Learning from Success and Failure

In: International Negotiation
Michael J. Butler Department of Political Science, Clark University 950 Main Street, Jefferson Academic Center 414, Worcester, MA 01610 USA

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The various contributions to this special issue reveal three overarching insights with respect to negotiation and mediation in the hard(est) cases: one, the discrepancy between securing negotiated or mediated agreements and actual solutions; two, the conditioning effects of structural and contextual considerations on the bargaining process; and three, the divergent ends to which negotiation and mediation can be (and are) directed. Ultimately, the preceding analyses suggest that, when it comes to the hard(est) cases, negotiation and mediation are best thought of as tools within a larger toolkit, which have a markedly better chance of succeeding when they are employed in an environment amenable to them. On their own, negotiation and mediation cannot be effective in cultivating ripeness in such cases. Rather, the challenge at hand is to employ other means to transform the context enveloping the bargaining environment in ways that are conducive to negotiated and mediated solutions.

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