Metatheory and Friendly Competition in Theory Growth: The Case of Power Processes in Bargaining


[Excerpt] This paper analyzes the theoretical development taking place in a program of research on power processes in bargaining (see Bacharach and Lawler 1976, 1980, 1981a, 1981b; Lawler and Bacharach 1976, 1979, 1987; Lawler, Ford, and Blegen 1988; Lawler and Yoon 1990; Lawler 1986, 1992). The theoretical program takes as its starting point a situation where individuals, groups, organizations, or even societies with conflicting interests voluntarily enter into explicit bargaining. Explicit (as opposed to tacit) bargaining assumes the mutual acknowledgment of negotiations, conflicting issues along which compromise is possible, and open lines of communication through which parties can exchange offers and counteroffers in an attempt to resolve the issues that divide them (Schelling 1960; Bacharach and Lawler 1980; Boyle and Lawler 1991). The scope of this theoretical research program assumes further that the parties have a power capability, that they use this power tactically in an effort to achieve desired outcomes, and that they strive for a favorable position during the bargaining process

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