Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Desire to bargain and negotiation success: lessons about the need to negotiate from six hydropower disputes

November 1, 1998

We investigated the notion that successful negotiations require that all parties to the dispute must have a desire to bargain. This desire is most likely to be present when the dispute exhibits ripeness and each party believes a bargained solution is the most cost-effective way to resolve differences. Structured interviews of participants in six Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hydropower licensing consultations were conducted to determine the level of need to negotiate for each party. The findings indicate that a need to negotiate is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for success. Several factors were associated with a need to negotiate: a weak BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement); a salient issue; participants’ sense of efficacy; a sense of inevitability; professional roles encouraging negotiation; and disputes about facts as opposed to disputes about values. Participants’ need to negotiate fluctuated throughout the process and intensified when questions were ripe: i.e., critical issues were debated or the regulatory process required action.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1998
Title Desire to bargain and negotiation success: lessons about the need to negotiate from six hydropower disputes
DOI 10.1007/s002679900155
Authors Nina Burkardt, Berton Lee Lamb, Jonathan G. Taylor
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Management
Series Number
Index ID 70174712
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center