Nadler et al. - Four Models for Learning Negotiation Skills

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

Based on a literature review, Nadler, Thompson and Van Boven (2003) uncovered the four most common methods described for learning negotiation skills. The survey covered both explicit instruction and experiential/self-taught learning accounts:

P – Analogical Learning: Transfer and adapt strategies across similar situations.
A – Didactic Learning: Explicit instruction based on principles and their application.
E – Information Revelation: Strategic readjustment after gaining info about other party, learning by discovery.
I – Observational Learning: Modeling or learning by imitation.

These researchers conducted an experiment to see how these methods compared. In the interactive domain of negotiation, it is perhaps unsurprising that their observational learning group of subjects showed the largest increase in negotiation performance. The learning seems to have been largely tacit though, as they were the least articulate in describing the principles that had helped them improve. Analogical learning was also effective, and related to the task schemas that subjects developed in undertaking specific negotiations. Reported task schemas did not relate to performance for the other styles.

1. Nadler, J., Thompson, L., & Van Boven, L. (2003). “Learning Negotiation Skills: Four Models of Knowledge Creation and Transfer.” Management Science, 49(4), 529 540.
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