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Understanding Humanitarian Negotiation: Five Analytical Approaches


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About this resource

Resource type:Research, reports and studies
Keywords:Access and Negotiation, Conflict, violence & peace, Research methodology
Agency:ATHA - Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action, Harvard University, SIDA - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Author(s):Grace, R. et al.
Date published:November 2015

This briefing note aims to support the humanitarian sector’s efforts to apply a deeper level of analytical and strategic thinking to humanitarian negotiation. Toward this end, it provides an overview of how the rich body of literature focused on negotiations in other contexts—political, commercial, and legal settings, for example—can inform our understanding of humanitarian negotiation. In particular, this briefing note focuses on five analytical approaches to negotiation: (1) distributive, or power-based, negotiation; (2) integrative, or interest-based, negotiation; (3) basic human needs-based negotiation; (4) the behavioral approach to negotiation; and (5) culture as a factor in negotiation. By examining humanitarian negotiation through the lens of these five approaches, this briefing note seeks to shed light on the potential factors that drive humanitarian negotiations and to promote further scholarly analysis and professional reflection in this field.

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