members assume certain roles that may drive or defend the process, exercise differentiated behaviors to manage power struggles and mutual dependence relationships, and develop strategies that move them closer to shared goals while protecting them from destabilizing counterstrategies. Minority coalitions, resembling weak negotiating parties, can still be effective actors in the process of achieving common objectives. Coalition building sheds valuable light on all types of negotiations, especially those in an international setting. Indeed, close similarities in concepts and language, variety of approaches, identification of major forms, determinants, and process and outcome variables are found in both activities.

Affiliations: 1: 77 Avenue de l'Esplanade, Wezembeek, 1970, Belgium


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