- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 29, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0787957437
- ISBN-13: 978-0787957438
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.3 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Breakthrough International Negotiation: How Great Negotiators Transformed the World's Toughest Post-Cold War Conflicts 1st Edition
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From Library Journal
Using a "context of deep-rooted ethnic and ideological" differences, Watkins (Harvard Business Sch.; Winning the Influence Game) and Rosegrant, a journalist and case writer for Harvard's JFK School of Government, identify four core tasks in "breakthrough negotiations." The first is to diagnose the structure of the conflict; the second, to identify barriers to resolution; the third, to manage conflicts that arise within the process; and the fourth, to build momentum with creative deal making. Four 20th-century conflicts help the authors illustrate the application of these tasks: U.S. negotiations with North Korea over their nuclear armament, the ongoing Middle East crisis, the recent strife in Bosnia, and conflict in Iraq. Watkins and Rosegrant conclude their well-organized, easy-to-understand presentation with simple guidelines for becoming a breakthrough negotiator. Complexity is at the root of all breakthrough negotiations, and, as the authors point out, "Even highly successful negotiations are points on a continuum, not the end of the story." For academic, law, and public libraries. Julie Denny, Resolutions, Amenia, NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"Watkins and Rosegrant conclude their well-organized, easy-to-understand presentation with simple guidelines for becoming a breakthrough negotiator." (Library Journal, 1/02)
"The book also offers practical advice in the international arena as well as in government, business and life." (The Texas Mediator, Spring 2002)
"What a book! What a surprise! What relevance!" (Conflict Resolution Notes, April 2003)
"It is essential reading for the experienced student of negotiations." (Book Review Digest, April 2003)
Top customer reviews
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book that succeeds on several levels but that is ultimately less powerful than it might have been, probably as a result of trying to serve too
many masters. The authors provide really fascinating accounts of four post-Cold War negotiations--nuclear arms proliferation talks between
the U.S. and North Korea; the Israeli-Palestinian talks leading to the Oslo Accords; the creation of the Gulf War coalition (1991); and the
confrontation between the US (and Europe) and Serbia that led to the Dayton Peace Accords--that each resulted, in their view, in some kind
of major breakthrough, some difficult to achieve result. These accounts are based on what must have been extensive interviews with key
players, who are quoted frequently and who share the concerns and concepts that influenced them. The book would be worthwhile even if
all it contained were these detailed, often thrilling, narratives of several significant recent foreign policy conflicts.
But, in addition, these four negotiations provide the authors with the jump off points for extensive discussions of the personalities involved
and the tactics they used. The book is published by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and in many ways it represents an
attempt to bring the Socratic method out of the class room and on to the written page. In parenthetical asides they ask the reader to consider
why certain players took certain actions or how a key decision may have influenced the whole course of events, etc.. As you read, the
authors are virtually present, pushing and prodding (in a helpful way) to make sure that you are conscious of the negotiating ploys that
Meanwhile, in their own analysis of events, they spell out the four core concepts of what they call "breakthrough negotiation" :
(1) Diagnosing structure
(2) Identifying barriers to agreement
(3) Managing conflict
(4) Building momentum
and seven principles that guide breakthrough negotiators :
(1) Breakthrough Negotiators Shape the Structure of Their Situations
(2) Breakthrough Negotiators Organize to Learn
(3) Breakthrough Negotiators are Masters of Process Design
(4) Breakthrough Negotiators Foster Agreement When Possible But Employ Force When Necessary
(5) Breakthrough Negotiators Anticipate and Manage Conflict
(6) Breakthrough Negotiators Build Momentum Toward Agreement
(7) Breakthrough Negotiators Lead from the Middle
They use innumerable examples to illustrate these concepts and principles and the overall structure certainly provides a framework that
would be useful to anyone involved in negotiations. In this regard, they have produced what will likely be an excellent textbook for use in
So far so good; but the book also seems to be at least partially intended for a wider audience, and here it runs into some difficulties, largely
as a result of the textbook format and of the choice of geopolitical negotiations as a subject matter. As a threshold matter, I don't believe
that these negotiations between nation states hold terribly many lessons for business executives, who are presumably a significant portion of
the intended wider audience, because one or both of the participants in these cases usually lack the option of just ending the negotiation, an
option which is almost always available in the business setting. Coca-Cola can simply decide not to buy Joe's Cola and can walk away, but
Serbia can't really ignore the United States and Western Europe. No businessman, not even a Bill Gates, is ever likely to have the
overwhelming leverage that the U.S. brings to the negotiating table.
