What You Bring to the Table: Transference and Countertransference in the Negotiation Process

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Abstract

While there is a large body of work devoted to interpersonal, intragroup, and intergroup conflict, little has been written about the dimension of the intrapersonal or intrapsychic conflict in the negotiating process. This article introduces the psychodynamic concepts of transference and countertransference and describes how these phenomena play a role in the negotiation situation. By describing the negative transference and how this gives rise to resistance, the author presents an explanation of what works and why in negotiating. The model is then applied to different current models of negotiation, and considers the implications for the organization of the negotiating team and team leadership. With a knowledge of transference and countertransference, the psychodynamic model may provide another perspective that can be used to understand the negotiation process.

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