Researchers seeking to develop a conflict frame typology have attempted to capture the way that negotiators perceive elements of conflict and the negotiation process. A comparison of frame-related typologies reveals certain similarities and differences in the way that perceptions of conflict have been characterised. Differences between typologies imply that researchers vary in their beliefs about what negotiators might focus upon during conflict. To ensure that a developed typology included all of the aspects of conflict that negotiators may be inclined to focus upon, the key features of negotiation were invoked. These key features, as detailed earlier in this thesis, are the parties, their interests, the outcomes, the issues in dispute and the negotiation process itself (Thompson, 1990). In the subsequent sections, these key features of negotiation are used as a framework to understand the way that researchers have sought to characterise the framing of disputes to date. Within this framework, similarities and differences in conceptions of frame types are explored with the aim of determining which of the frame types can be combined to produce a comprehensive set of frames for use in the current research. To illustrate how each type of frame might be expressed verbally, examples have been extracted from negotiation transcripts that were coded for the purposes of the Pilot Study (see Section 2.5.1).
The interests of the parties, as described by Fisher and Ury (1981), refer to the underlying needs, concerns, preferences and priorities of parties within a conflict situation. In effect, the interests refer to the motivations of parties for negotiating. By focusing on interests, parties are better able to understand shared priorities and preferences. Researchers argue that, once disputants reconcile their interests, they are better able to reach mutually beneficial agreements (Ury et al., 1993).
One of the categories used to characterise disputes by Wehr (1979) was an interest-based category. This category corresponds with Ury et al.'s (1993) notion of interests in that it describes disputants' disagreements about their wants and needs. This category also corresponds with the notion of aspiration frames as described by Donnellon and Gray (1989). Aspiration frames correspond to an interest-based focus in that they refer to the underlying needs or motivations of the parties involved.
To conceptualise the possible orientations of aspiration frames, Donnellon and Gray (1989) applied the dual concerns model (Rubin & Brown, 1975). This model suggests that behaviour will vary according to the concern of one party for the attainment of its own outcomes relative to that of the other party. In terms of the aspirations that are pursued, this model implies that parties will express conflict frames that are focussed either upon their own aspirations or upon the aspirations of both parties. This distinction aligns with to competitively-oriented aspirations or cooperatively-oriented aspirations respectively. These orientations are also reflected in the cooperate frame versus the win frame dimension proposed by Pinkley (1990). In this frame typology, the cooperate frame refers to a perception that both parties are responsible for the conflict in some way and therefore need to cooperate to attain a solution. The cooperate frame dimension is defined as the belief that mutual concessions will facilitate a compromise agreement. The win frame end of the dimension is the antithesis to the cooperate frame and is characterised by the assumption that one party's gain will correspond to the other party's loss. Individuals who adopt this frame strive to maximise their gain at the expense of the other party.
If aspiration frames are treated as a unidimensional construct, as Donnellon and Gray's (1989) and Pinkley's (1990) distinctions suggest, two types of frames result: self-interested or competitive aspiration frames, and self- and other- interested or cooperative aspiration frames. In the current paper, it is assumed that the self-interested or competitive aspiration frames, which incorporate aspirations held without consideration of the other party, include those pursued at the expense of the other party. These frames will be termed competitive aspiration frames despite related literature traditionally using 'competitive' orientation to refer to one that is pursued at the expense of the other party (Tjosvold, 1998). To illustrate how these types of frames might be verbally expressed within a negotiation, consider the following utterance and the way this statement illustrates a more self-interested or competitive aspiration: "Not really, I don't see that as really negotiable. We have corporate policies so that each individual doesn't strike a different contract. From my perspective it's just very untidy to have everyone having different amounts of leave. We need to be consistent." In contrast, the self- and other- interested frame, or what the current study has termed the cooperative aspiration frame, is evident in the following negotiator statement: "What we've been thinking is that a Perth location would suit both of us as you have relatives there and we have one of our offices there."
In addition to the interests of the parties, another important component of the negotiation process is the outcome that negotiators are working towards. According to Donnellon and Gray (1989), outcome frames refer to disputants' preferred solution to the conflict. They differ from aspiration frames in that they refer to what disputants want, not to why they want it. For this reason, outcome frames refer to the positions that the parties espouse and, as a result, are typically expressed in terms of offers or counter-offers.
