Negotiations In Combat Areas: The Effects Of Role Clarity And Concern For Members Of The Local Population

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Soldier's Negotiations in Combat Areas: The Effects of Role Clarity and Concern For Members of the Local Population
Orly Ben-Yoav Nobel, Donald Campbell, Sean T. Hannah and Brian Wortinger
International Journal of Conflict Management, 2010
DOI: 10.1108/10444061011037413
Summarized By
This scholarly, peer-reviewed article was authored by current and former staff members of the United States Military Academy at WestPoint, New York. The article focuses on the level of importance related to both "role clarity" and needs of opposing parties during the negotiations process, with specific attention given to application during military operations.
Literature Review
The authors cited several social science journals and other publications during their authoring of this journal article. The authors discuss the evolution of United States military operations over the past few decades and how the inclusion of negotiations has become increasingly important. The use of negotiations during military operations can be found during operations related to intelligence gathering, civil administration, and peacekeeping in hostile regions throughout the world (p. 202). The authors discuss the current need for the modern soldier to utilize negotiation tactics (in addition to traditional war fighting, as some conflicts cannot be handled with words alone) to successfully build relationships and agreements between the United States and local groups (p. 203). In addition, United States military personnel are increasingly finding themselves to be the mediators between rivaling groups within a region (i.e. tribes in Afghanistan). Ineffective understanding and use of the negotiations process can literally mean the difference between life and death in wartime situations. For example, a soldier attempting to mediate an agreement between two rival tribes will ultimately fail (and possibly be killed) if they fail to differentiate between values and preferences when trying to figure out settlement ranges (i.e. Schatzki's L.A.R and M.S.P concepts) for each of the parties involved. Negotiations between parties with inflexible religious viewpoints can become emotionally charged quickly, leading to (in a warzone) a rapid escalation to violence.
The authors provide an explanation of two types of negotiation models: Distributive Bargaining and Integrative Bargaining. The authors describe the two methods as follows:
Distributive Bargaining: The idea that negotiations are an adversarial, win-lose situation. This type of bargaining is better suited for aggressive situations where no future negotiations are likely to take place (i.e. one-time deals)(p. 203). Integrative Bargaining: The idea that negotiations should be a win-win, and both sides assist each other to look for ways to fulfill mutual interests. This type of bargaining is better suited for close, continuing relationships where trust is important (p. 203).
The authors discuss their belief that Integrative Bargaining is the more useful of the two in situations where building ongoing relationships between the United States military and local tribes, as well as in proctoring deals (mediating) between rival factions (pp. 203-204). This is in contrast to what most people probably view as the role of the United States military as (aggressive fighters using superior power and strength to dominate). By utilizing carefully crafted negotiations strategies that aim for mutual gain, conflicts can be avoided and both sides can come close to reaching their maximum supportable position.
The authors point out that the Dual Concerns Model is one tool that can be utilized in examining the effectiveness of negotiations in relation to the level of clarity that is present in the process (p. 204). To summarize, the authors propose that the more clarity provided by each side, the better the outcomes will be in regards to developing and implementing agreements that are beneficial