Methods of Conflict Resolution: Negotiation

  • Paul MeertsEmail author
Part of the United Nations University Series on Regionalism book series (UNSR, volume 17)


International negotiations as an instrument in conflict resolution are difficult to to grasp, both in theory and practice. Yet it is important to get to grips with this process, as negotiations between states and in international organizations are the lifeblood of the international body politic. The Charter of the United Nations, for obvious reasons, ranks negotiation as the foremost instrument in the peaceful settlement of inter-state conflicts. Scholars of international relations are still searching for methodologies and theories to explain outcomes of negotiations by the processes that produce them.

This chapter approaches the process of international negotiations from different angles, while applying a multi-faceted qualitiative analysis of case studies from the past and the present. It is hoped that a better understanding of negotiation as one of the main tools of conflict resolution will help to enhance the effectiveness of this process as an alternative to warfare. Words, after all, are cheaper than weapons. Still, negotiation is basically a struggle in the promotion and defence of state interests. It is war by peaceful means.

The central proposition of this chapter is that negotiations between states can only be a viable replacement of the use of violence if they are conducted within the framework of international regimes that set the rules and procedures for negotiation behaviour and mitigate lack of trust. International regimes may take the shape of international organizations, which can force countries to live up to their agreements. International negotiation processes may be taken as a ceaseless series of attempts to bring more order to the international system. If this system is eroded, negotiation will be a less effective alternative to the use of force in international relations.


International negotiation processes Practioners-researchers-trainers Parties-people-preferences Procedure-process-power Competing-conceding-coordinating Context-changes-challenges 

Further Readings

  1. Gaddis, J. L. (1986, Spring). The long peace: Elements of stability in the postwar international system. International Security, 10(4), 99–142, MIT press.Google Scholar
  2. Gross-Stein, J. (2013). Building politics into psychology: The misperception of threat. In L. Huddy, D. O. Sears, & J. S. Levy (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of political psychology (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Jervis, R. (1976). Perception and misperception in international politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Jervis, R. (1978). Cooperation under security dilemma. World Politics, 30(2, January), 167–214, Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Jervis, R. (1988, Spring). War and misperception. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 18(4), The origin and prevention of major wars, pp. 675–700, MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Keohane, R. O., & Nye, J. S. (1997). Interdependence in world politics. In G. T. Crane & A. Amawi (Eds.), The theoretical evolution of international political economy. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Kissinger, H. (1994). Diplomacy. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  8. Mearsheimer, J. (2010). The gathering storm: China’s challenge to US power in Asia. The Chinese Journal of International Politics, 3, 381–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Morgenthau, H. (1978). Six principles of political realism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  10. Ratner, S. (1988, Spring). International law: The trials of global norms. Foreign policy no. 110, Special edition: Frontiers of knowledge, pp. 65–80.Google Scholar
  11. Schweller, R. (1993). Tripolarity and the Second World War. International Studies Quarterly, 37(1, March), 73–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Snyder, J., & Christensen, T. J. (1990, Spring). Chain gangs and passed bucks. International Organization, 44(2), 137–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Van Evera, S. (1985). Why cooperation failed in 1914. World Politics, 38(1, October), 80–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar


