The Rights-Focused, Interests-Focused Disputant: Empathy Gaps in Disputing Strategy
24 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 2017
Decades of negotiation research suggest that deal-making negotiators and disputants achieve the best outcomes when they focus extensively on interests. However, research on whether and how they can actually do that is much more voluminous for deal-making negotiations than disputes. Integrating research on disputes and empathy gaps, we examine that possibility that disputants (naturally in a “hot state”) may have a distinctly hard time implementing their “cold state” intentions to focus on interests. After validating the importance of an interests focus in disputes, our second study documents the difficulty of implementing interest-focused intentions in disputes. Finally, we describe a third, planned study examining an intervention to help disputants implement their interest-focused intentions. These studies highlight a potential disconnect between disputants’ intentions and behavior, suggesting that disputing research may benefit from a new and unique set of theoretical assumptions.
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