Turning Points in Enviornmental Negotiation: Dynamics, Roles, and Case-Related Factors




Hall, William

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In the more than three decades since the environmental movement began, environmental negotiation has emerged as a means for interested stakeholders to prevent and resolve conflict about natural resource use and environmental degradation. Most literature on environmental negotiation has taken the form of prescriptions for practice or descriptive case studies. Research has tended to emphasize the role of neutral third parties and outcomes (e.g., settlement rates). Only a few studies have compared large numbers of environmental negotiation cases across different dimensions, and systematic analysis of the negotiation process, especially the changes that occur in the process over time, has received little attention. Focusing on the dynamics of environmental negotiation, this dissertation explores three questions: First, what changes take place in the interactions among environmental negotiators as they progress toward agreement? Second, what influence do different xiii types of actors, such as parties, attorney representatives, government agencies, and mediators, have on the changes that occur? Third, to what extent do process dynamics vary according to case-specific factors, such as whether the negotiation was assisted or unassisted, the substantive issues at stake, the type of agreement reached, the number of parties, and the duration of the negotiation? These questions are addressed by applying an adapted version of Druckman’s (2001; 2004) turning points framework to analyze chronological events data from 29 environmental negotiation cases that concluded between 1976 and 2004 in three countries. This study’s contributions include the following: It identifies a typical pattern of change in environmental negotiation, particularly with respect to the beginning and end of such processes. Another finding is that neutral third parties (e.g., mediators) are as likely as other actors to precipitate parties’ movement toward agreement, whereas actors external to the negotiation (e.g., mediators and enforcers) collectively do precipitate movement toward agreement more often than actors internal to the negotiation (i.e., parties and their advocates). The research also highlights significant relationships between case-related factors and variables in the adapted turning points framework. The results are compared to those from related research on international and labor management negotiations and potential implications for practice are presented.



Environment, Conflict, Negotiation, Resolution, ADR, Mediation