  1. Albin, C., & Druckman, D. (2012). Equality matters: Negotiating an end to civil wars. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 00(0), 1–28.Google Scholar
  2. Axelrod, R. (1984). The evolution of cooperation. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  3. Berridge, G. R. (1998). Harold Nicolson and diplomatic theory: Between old diplomacy and new. Leicester: Diplomatic Studies Programme, Discussion papers, 44.Google Scholar
  4. Berridge, G. R. (1999). Machiavelli on diplomacy. Leicester: Diplomatic Studies Programme, Discussion papers, 50.Google Scholar
  5. Cohen, R., & Meerts, P. W. (2008). The evolution of international negotiation processes. International Negotiation, 13(2), 149–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Colson, A. (2008). The ambassador, between light and shade: The emergence of secrecy as a norm in international negotiation. International Negotiation, 13(2), 179–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Colson, A., Druckman, D., & Donohue, W. (2013). Foreword. In A. Colson, D. Druckman, & W. Donohue (Eds.), International negotiation: Foundations, models, and philosophies. Christophe Dupont (pp. 225–232). Dordrecht: Republic of Letters.Google Scholar
  8. Davies, N. (1996). Europe, a history. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. de Callières, F. (1983). The art of diplomacy (English translation). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.Google Scholar
  10. Depledge, J. (2005). The organization of global negotiations: Constructing the climate change regime. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  11. Druckman, D. (2013). Frameworks, cases, and risks: Dupont’s legacy. In A. Colson, D. Druckman, & W. Donehue (Eds.), International negotiation: Foundations, models and philosophies. Dordrecht: Republic of Letters.Google Scholar
  12. Dupont, C. (2003). History and coalitions: The Vienna congress (1814–1815). International Negotiation, 8(1), 169–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dupont, C., & Faure, G. O. (1991). The negotiation process. In V. A. Kremenyuk (Ed.), International negotiation (pp. 40–57). San Francisco/Oxford: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  14. Faure, G. O. (2003). How people negotiate. Dordrecht/London/Boston: Kluwer Academi Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Flemish Foreign Affairs Council. (2013). Een Nieuwe Vlaamse Diplomatie in een Veranderende Wereld: naar een Efficiënt Buitenlands Netwerk. Brussels: Jan Wouters.Google Scholar
  16. Goodfield, B. A. (1999). Insight and action: The role of the unconscious in crisis from the personal to international levels. London: University of Westminster Press.Google Scholar
  17. Habeeb, W. M. (1988). Power and tactics in international negotiation. Baltimore/London: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hanschel, D. (2005). Assessing institutional effectiveness: Lessons drawn from the regimes on ozone depletion and climate change. In E. Riedel & D. Hanschel (Eds.), Institutionalization of international negotiation systems: Theoretical concepts and practical insights. Mannheim: Universität Mannheim, 24.Google Scholar
  19. Iklé, F. (1964). How nations negotiate. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  20. Janush, H. (2016). The breakdown of international negotiations: Social conflicts, audience costs, and reputation in two-level games. International Negotiation, 21(3), 495–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jönsson, C. (2001). Conceptualizations of the negotiation process. Canterbury: Paper prepared for the 4th Pan-European International Relations Conference, section 33.Google Scholar
  22. Jönsson, C., & Hall, M. (2005). Essence of diplomacy. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kaplan, M. (2010). Commercieel onderhandelen: een transdisciplinaire aanpak. Universiteit van Leiden, dissertatie.Google Scholar
  24. Kissinger, H. A. (1969). The Vietnam negotiations. Foreign Affairs, 47(1), 211–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Klabbers, H. G. (Ed.). (1988). Simulation-gaming. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  26. Koskenniemi, M. (2011). Histories of international law: Dealing with eurocentrism. Inaugural Address, University of Utrecht, Faculty of Humanities.Google Scholar
  27. Krasner, S. D. (1983). Structural causes and regime consequences: Regimes as intervening variables’ and ‘regimes and the limits of realism. In S. D. Krasner (Ed.), International regimes. Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Lewicki, R. J., Litterer, J. A., Minton, J. W., & Saunders, D. M. (1994). Negotiation (2nd ed.). Homewood/Boston/Sydney: Irwin.Google Scholar
  29. Meerts, P. W. (2009). Training and education. In J. Bercovitch, V. A. Kremenyuk, & I. W. Zartman (Eds.), The sage handbook of conflict resolution (pp. 645–668). Thousand Oaks: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Meerts, P. W. (2012). Simulare Necesse Est. Simulation & Gaming, XX(X), 1–6.Google Scholar
  31. Meerts, P. W. (2013). Public opinion and negotiation: The dilemma of openness and secretiveness. PINpoints Network Perspectives, 39, 22–24.Google Scholar
  32. Meerts, P. W. (2014). Conference diplomacy. In C. M. Constantinou, P. Kerr, & P. Sharp (Eds.), The sage handbook of diplomacy (pp. 499–509). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Nicolson, H. (1963). Diplomacy. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Perlot, W. (2014). Visit to the 26th session of the human rights council. PINpoints Network Newsletter, 40, 46–47.Google Scholar
  35. Raiffa, H. (1982). The art and science of negotiation. Cambridge, MA/London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Ray, J. L. (1998). Global politics. Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  37. Rosoux, V. (2013). Secrecy and international negotiation. PINpoints Network Perspectives, 39, 18–20.Google Scholar
  38. Rubin, J. (1991). Psychological approach. In V. A. Kremenyuk (Ed.), International negotiation (pp. 216–288). San Francisco/Oxford: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  39. Spector, B. I. (2003). Deconstructing the negotiations of regime dynamics. In B. I. Spector & I. W. Zartman (Eds.), Getting it done: Post-agreement negotiation and international regimes (pp. 51–87). Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press.Google Scholar
  40. Spector, B. I., & Zartman, I. W. (2003). Regimes in motion: Analysis and lessons learned. In I. B. Spector & I. W. Zartman (Eds.), Getting it done: Post-agreement negotiation and international regimes (pp. 271–292). Washington, DC: United Nations Institute of Peace Press.Google Scholar
  41. Terris, L. G., & Tykocinski, O. E. (2014). Inaction inertia in international negotiations: The consequences of missed opportunities. British Journal of Political Science, 46(3, July), 1–17.Google Scholar
  42. van Staden, A. (1987). De heerschappij van staten: het perspectief van het realisme. In R. B. Soetendorp & A. van Staden (Eds.), Internationale betrekkingen in perspectief. Utrecht: Uitgeverij Het Spectrum.Google Scholar
  43. von Clausewitz, C. (1984). On war (M. Howard & P. Paret, Ed. & Trans.). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Westerman, F. (2016). Een Woord Een Woord. Amsterdam/Antwerpen, De Bezige Bij, 121.Google Scholar
  45. Young, O. R. (1989). The politics of international regime formation: Managing natural resources and the environment. International Organization, 43(3), 349–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zartman, I. W. (2003). Negotiating the rapids: The dynamics of regime formation. In B. I. Spector & I. W. Zartman (Eds.), Getting it done: Post-agreement negotiation and international regimes (pp. 13–50). Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press.Google Scholar
  47. Zartman, I. W. (2005). Concepts: Mutual Enticing Opportunity (MEO). PINpoints Network Newsletter. Laxenburg: IIASA, 24, 1–4.Google Scholar
  48. Zartman, I. W., & Kremenyuk, V. A. (Eds.). (2005). Peace versus justice: Negotiating forward- and backward-looking outcomes (pp. 35–71). Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  49. Zartman, I. W., & Rubin, J. Z. (Eds.). (2000). Power and negotiation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’The HagueThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations