Research Summary

Winning Coalitions

by James K. Sebenius


James K. Sebenius is examining the most effective ways to generate and sustain cooperation among a corporation’s many stakeholders. As the number of stakeholders grows, and management actions more often involve players outside the traditional chain of command and organizational boundaries, corporate governance and general management must increasingly take into account the interests and influence of multiple stakeholders. At the public and international levels, effective action almost always involves many players, whether in the financial, economic, or environmental realm-even in the realm of security (e.g., the Gulf War coalition). In these tasks, success involves building and sustaining 'winning coalitions,' in part by dealing with 'blocking coalitions.' Sebenius has developed a series of cases and papers on the fundamental issues of coalitional assessment and action. Using concepts drawn from negotiation analysis, he seeks to discover how to build and sustain winning coalitions and deal successfully with would-be blocking coalitions through the processes of coalition-building and coalition-breaking, in particular, by sequencing choices.