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Commentary: The Shifting Role of Agents in Interest–Based Negotiations
Commentary: The shifting role of agents in interest–based negotiations
Lawrence E.Susskind

In “Toward a Theory of Representation in Negotiation,” Joel Cutcher–Gershenfeld and Michael Watkins argue that “where representatives attempt interest–based bargaining without complete understanding by constituents, they risk having their ‘creative’ agreements rejected. When they seek the mandate to attempt interest–based bargaining, they risk rejection” (p. 48). If they are right, this is cause for serious concern. Those of us trying to encourage individuals and organizations to shift away from positional bargaining toward a “mutual gains approach” to negotiation would have to think twice about pushing in this direction when agents or representatives are involved.

Cutcher–Gershenfeld and Watkins suggest that representatives or agents face three dilemmas, and these are ...

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