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Paper info: Transactional and Interactional Perspectives on Business Negotiation


Transactional and Interactional Perspectives on Business Negotiation


Jens Eklinder-Frick and Lars-Johan Åge

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 32nd IMP-conference in Cape Town in 2016.


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A transactional perspective has historically dominated the business negotiation literature. Assumptions which arise from this transactional perspective includes the notion that (1) business negotiations are a linear process that follows episodic or stage models, (2) that business negotiations are geared towards an outcome in the form of a one-time, (3) that the value of the negotiation outcome are often expressed in economic or mathematical terms, (4) that negotiation research focus on the single negotiator or negotiation in a dyad and (5) that the research historically has viewed negotiation as a “zero-sum” game. Viewed from the interaction approach within the IMP perspective, there is good reason to challenge these five assumptions within the business negotiation literature. The purpose of this conceptual paper is to analyse and discuss the differences in the way that central aspects of business negotiations such as the process, outcome, value creation, involved actors and resource allocation are conceptualized in both the business negotiation and in the IMP literature. The conceptual deliberation concludes that business negotiation research thus far has tended to focus on individual skills and on the examination of isolated dyadic interactions. Also, business negotiation research largely ignores the fact that the nature of industrial business is predominantly relationship-based, rather than transactional. Introducing the relational perspective of The IMP tradition into business negotiation research would thus help in furthering the critique already posed within this stream of research towards its transactional, linear and dyadic focus. Viewing business negotiation through an interactional perspective will further managers understanding of the negotiation process