Roger Fisher

Peace and Negotiation

Crocker, Chester A.,  Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall (editors).  Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided Word (United States Institute of Peace, 2007).

Leashing the Dogs of War assesses the nature and extent of the changes wrought by 9/11 and its aftermath, and explores their wide-ranging implications. For the United States, of course, the changes have been dramatic. It has engaged in a war on terrorism and has become both a third party in certain conflict arenas and a direct party to the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. But these events have also affected other actors, from the United Nations to humanitarian NGOs to collective defense and security organizations such as NATO and the OSCE.

t the same time, some things have not changed. Failed states, economic stagnation, weapons proliferation, nuclear missiles, and identity-based conflicts continue to threaten global security. Looking at the combination of old and new threats, are traditional instruments of negotiation, mediation, peacekeeping and peace enforcement still effective in managing and resolving conflict? How do conflict management efforts and the campaign against terrorism interact in various security environments? Are our institutions--be they states, coalitions of the willing, international organizations, or NGOs--capable of creating and implementing a peacemaking strategy? All these questions are addressed in this new volume.

 

 

Fisher, Roger and Daniel Shapiro.  Beyond Reason: Using Emotions As You Negotiate (Penguin, 2006).

Let's say you're trying to convince a new employer to sweeten its job offer to you. Or perhaps you're buying or selling a company. Or maybe you're even solving for peace in the Middle East. If any of these scenarios is yours, Roger Fisher, Daniel Shapiro, and their colleagues at the Harvard Negotiation Project have ideas that they would like to share. Fisher's previous book, Getting to Yes, stands today as a seminal work in negotiations theory. Businesspeople in a wide variety of industries have drawn from the book's tips for deal-making and its larger framework for "interest-based negotiation", which focuses on understanding each side's interests and working together to produce proverbial win-win outcomes. In Beyond Reason, Fisher and Shapiro go one step further.

To the authors' credit, they started this new book with a clear understanding of the previous one's chief shortcoming. Though Getting to Yes introduced a powerful paradigm for negotiations, it did not fully address a critical element of most deals: emotions, and the messy human details that can distract from purely rational decision-making. If both negotiators are consistently lucid, fair, and calm, the game has a certain set of rules, but if--as in most situations--the different parties get excited, angry, sad, insulted, and so on, then those rules change. That expanded focus forms the basis for Beyond Reason.
Fisher and Shapiro have structured this latest work around five key emotions which they identify as most critical to productive negotiations. Even though each situation has its own dynamics, they point to appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, status, and role as the most important for making each party comfortable enough to grasp the principles of rationality that maximize the chances for a win-win result.

Critics may deride this book as still too simplistic, too black-and-white, and unappreciative of life's shades of gray. The authors' pragmatic bent comes in the book's final two chapters. One takes readers through the overall process for negotiations--not just the parry-and-thrust of conversations with the other party, but also pre-conversation preparation. It's in this preparatory stage, the authors contend, where a thoughtful consideration of potential emotional dynamics can help prevent later problems. To synthesize many of the lessons they impart, Fisher and Shapiro then close their work by inviting guest commentary from the former President of Ecuador, Jamil Mahuad, who explains how he applied interest-based negotiations theory to highly charged negotiations between his country and Peru, on a border dispute in the late 1990s. It's this kind of real-life application of Fisher and Shapiro's theories that continue to give them relevance.  (Peter Han for Amazon.com)  


 

Ury, William L.  The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop (Penguin, 2000).

According to William Ury, it takes two sides to fight, but a third to stop. Distilling the lessons of two decades of experience in family struggles, labor strikes, and wars, he presents a bold new strategy for stopping fights. He also describes ten practical roles--as managers, teachers, parents, and citizens--that each of us can play every day to prevent destructive conflict.

Fighting isn't an inevitable part of human nature, Ury explains, drawing on his training as an anthropologist and his work among primitive tribes and modern corporations. We have a powerful alternative--The Third Side--which can transform our daily battles into creative conflict and cooperation at home, at work, and in the world.

 

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