Phases, transitions and interruptions: Modeling processes in multi-party negotiations

Mara Olekalns*, Jeanne M. Brett, Laurie R. Weingart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


This research proposes and evaluates hypotheses about patterns of communication in a multi-party, multi-issue negotiation. Data were from 36 four-person groups. We found that the majority of groups initiated negotiations with a distributive phase and ended with an integrative phase - strong support for Morley and Stephenson's (1979) rational model of negotiation. We identified transitions between both strategic orientations (integration, distribution) and strategic functions (action, information), but found that the first transition was more likely to result in a change of orientation than of function and that negotiators were more likely to change either orientation or function (single transition) than to change both aspects of the negotiation simultaneously (double transition). Finally, we determined that negotiators used process and closure strategies to interrupt distributive phases and redirect negotiations to an integrative phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-211
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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