- Modeling Negotiation Using "Narrative Grammar": Exploring the Evolution of Meaning in a Simulated Negotiation
- Group Decision and Negotiation
- Volume | Issue number
- 23 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Negotiation research, drawing on rational choice theory, provides a wealth of findings about how people negotiate successfully, as well as descriptions of some of the many pitfalls associated to negotiation failures. Building on narrative theory, this paper attempts to expand the theoretical base of negotiation in an effort to address the meaning making processes that structure negotiation. Drawing on Greimas’s (Diacritics 7(1):23-40, 1977) notion of "narrative grammar," we argue that negotiation is a process that relies on a relatively limited set of narrative syntactical forms that structure the negotiation process. We conduct a simulation of a negotiation game and ask participants to storyboard their experience of the negotiation process. The use and evolution of narratives are identified via the storyboards, as well as participants’ accounts of those storyboards. While the number of participants in the simulation is very small, limiting the nature of the claims that can be made, our analysis suggests regularities in the use of narrative syntax as well as in patterns of escalation and transformation. The study offers a new method for the analysis of negotiation, i.e., narrative syntax, aimed at understanding the dynamics of narrative processes in negotiation.
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