In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Journals
  • Practical Negotiation
  • Analysis of International Negotiation
  • International Regimes and Multilateral Negotiation
  • Preventive Negotiation and Diplomacy
  • Negotiating in International Crises and Negotiating with Terrorists

International Relations International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Hall Gardner
  • LAST REVIEWED: 02 October 2018
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 August 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199743292-0006


International negotiation is often a process of power-based dialogue intended to achieve certain goals or ends, and which may or may not thoroughly resolve a particular dispute or disputes to the satisfaction of all parties. The goals of this bibliography are to familiarize the reader with books that seek to explore different forms of negotiation that aim at conflict management, conflict transformation, or else conflict resolution. International negotiation can be bilateral or multilateral, public or secret, and can involve differing forms of negotiation among states and non-state civilian actors, as well as with anti-state actors, such as individual terrorists and terrorist organizations. In addition, differing cultures may engage in negotiations with differing styles and for differing purposes, with differing expectations. Negotiation aimed at conflict management seeks to limit or minimize tensions and disputes as much as possible, without necessarily changing the status quo or the relations of power, values, and interests between the disputing parties. Negotiation aimed at conflict transformation seeks to go beyond the status quo to transform relations of disputed power, values, and interests in a more “positive” and less controversial direction although largely expecting a number of disputes and differences to remain. Conflict resolution is generally seen as an even longer-term process that attempts to find a common and complete agreement among the differing parties despite their differing values, interests, and power relationships.

General Overviews

A number of texts offer a broad and practical introduction to the subject of negotiation, both in the sense of “how to” negotiate but also how to engage in negotiations in very differing contexts. These works can be helpful in conflict management, transformation, or resolution between states, whether in terms of bilateral or multilateral negotiations. They can also be helpful in dealing with conflicting groups within a society. One can also not overlook the importance of maintaining appropriate interpersonal relationships among those who are actually engaging in the negotiating process. Asal, et al. 2005 offers a number of insights as to how to mediate during international crises. Berridge 2002 is one of the few books on traditional diplomacy that explores the negotiation process. Crocker, et al. 2004 discusses diplomatic bargaining strategies with respect to “forgotten” and “intractable” conflicts in arguing that such conflicts may be difficult or stubborn, but are not impossible to resolve or manage. Fischer and Ury 1991 is a classic “how-to” text explaining how to reach agreements. Fischer, et al. 1997 is a how-to book on problem-solving and conflict-management skills for diplomats and heads of state. Mnookin 2010 looks at ways in which negotiators have dealt with “rogue” leaderships in the past and in recent times. Mnookin and Susskind 1999 offers a framework for understanding the complexity and effects of negotiating on behalf of others. Watkins and Rosegrant 2001 identifies the four core tasks in which negotiators need to engage to achieve a “breakthrough.” Zartman and Berman 1992 draws on both theory and practice to present a model of the international negotiation process.

  • Asal, Victor, David Quinn, Jonathan Wilkenfeld, and Kathleen Young. Mediating International Crises. Routledge Advances in International Relations and Global Politics 34. London: Routledge, 2005.

    International crises can be destabilizing not only for the actors directly involved but also for an entire region, if not the whole international system. Identifies mechanisms for crisis prevention, management, and resolution and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of mediation by third parties. The latter involve facilitation communication between parties, formulation of possible agreements, and manipulation of the parties through sanctions or rewards. Analyzes instances of mediation in 20th-century international crises, supplemented with data derived from simulated negotiation settings.

  • Berridge, G. R. Diplomacy: Theory and Practice. 2d ed. New York: Palgrave, 2002.

    Examines traditional diplomacy as the conduct of relations between sovereign states through the medium of officials based at home or abroad. Examines the processes and procedures of diplomacy as an art and draws on evidence and examples from across the world. One of the few general textbooks on diplomacy that places a major emphasis on negotiation (the most important function of diplomats); also contains a key chapter on unconventional diplomatic methods.

  • Crocker, Chester A., Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela R. Aall. Taming Intractable Conflicts: Mediation in the Hardest Cases. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2004.

    A clearly written, excellent text that shows ways to build a negotiating strategy so as to deal with “intractable” conflicts. Part I discusses the conflict context and mediator’s environment. Part II shows ways to use diplomatic leverage in order to build a negotiating strategy; it provides a number of recipes to secure a negotiated settlement and make it last.

  • Fisher, Roger, and William L. Ury. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In. 2d ed. New York: Penguin, 1991.

    A classic text that offers a concise, step-by-step strategy for arriving at mutually acceptable agreements in differing kinds of disputes and conflicts—from those between parents and children to those between diplomats. Explains how to focus on interests, not positions; how to work together to invent options that will satisfy both parties; and how to negotiate successfully with people who are more powerful or who refuse to play by the rules or who resort to dirty tricks.

  • Fischer, Roger, Andrea Kupfer Schneider, Elizabeth Borgwardt, and Brian Ganson. Coping with International Conflict: A Systematic Approach to Influence in International Negotiation. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997.

    This introductory text combines the clear, concise, proven principles and practice of conflict management with the newest problem-solving approaches to international relations. The book seeks to teach problem-solving and conflict management skills to diplomats and heads of state involved in contentious international disputes based on the authors’ international consulting work.

  • Mnookin, Robert. Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010.

    Examines differing types of conflicts, including Winston Churchill’s decision to reject negotiations with Adolf Hitler and Nelson Mandela’s decision to initiate discussions with South Africa’s apartheid government. Suggests four general guidelines for determining the best course of action: systematically compare the cost-benefit ratios of negotiating or fighting, collect advice from others, tip the scales in favor of negotiation before fully committing, and do not permit moral intuition to override pragmatic assessment.

  • Mnookin, Robert H., and Lawrence Susskind, eds. Negotiating on Behalf of Others: Advice to Lawyers, Business Executives, Sports Agents, Diplomats, Politicians, and Everybody Else. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 1999.

    Offers a framework for understanding the complexity and effects of negotiating on behalf of others and explores how current negotiation theory can be modified to account for negotiation agents. Five major negotiation arenas are examined: labor-management relations, international diplomacy, professional sports, legislative process, and agency law. Concludes with suggestions for future research and specific advice for practitioners. Negotiation agents are broadly defined to include legislators, diplomats, salespersons, sports agents, and committee chairs—anyone who represents others in a negotiation.

  • Watkins, Michael, and Susan Rosegrant. Breakthrough International Negotiation: How Great Negotiators Transformed the World’s Toughest Post–Cold War Conflicts. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001.

    Identifies four core tasks in “breakthrough negotiations”: to diagnose the structure of the conflict; to identify barriers to resolution; to manage conflicts that arise within the process; and to build momentum with creative deal making. Four 20th-century conflicts help the authors illustrate the application of these tasks: US negotiations with North Korea over their nuclear armament, the ongoing Middle East crisis, the recent strife in Bosnia, and conflict in Iraq.

  • Zartman, I. William, and M. Berman. The Practical Negotiator. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.

    This text focuses primarily on international negotiations. The authors’ research has drawn upon three sources of data: the historical record, theories and experiments on bargaining behavior, and interviews with diplomats and UN ambassadors. Historical, experimental, and personal cases are used throughout the text to illustrate their theoretical model.

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