Negotiation Journal

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 69–86 | Cite as

Grief reactions and effective negotiation

  • Nancy Lewis Buck
In Theory


In the event of death, society has in place a wide range of rituals and supports designed to help mourners deal with their grief. It may be that assigning blame and seeking legal recourse has become a significant ritual for those who have sustained other types of losses and, in some situations, loss through death as well. However, unlike societal death rituals, which guide the mourners, no guidelines exist to help negotiators address the impact of grief on their clients. Thus, in this article, insights gleaned from studies of grief, loss, and separation have been examined in an effort to develop an awareness of the impact of grief reactions on the parties to negotiation.

Grief reactions—ranging from denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and guilt to acceptance—serve a useful purpose for those who have sustained grievous losses. Consequently, a better understanding of grief factors may be advantageous to negotiators and, more importantly, to their clients. Such considerations may help challenge perceptions of other parties that may otherwise be prejudicial to one's client (as in the Lindy Chamberlain case) and assist negotiators in trying to anticipate, and thus protect their clients from, grief-related reactions of other parties. In the large number of cases where negotiation and settlement discussions are not only critical but also decisive, grief theory may provide negotiators with better insight into client, and other party, interests and may help them to formulate advice and intervention strategies that take the impact of various grief reactions into account.


Child Support Negotiation Journal Grief Reaction Effective Negotiation Grief Process 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Lewis Buck

There are no affiliations available

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