As is the case with aspiration frames, outcome frames may differ according to whether the negotiator's expression is focussed upon their own desired outcomes or whether the information is framed in terms of a mutually beneficial solution. Based on Donnellon and Gray's (1989) conception of outcome frames and differences in the way outcome frames are oriented, two further frames types were used in the current research. Self-interested or competitive outcome frames were defined as offers or counter-offers. These were offers made without concession relative to previous own- and other-party offers. To illustrate the way that this type of frame might be expressed, consider the following example: "Well, I'd be hoping for $85,000 minimum. I mean, the average might be $75,000 to $80,000, but I believe that I'm worth more than that". More mutually interested or cooperative outcome frames were identified as instances where compromises or concessionary offers were proposed relative to previous offers. The way that the cooperative outcome frame might also be considered is as a compromise orientation (Pinkley &Northcraft, 1994). Cooperative outcome frames also included the use of trade-offs or multiple issue offers and more attractive counter-offers. An example of the way that this type of frame might be expressed is: "With a high salary, we have very little room for a large bonus. However, if you would accept $80,000 as your salary, then we will be happy to give you a larger bonus of 8%.
For obvious reasons, the issues that are disputed are an integral part of the negotiation process (Thompson, 1990). As discussed earlier, the issues in dispute can typically be characterised as those that involve transaction-based issues and those that involve the relationship between parties. Researchers have used this broad classification to argue that, when negotiating, not only do the facts of the dispute need to be considered, but also the relationship between parties should be monitored (Savage, Blair & Sorenson, 1989). This dichotomous characterisation is also reflected in the way that individuals have been found to communicate: Whereas some people communicate with more of a task orientation, others express themselves with more of a relationship orientation (Tannen, 1994). This theme can also be detected in the way that researchers have characterised the framing of disputed issues.
Wehr's typology of frame-oriented categories (1979) includes both a facts-based category and a relational-based category. These categories respectively refer to the factual elements and to the emotions or feelings in the dispute. Donnellon and Gray's substantive frame (1989) closely resembles Wehr's facts-based category. The substantive frame refers to the material aspects or the facts of the dispute. In recognition of the importance of the relationship-oriented aspects of conflict, Gray (1997) of Donnellon and Gray (1989) incorporated the relationship aspects of conflict into their characterisation frame type. As with Wehr's relational-based category, the characterisation frame includes perceptions about aspects of the relationship between the two parties.
Pinkley (1990) also derived two frames that reflect the substantive-relational distinction. However, in Pinkley's typology, conceptions of the substantive and relational frames were divided further so that each represents two frame types. The substantive-oriented aspects of conflict are captured by the intellectual frame versus task frame dimension and the relational-oriented aspects of conflict are captured by the relational frame versus emotional frame dimension. On the substantive-oriented dimension, intellectual frames refer to a focus on facts and thoughts whereas task frames refer to the material aspects of the dispute. The relational-oriented dimension characterises both the interpersonal issues of the dispute (relational frame) and the feelings or emotions involved (emotional frame). Although Pinkley conceives of the substantive-relational dichotomy at a more discrete level than do Donnellon and Gray (1989) and Wehr (1979), the distinction between substantive and relational perceptions of issues remains. For this reason, the current research included a substantive issues frame and a relational issues frame. An example of the way in which a substantive issues frame might be expressed within the context of a negotiation is as follows: "As you know I'm 36 I did well in the MBA and I've got some skills that I think will be useful to the company." An example of a relational issues frame is: "We probably need to look at how we talk to each other, not just what is said."
When parties negotiate, they bring with them expectations about how the negotiation will proceed. These expectations include perceptions about how the other party is likely to behave. Depending on the nature and strength of these expectations as well as upon any new information encountered within the setting, these expectations are subject to change. Donnellon and Gray (1989) describe the types of perceptions that negotiators generate about the other party's characteristics and negotiating style as characterisation frames. Expressions of this type of frame have been found to distract negotiators from the issues of the dispute. In describing this type of frame in later work, Gray et al. (1997) broaden their definition to include expressions about the relationship between parties. However, as the previously described relational frame (Section 2.4.3) captures these types of expressions, in the current research, characterisation frames were treated as distinct from relational frames. Accordingly, characterisation frames were operationalised as direct appraisals of the other party and not of the relationship.
