Building Negotiation Theory from Real-Life Negotiations
9 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2017 Last revised: 9 Aug 2017
This article builds on an excellent article written by Professors David Matz and Adrian Borbély for the University of Missouri’s symposium, Moving Negotiation Theory from the Tower of Babel Toward a World of Mutual Understanding. Professors Matz and Borbély advocate the use of full-length accounts of actual negotiations to develop more realistic negotiation theory. This article strongly agrees with their idea of using real negotiations to test our theories and develop better ones. The dispute resolution field has become too comfortable with simple theories based on hypothetical situations and selective or misleading data from actual negotiations.
In developing negotiation theory, scholars should consider a wide range of accounts of actual negotiations including reports that are shorter than the full-length accounts that Professors Matz and Borbély describe. Moreover, although existing accounts of actual negotiations can be useful, creating new data designed to analyze real negotiations should be an important part of a serious research program to develop more realistic negotiation theory. This article describes ways to produce more accounts of actual negotiations, particularly by faculty requiring students to produce them as course assignments. It includes links to documents that faculty can adapt to use in their course assignments.
Keywords: negotiation, theory, empirical research, course assignments
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