Department of Business Studies
School of Economics
University of Rome Tor Vergata – Italy
Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning
Department of Management
The George Washington School of Business – U.S.A.
Theory defines negotiation as a continual interpersonal interactive process of decision making. Multilateral negotiations are differentiated from bilateral negotiations because of their wider size, bigger complexity and greater heterogeneity. Management studies relating to negotiations have focused mainly on the negotiation processes between companies, customers and suppliers, and industrial relations. Less investigated, however, are the negotiations involving two companies that design strategic paths of cooperation, especially regarding the effect of the intervention of outside (third) parties.
The aim of this paper is to understand the role that the third who joins (a key stakeholder in this case) can play in multilateral negotiations in achieving integrative agreements, through the analysis of the case studies relating to the treaty put in place between Fiat and Chrysler to establish a strategic alliance in the automobile sector.
What is the effect of a third who joins into a negotiation which was initially distributive and bilateral? Can this
entry at the table shift the negotiation, which is now multilateral, from distributive to integrative? How? The deepening of the decision-making processes commonly known as «negotiations» has been always dear to scholars in management, within the studies on strategic cooperation between companies (Fisher, Ury, & Patton, 1981; Komorita, 1985; Kramer, 1991; Lax & Sebenius, 1986;
Lewicki, Weiss, & Lewin, 1992; Raiffa, 1982; Sheppard, 1984; Walton & McKersie, 1965; Zartman, 1977 ). Over the years, these studies have contributed to the construction of the so called negotiation theory , which has assumed the development of techniques and models designed to solve political problems as the primary target of investigation.