Concurrently Linked Negotiations and Negotiation Theory: An Examination of Bilateral Trade Negotiations in Australia, Singapore and the United States
Although negotiation theory provides substantial understanding about negotiation process and outcome, it does not adequately consider the social context in which a negotiation is embedded. When the element of time is added to social context it appears as if a specific negotiation becomes surrounded by a flow-of-events. I argue that this flow-of-events, and hence context, may be more clearly understood through the application of linkage theory. This paper reviews the literature on linkage theory and proposes a three-part temporal model of negotiation linkage: simultaneous links, concurrent links and consecutive links. I apply this model and a role-based framework (link-pin party and linked party) in examining case-study data from two discrete negotiations that are concurrently linked in time: Singapore - Australia free-trade negotiations (SAFTA: 11/2000 - 2/2003) and United States - Singapore free-trade negotiations (USSFTA: 11/2000 - 5/2003). Case analysis facilitates development of propositions and guidance that can assist in (1) determining the direction of influence in linked negotiations, (2) managing opportunistic behaviour in linked negotiations, (3) managing negotiation strategy and (4) gaining negotiation efficiency opportunity through linkage. Following an examination of the structural characteristics that appear to determine case-study linkage dynamics, this paper builds a four-part structural framework that identifies choices and consequences that parties confront in concurrently linked negotiations. The paper concludes by outlining a program of research based on a temporal model of negotiation linkage.
IACM 18th Annual Conference