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The Wave/Particle Tension in Negotiation

Ran Kuttner

Creighton University School of Law - Werner Institute

June 1, 2011

Harvard Negotiation Law Review, Vol. 16, 2011

Using the wave/particle duality, a central principle in quantum physics as a metaphor, this article describes two different modes of human interaction that a negotiator should be aware of when conducting her negotiations-within, i.e. her internal negotiations with regard to how a situation should be approached, before and during the actual negotiation. The first section presents the wave/particle duality. The second section makes the transition from physics to discuss the centrality of the wave/particle duality in human everyday experience and suggests that a wave-like negotiation mindset and approach can be taught. The third section shows basic differences between wave-like and particle-like interactions, also suggesting that the ongoing debate in the literature between interest-based and relational approaches can be read in the light of the wave/particle tension or duality. The fourth section offers an analysis of the characteristics of wave-like interactions that should be cultivated by negotiators and discusses the considerations one should take into account when negotiating-within and deciding on the type of negotiation that should be applied.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

Keywords: negotiation theory, dialogue, negotiation tensions, relational approach

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Date posted: August 31, 2011 ; Last revised: January 9, 2013

Suggested Citation

Kuttner, Ran, The Wave/Particle Tension in Negotiation (June 1, 2011). Harvard Negotiation Law Review, Vol. 16, 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1919316 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1919316

Contact Information

Ran Kuttner (Contact Author)
Creighton University School of Law - Werner Institute ( email )
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.creighton.edu/werner/index.php
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