Goldberg, Sander, and Rogers in Dispute Resolution: Negotiation, Mediation, and Other Processes (1992) define negotiation as “communication for the purpose of persuasion.”
Negotiation is a process in which parties to a dispute discuss possible outcomes directly with each other. Parties exchange proposals and demands, make arguments, and continue the discussion until a solution is reached, or an impasse declared. In negotiations there are three approaches to resolving the dispute, each with a different orientation and focus – interest-based, rights-based, and power-based – and they can result in different outcomes (Ury et al., 1993).
This approach shifts the focus of the discussion from positions to interests. Because there are many interests underlying any position, a discussion based on interests opens up a range of possibilities and creative options, whereas positions very often cannot be reconciled and may therefore lead to a dead end.
The dialogue on interest should be transparent, in order for the parties to arrive at an agreement that will satisfy the needs and interests of the parties.
While interest-based negotiations have the potential of leading to the best outcomes, the parties may not adopt it, and therefore we often find that negotiations are “rights-based” or “power-based.”
When negotiations between parties fail, the parties may then attempt to resort to what they consider to be their rights. This means appealing to the court (local, national, or international) and will result in a legal process in which the law is the dominant feature.
Resorting to threat or even violence as a way of communication for...