The biggest problem though is that if you apply the first of the authors' own core concepts (diagnosing structure) to their chosen four
examples you see that the breakthrough generally occurred prior to, or at, the moment negotiations started. Thus, the actual content of the
Oslo Accords was pretty much insignificant; what really mattered was the implicit admission by the parties that Israel and a Palestinian state
were each realities that the other side needed to cope with. Even today, with the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians at its all
time nadir, they are relatively close to a final accord. Israel will eventually declare a Palestinian state unilaterally and the Palestinians will
be forced to accept the boundaries that Israel imposes. The breakthrough occurred with Oslo when the two sides, just by entering
negotiations, acknowledged each others existence as a political fact.
Mind you, the authors are so thorough, insightful, and honest that they do discuss many of these issues, even if only tangentially, and they
are forthright in depicting "breakthrough negotiators" as those folks (Richard Holbrooke and James Baker, for example) who keep their eye
on the big picture and don't get distracted by the particulars of agreements. (...)
In the initial chapter, the authors identify seven principles used by "breakthrough negotiators," the people who are capable of working around seemingly insurmountable obstacles, or of achieving unexpectedly positive resolutions through the negotiating process. The authors show that breakthrough negotiators shape the structure of negotiating situations; create time to learn about colleagues at the table; control the bargaining process to influence perceptions of interests and alternatives by each party involved; understand the interaction between diplomacy and the use of force; diagnose potential sources of conflict; build momentum to secure an agreement; and act to bridge internal bargaining within their own teams, and external negotiations with those around the table.
The core concepts presented in the first part of the volume--diagnosing structure, identifying barriers to agreement, managing conflict, and building momentum--are familiar to those conversant with the negotiation literature. Their application, particularly to the North Korean case, sheds light on the issues and the interests of each side. For example, the authors illuminate with interesting details the mediating role of former president Jimmy Carter and the negotiating style of Robert Gallucci, former assistant secretary for political-military affairs.
The second part of the volume examines the approaches experienced negotiators use to manage conflict and build momentum. In analyzing the Oslo process, the authors make a crucial distinction and describe the role of the Norwegians as facilitators, not mediators. In other words, the Norwegians aimed to help the parties get to know each other and overcome psychological barriers. Much of the preparatory work in negotiations and coalition building involves attitudinal structuring and is, therefore, rooted in social psychology and intercultural awareness. In light of this fact, the volume would be strengthened by an explicit reference to an ethics of negotiations, addressing the ways in which questions of fairness, justice, and transparency come into play. The Gulf coalition and the Dayton cases underscore the necessity of informing domestic constituencies about the pressures of the international negotiation processes. A key ethical concern, to which the authors might have devoted more attention, is how a third-party mediator can help ensure that any settlement be perceived as the end result of the parties' own negotiation process instead of as his or her arbitrary dictate.
In the Dayton case, the fact that the negotiations did not address Kosovo and the significant Albanian majority there is obviously significant. This omission led to the increasingly violent acts of the Kosovo Liberation Army that preceded the NATO bombing campaign of Serbia in the spring of 1999. These events raise a crucial point, related to Kant's categorical imperative, about the ways in which negotiators may retain respect for the basic human rights of those who are not present. Kant asks his fellow human beings to treat others as having intrinsic value and to act in accordance with principles that are valid for others. According to Kant, then, we are obliged to consider techniques negotiators could develop to focus attention on the rights of those not at the table, because their destinies may be profoundly altered by agreements reached in their absence. The authors, however, do not explore this issue.
Even though a more explicit reference to the ethics of negotiations could strengthen this volume, its content provides an excellent point of departure for analyzing the intrastate conflict that most likely will dominate the twenty-first-century agenda. The cases rely on interviews with a number of the key actors involved in the negotiations analyzed. In addition, each case is written in a clear and concise manner that allows for role-playing and debriefing in classes addressing global politics. The closing pages provide an easily accessible update of the cases. A leading group of alternative dispute-resolution professionals has already awarded this book its annual prize. For practitioners, students, and instructors, Breakthrough International Negotiation is one of the best sources for the analysis and teaching of negotiation in practice--especially given the challenges we face in the current environment.
This book's value is not at all limited to international diplomacy. As a professor teaching negotiation in a law school, I plan to assign significant portions to my students and to recommend it to legal professionals. I would send it to any friend who is a leader in an organization, thrust into complex, high stakes, hard to manage negotiations.
It is beautifully written, a pleasure to read.