The Culture of Negotiation: Trumpian Imprints on the Future?


This short essay is part of a special issue of the Negotiation Journal in which over 30 negotiation scholars and practitioners write about various aspects of negotiation theory and practice in the Trump era. This contribution (in the final section of the issue — Negotiation for Future Generations) reflects on how cultural memes, and both myths and actual practices of President Trump’s negotiations may or may not have significant impact on the tensions we teach between old school “hard” bargaining and more multi-lateral, integrative, and problem solving approaches. The essay reports some evidence of empirical effects in the short term, but cautions that to assess what the actual “imprints” on the field will be we should take a longer view of what is actually successful. So far, Trump’s “bullying” has not proven particularly effective in either domestic or international spheres. The essay concludes with a hope we will continue to employ problem solving, value creating modes of negotiation, with a plea that those of us who work in the field must also create our own cultural memes and success stories of more effective, creative and collaborative needs and interest based negotiations so that an endangered planet might still flourish. The whole issue deserves serious attention for different takes, from different fields, of how Trumpian tropes may or may not affect our negotiation practices.

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