Research Summary

Negotiating Campaigns

by James K. Sebenius


While most negotiation research focuses on specific transactions, many important negotiating situations can better be understood as elements of larger "campaigns."  By this term, I mean a series of related negotiations and other away-from-the-table moves, carefully orchestrated to build toward success in an ultimate "target" negotiation.  Examples of negotiation campaigns include very large-scale sales, efforts to gain approval among many internal parties for major initiatives, as well as actions to build support and secure permission for a controversial project such as a dam, pipeline, or real estate development.  Through field investigation and analytic modeling, this line of research investigates the consequences of shifting the unit of analysis from the individual negotiation to the campaign.  Further, it seeks to characterize and define negotiating campaigns more precisely, crystallize the most important questions about them (e.g., inter-related questions of sequencing and framing), and develop grounded diagnostic and prescriptive theory.