Author Archives: Jimena RAMIREZ

ICoN Research Seminar- Matthew Cronin

Matthew Cronin (George Mason University Business School) will give a research seminar entitled “The role of perspective change in Creativity”. The seminar will be held in English.

Hostage negotiations: to negotiate for what objective?

Adrian BORBELY, IESEG School of Management

After the tragic terror attacks that shook Paris on November 13, 2015, claiming the lives of 130 people, I felt the need to put on paper a negotiation vision of what happened at Bataclan, getting ready for the question our students may ask when returning to school the following week: should we negotiate with terrorists, hostage takers and Evil in general? Actually, this is a question my future colleagues at IESEG asked me when we first met.

My answer is generally “yes, we should negotiate with terrorists”, more specifically well-trained professionals should. These are dangerous, very high stakes negotiations, with both parties holding each other at gun point. The real question is what objective we should pursue. I think the objective is dual: finding an agreement that preserves our interests (preserving human lives) or destroying the enemy’s ability to do harm. Prioritizing these objectives requires a careful diagnosis of the dangerousness of the situation and the terrorists’ psychological state. Timing is off essence, of course: for both sides, this is a power game, and time serves to prepare one’s alternative: the terrorists getting closer to their objective, and the police preparing the assault.

On that Friday night, the police had to go in rapidly. They attempted negotiation but quickly realized no common ground was possible, and time was playing against the civilians present. What does it mean, when translated into negotiation theory?

  1. When interests are diametrically opposed, aggressive moves may be called for and need to be expected. Perpetrators want more casualties, police wants fewer. No other interests are at play, since the hostage takers do not care about their own lives. With no zone of possible agreement in sight, one needs to be ready to go with their best alternative.
  2. Negotiation takes time. This time may be useful to establish communication, learn about one another, build trust and identify an exit strategy that works for both parties. But as time may also serve the perpetrators to get closer to their objective, negotiation may bear high costs.
  3. To negotiate, people need to rely on a common base of shared values. When the opponent just aims for sheer destruction, functions like an apocalyptic knight that aims to plant death, based on hatred and nonsense, annihilation may be the only option. No matter how good a negotiator is, (s)he may want to keep a finger on his/her best alternative.
  4. With dangerous terrorists, establishing trust often aims, for both sides, to better deceive. Police may negotiate for the sole objective to catch terrorists off guard and take them out. This requires the upper hand on the intelligence scale, something we often presume to have (and sometimes we are wrong).
  5. Finally, negotiating requires rational behavior. No, we cannot negotiate with people with such an erratic behavior that no coherent process (from introduction to deal implementation) may take place.

In these situations, like in few others, no negotiation may be better than failed negotiations.

The science of negotiating art: Negotiation research applied to museums

How to negotiate an art piece? The present study focuses on understanding the nature of negotiation in the context of exhibitions. The parties involved are museums, art dealers and collectors. We derive our hypotheses from negotiation strategy (Walton and McKersie, 1965) and cultural differences on negotiation (Aslani et al., 2013). We present preliminary data from 5 interviews with museum directors and exhibition commissioners in France and the United States. Our results show that despite the fact that museums have different decision makers depending on their structure, loans are facilitated by expected reciprocity. However, contrary to our theoretical expectations from positional negotiation, the arguments of demand of each piece facilitate decision making s about its loan. Moreover, power imbalance dominates in the relationship between art dealers and museums, such that private funds are bigger than those of national art institutions. Finally, our results show that when it comes to donations, identifying the collectors values and needs ease the interchange. Negotiation between museums is relational and we discuss the elements that facilitate those relationships. Implications for practice will be advanced at the conference
Jimena Ramirez Marin and Anne Chounavelle
IESEG School of Management (France)

Relationship Recovery

In spite of the acknowledged importance of long-term relationships, there remains a lack of studies on troubled relationships. In such situations, recovery efforts are needed to continue the important relationships. Using interview data on 28 relationships a process model of business relationship recovery is developed that includes the start of the process, the actions during the process and the outcome(s). The second phase of the project included scale validation for the measurement of Relationship Recovery and inclusion of the scale in a questionnaire containing relational variables to be tested in a b2b marketing context.

Cooperative decision-making and conflict of interest in heterogeneous groups

Teamwork has gained increasing importance in organizations for both decision-making and production. Strategic processes within and between organizations – such as M&A’s, joint ventures and other internal organizational restructurings – result in the formation of newly composed teams. In these heterogeneous teams, (at least) two subgroups arise. Team members are confronted with a social dilemma: continue to act in their self-interest or that of their former team or act in everyone’s interest and contribute to the newly composed team? Free-riding always results in more individual profit on the short-term, regardless of other group members’ choices, but all team members and the organization as a whole are better off if all members cooperate. This research identifies antecedents of cooperative decision-making in such heterogeneous teams.

Aim is to also investigate how the findings on cooperation in faultline-based heterogeneous groups can be implicated on representative negotiations. Inter-group negotiations frequently involve social dilemmas for the representatives: when the constituency consists of subgroups separated by faultlines (coalitions), the representatives need to simultaneously take personal, subgroup, and constituency interests into account, when negotiating with the counterpart.