Combating Adversarialism in Negotiation: An Evolution Towards More Therapeutic Approaches
Andrew F. Amendola*
Volume 4 Issue 3 (2011)
Many negotiators—as well as their clients—hold fast to the traditional, adversarial approach to negotiation as necessary to achieve maximum gains while avoiding exploitation by their opponent. This approach has been proven ineffective in many negotiation situations and may contribute to adverse effects to the psychological well-being of both the practitioner and the client. This paper advocates the application of therapeutic jurisprudence principles to the techniques of negotiation, much in line with the gradual evolution the field of negotiation has experienced towards minimizing adversarial methods. A therapeutic jurisprudence approach involves a more collaborative process integrating aspects of the social sciences to more effectively address the needs of the client, maximize the bargaining zone, and reduce inimical aspects of conflict resolution. This process attains greater overall gains and increased satisfaction with the process and results achieved. While many of the examples herein focus on the American legal system, the concept of therapeutic jurisprudence is a universal one which could offer significant benefits to any adversarial-based system, including that of India.