Front stage, backstage : the dramatic structure of labor negotiations /
Raymond A. Friedman.
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1994.
xi, 257 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
More Details
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1994.
contents note
Introduction -- The social logic of the negotiation ritual -- Defining groups: whose side are you on? -- Defining roles: acting as representative -- Taking charge: acting like a lead bargainer -- Front stage and backstage -- The logic and limits of the traditional process -- Managing around roles: New Bell Publishing -- Ignoring roles and rituals: International Harester -- Reshaping roles and rituals: Midwestern University -- Rejecting mutual gains bargaining: Texas Bell and Western Technologies -- The logic and limits of change.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [239]-247) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1994-10:
To the unacquainted, labor negotiations may appear to be a fairly simple and straightforward process of give, take, and stalemate. In reality, it is a complex, multilayered, multifaceted undertaking. Friedman (Harvard Business School) underscores this point in his insightful book. Unlike the many volumes that emphasize the mechanical aspects of negotiations, Friedman's book focuses on the social processes that are at the heart of these encounters. Using insights gleaned from hundreds of hours spent observing collective bargaining sessions, the author addresses the human interaction that gives the process its complexity. Using the theater as a metaphor for the negotiations process, Friedman constructs a theoretical framework that advances the reader's understanding of these interactions. This book adds flesh to the too-often bare-bones examinations found in most works on this subject. Well-written case studies help bring the process to life. Recommended for all readers. P. F. Clark; Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus
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Choice, October 1994
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Main Description
Raymond Friedman approaches labor negotiations with a conviction that negotiators are situated in a social network that greatly influences bargaining styles. In this carefully detailed and rigorous study of the social processes of labor negotiations, he uncovers the pressures and motivations felt by negotiators, showing why the bargaining process persists largely in its traditional form despite frequent calls for change. Friedman first focuses on the social structure of labor negotiations and the logic of the traditional negotiation process. He then looks at cases where the traditional rituals of negotiation were set aside and new forms emerged and, in the light of these examples, addresses the options for and obstacles to change. In an unusual twist Friedman describes the persistence of the traditional negotiation process by developing a dramaturgical theory in which negotiators are seen as actors who perform for teammates, constituents, and opponents. They try to convince others of their skill, loyalty, and dedication, while others expect them to play the role of opponent, representative, and leader. Friedman shows that the front-stage drama fulfills these needs and expectations, while backstage contacts between lead bargainers allow the two sides to communicate in private. The traditional labor negotiation process, he reveals, is an integrated system that allows for both private understanding and public conflict. Current efforts to change how labor and management negotiate are limited by the persistence of these roles, and are bound to fail if they do not account for the benefits as well as the flaws of the traditional rituals of negotiation. For negotiation scholars, Friedman's perspective provides an alternative to the rational-actor models that dominate the field; his dramaturgical theory is applicable to any negotiations done by groups, especially ones that face political pressures from constituents. For labor scholars, this is the first integrated theory of the negotiation process since Walton and McKersies's classic text, and one that helps unite the four elements of their model. For sociologists, the book provides an example of how a dramaturgical perspective can be used to explain the logic and persistence of a social institution. And practitioners will appreciate this explanation of why change is so difficult. Organization Studies series
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
The Social Logic of the Negotiation Ritual
Defining Groups: Whose Side Are You On?p. 27
Defining Roles: Acting as Representativep. 47
Taking Charge: Acting Like a Lead Bargainerp. 69
Front Stage and Backstagep. 85
The Logic and Limits of the Traditional Processp. 113
Transforming Roles and Rituals: Case Studies in Change
Managing around Roles: New Bell Publishingp. 135
Ignoring Roles and Rituals: International Harvesterp. 157
Reshaping Roles and Rituals: Midwestern Universityp. 177
Rejecting Mutual Gains Bargaining: Texas Bell and Western Technologiesp. 207
The Logic and Limits of Changep. 229
Referencesp. 239
Indexp. 249
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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