Strategy and Collective Bargaining Negotiation

Strategy and Collective Bargaining Negotiation

Strategy and Collective Bargaining Negotiation

Strategy and Collective Bargaining Negotiation


This is an inquiry into the tactics and strategy of conflict (and cooperation) as they relate to collective bargaining negotiation. At the level of systematic analysis, this is not a well developed field. Therefore, some prefatory remarks are essential.

Research in collective bargaining (and in industrial relations more generally) tends toward fragmentation--essentially descriptive accounts which lack sharp focus. Here I am attempting to develop at least some of the major components of a more systematic approach to the subject.

The important procedural features of collective bargaining negotiation, common to many instances of such negotiation, are comprehended under the rubric "rules for play" of the negotiation game. To so comprehend these features makes it necessary to explain what otherwise might be taken for granted. Operating within the rules-for-play framework, the parties resort to "tactics" in the process of negotiation. I have developed a classification-of-tactics scheme and tried to distinguish various tactical entities. I have then gone on to give particular attention to the later stages of negotiation and the agreement process.

Much of the conceptual development needed is essentially taxonomical.

On the theoretical side, suggestions have been incorporated from disparate sources. While not usefully considered a "game" in the technical sense, collective bargaining is a game-like interaction involving strategy. Hence the potential contributions of game theory to the analysis of collective bargaining negotiation have been considered. Particular attention has been given to the negotiation process in terms of intrapersonal conflict-- choice theory as developed in psychology. In addition, theoretical suggestions have been taken from bargaining theory based upon utility theory and from studies focused on collective bargaining.

Although considerable emphasis has been placed throughout on theoretical analysis, this study is nevertheless empirically oriented. This is because the focus throughout is upon the particular set of institutional ar-

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