WHY PARTIES REFUSE TO NEGOTIATE

Even when many of the preconditions for negotiation are present, parties often choose not to negotiate. Their reasons may include:

  1. Negotiating confers sense and legitimacy to an adversary, their goals and needs;
  2. Parties are fearful of being perceived as weak by a constituency, by their adversary or by the public;
  3. Discussions are premature. There may be other alternatives available–informal communications, small private meetings, policy revision, decree, elections;
  4. Meeting could provide false hope to an adversary or to one’s own constituency;
  5. Meeting could increase the visibility of the dispute;
  6. Negotiating could intensify the dispute;
  7. Parties lack confidence in the process;
  8. There is a lack of jurisdictional authority;
  9. Authoritative powers are unavailable or reluctant to meet;
  10. Meeting is too time-consuming;
  11. Parties need additional time to prepare;
  12. Parties want to avoid locking themselves into a position; there is still time to escalate demands and to intensify conflict to their advantage.
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