As is the case with any interaction, parties to a negotiation are subject to the various psychological processes that are the focus of person perception and impression formation research. In examining this research, of particular relevance for negotiators is the extent to which parties like each other and approve of their behaviour (Thompson, 1990). Evaluations of the other party are, therefore, likely to range from being more favourable or positive to being less favourable or negative in orientation. In the current research, to capture the way in which negotiators might evaluate character or behaviour, the ends of this dimension were identified as: positive characterisation frames and negative characterisation frames. An example of a positive characterisation type of frame might be: "You are actually a lot easier to deal with than I thought you would be." An example of a negative characterisation frame might be: "You're such a hard bargainer!"
Another feature of negotiation that disputants might frame is the negotiation process itself. According to Donnellon and Gray (1989), process frames concern expectations about the way the negotiation will and should proceed. Even though they may involve perceptions about the "rules of the negotiation game" they do not relate to whether the process is fair or unfair: process frames relate more to the structure and the procedures of the negotiation. These types of frames tend to be evidenced when negotiators are attempting to clarify what has happened or what should happen next in the negotiation. Process-related communication is often expressed when negotiators are experiencing difficulty in reaching suitable outcomes (Carroll & Payne, 1991).
When identifying the types of orientations that might be adopted when framing the process-related aspects of a negotiation, the dual concerns model is useful. This model states that behaviour varies according to the concern of one party for the attainment of its own outcomes relative to that of the other party (Rubin & Brown, 1975). Extending this model to the way in which process frames might be deployed, parties might be oriented towards adopting process frames that are more self-serving or towards adopting frames that are more focussed on serving the needs of self and other. Stated another way, parties might express process-related frames that range from being more inclusive by incorporating both parties' aims and interests to those that are less inclusive. In this way, process-related frames can be regarded as a unidimensional construct with one end of the dimension being more inclusive and the other less inclusive. An example of an inclusive type of process frame might be: "You don't mind me taking down some notes do you?" An example of a non-inclusive type of process frame might be: "I really think we should leave that for later. You've talked about it for too long already."
Within social settings, individuals adopt particular norms or rituals aim to render the interaction more efficient and more satisfactory for those involved (Thompson, 1998). For example, the norm of politeness suggests that people engaged in an interaction will not raise a difference of interest unless this disparity is consequential. In negotiation settings, many norms or socially understood codes of conduct prescribe the types behaviours that are acceptable. One such norm, the norm of good faith bargaining, suggests that disputants will conduct themselves "in good faith", that is, they will not lie about what they want, nor will they misrepresent what they have (Thompson, 1998).
One of the features that differentiates negotiation from other forms of social interaction is that decisions need to be made about how resources are to be distributed. In advancing justifications for the distribution of resources, disputants may consider what they think is fair or what they think is right in the given circumstances. In so doing, justifications about what is fair may rely on their own personal values or other more external sources of fairness or legitimacy. Appealing to external sources of legitimacy may involve invoking one's rights but could also involve utilising one's situationally ascribed power.
Although the "justification of claims" falls outside of Thompson's description of negotiation (1990), this activity is unique to the resolution of conflict: For this reason, justification of claims deserves to be considered in any discussion of the critical components of negotiation. Although proponents of conflict frames, to date, have not explicitly investigated the way justifications might be framed within negotiation, researchers have nonetheless found that disputants might frame information in terms of their values (Wehr, 1979) and in terms of their perceived rights or perceived power (Gray, 1997; Ury et al., 1988). According to Donohue et al. (1994), framing information on the basis of one's values involves drawing upon one's own beliefs about what constitutes fairness. In addition, Wehr's typology of conflict (1979) includes value-based characterisations, which involve disputants' beliefs about what constitutes fairness according to their values. To illustrate the way in which a value-based frame may be expressed in a negotiation, consider the following example: "I really think that it is unfair for you to ask me to give up my holidays in exchange for more money. Spending time with my family is important to me." In this statement, the disputant justifies his or her claim for holiday leave on the basis of the value that he or she places upon spending time with family.
