Thomas G. Matyók
US Air Force Negotiation Center
Along comes a book precisely when it is needed. Ho-Won Jeong’s
International Negotiation: Process and Strategies is that book. Jeong’s work provides a framework within which negotiators can analyze, observe, and predict negotiator behavior as well as negotiation processes. Considering the complexities of modern conflicts that appear to have no conclusion, leader competency in international negotiation must be an uncontested skill. Jeong’s work is grounded in theories that undergird negotiation as well as peace and conflict studies, and the text does an excellent job of speaking to negotiators’ real-world challenges in environments where information is contradictory, ambiguous, and incomplete. Jeong persuasively notes how negotiation is a strategic interaction. What we often observe in our study of conflict dynamics is an attempt to outbid each other. Parties’ interests can quickly slip into competitive bargaining with a goal of ‘winning’ at all costs. Of course, the idea of winning engagements establishes an unsustainable, conflict-laden future where all are seen as potential competitors rather than partners. Professor Jeong presents a compelling argument throughout his work that as we confront conflicts in complex environments the negotiation process itself must become more complex as well. This occurs by bringing more participants to the process. Of course, more participant voices require deeper and more nuanced negotiation strategies and procedures that attempt to reconcile. Clearly, Ho-Won Jeong’s
International Negotiation: Process and Strategies should be read, highlighted, and dog-eared by those who negotiate at tactical, operational, and strategic levels of analysis. Overall, the themes covered in the text include ‘strategic interaction’, ‘rationality’, ‘incomplete information’, and the negotiation process, outcomes, and assessment that inform each other in complex, international, multilateral environments.