At the other end of the spectrum, when disputants justify their propositions in terms of the rights or power to which they believe they are entitled, they are drawing upon externally derived sources of authority. More specifically, a focus on rights implies that parties will attempt to resolve the conflict by utilising external standards of fairness, contract, or law (Ury, et al., 1988). These external standards may entail socially accepted codes of behaviour, ethical principles, or both. The adoption of a power-based orientation is similar to the rights-based orientation in that negotiators act to justify their claims using the power bestowed upon them by virtue of their role or position. In the case of both power-based and rights-based justifications, disputants may be inclined to frame information in a threatening and exclusionary manner. Research has found that extensive use of either a rights-oriented or a power-oriented focus in negotiation tends to promote distributive agreements (Ury, et al., 1988). To illustrate the way that this type of framing may be evident in negotiator communication, consider the following example in which an employer is justifying why a potential employee should not be entitled to a certain condition of employment: "Sorry, but the employment contracts we have signed in the past do not allow for you to have any more than four weeks leave." In this expression, the potential employer is drawing upon the power he or she has been granted by virtue of his or her role as an employer to counter the applicant's request.
In seeking to develop a typology of frames for use in the current research, several frame types evident in the negotiation literature have been applied and revised into six dimensional constructs. Although these constructs were developed in a two-dimensional sense, for ease of categorising the presence of certain frame types, these six constructs are hereafter treated as twelve frame types. The following table provides a summary of the definitions and examples of the twelve frame types that were generated as a result of analysing the way in which conflict frames have been characterised in the literature, from a negotiation perspective.
|1||Cooperative Aspiration Frame|
|Definition||The perception that parties need to consider the aspirations of the other to reach an agreement|
|Example||"What we've been thinking is that a Perth location would suit both of us as you have relatives there, and we have one of our offices there."|
|2||Competitive Aspiration Frame|
|Definition||The perception that one's aspirations will be realised without consideration of others' interests.|
|Example||"Not really I don't see that as really negotiable. We have corporate policies so that each individual doesn't strike a different contract. From my perspective it's just very untidy to have everyone having different amounts of leave. We need to be consistent."|
|3||Cooperative Outcome Frame|
|Definition||The perception that one's desire for a particular outcome needs to, at some level, incorporate the preferred solution of the other.|
|Example||"With a high salary, we have very little room for a large bonus. However, if you would accept $80,000 as your salary, then we will be happy to give you a larger bonus of 8%."|
|4||Competitive Outcome Frame|
|Definition||The perception that ones' own preferred solution is the primary concern.|
|Example||"Well, I'd be hoping for $85,000 minimum. I mean, the average might be $75,000 to $80,000, but I believe that I'm worth more than that."|
|5||Substantive Issues Frame|
|Definition||Refers to the material elements of the issues being negotiated.|
|Example||"As you know I'm 36 I did well in the MBA and I've got some skills that I think will be useful to the company."|
|6||Relational Issues Frame|
|Definition||Refers to the relationship that exists between themselves and the other negotiator.|
|Example||"We probably need to look at how we talk to each other, not just what is said."|
|7||Positive Characterisation Frame|
|Definition||Refers to positively-oriented perceptions of the other party, their negotiating style or both.|
|Example||"You are actually a lot easier to deal with than I thought you would be."|
|8||Negative Characterisation Frame|
|Definition||Refers to negatively-oriented perceptions about the other party.|
|Example||"You're such a hard bargainer!"|
|9||Inclusive Process Frame|
|Definition||Perceptions about the negotiation procedure that demonstrate a considerate or cooperative orientation.|
|Example||"You don't mind me taking down some notes do you?"|
|10||Non-inclusive Process Frame|
|Definition||Perceptions about the negotiation procedure that are not considerate or are non-inclusive in orientation.|
|Example||"I really think we should leave that for later. You've talked about it for too long already."|
|11||Values-based Justification Frame|
|Definition||Refers to justifications in terms of values about what is important to them.|
|Example||"I really think that it is unfair for you to ask me to give up my holidays in exchange for more money. Spending time with my family is important to me."|
|12||Power/Rights-based Justification Frame|
|Definition||Refers to justifications in terms of power or rights.|
|Example||"Sorry, but the employment contracts we have signed in the past do not allow for you to have any more than four weeks leave."|