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Labor Negotiations, Conflicts, and Arbitration

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Abstract

This chapter summarizes the experimental literature in three related areas with the overall aim of highlighting important determinants of bargaining and conflict outcomes. Perceptions of fairness, beliefs, expectations, and/or perceived norms loom large in any attempt to understand negotiations outcomes. Additionally, external factors (e.g., deadlines, time pressure) have been shown to influence both bargaining outcomes and the likelihood of agreement. The prospect of failed negotiations makes the study of conflict and conflict resolution procedures naturally linked to any discussion of research on negotiations. The likelihood of conflict depends on factors like conflict costs, bargainer expectations/beliefs, and whatever awaits bargainers at impasse. As such, bargaining outcomes and the likelihood of conflict both depend on how conflict might be resolved. Formal conflict resolution procedures, such as arbitration, may improve the likelihood of voluntarily negotiated settlements, but this often depends on the details of the arbitration procedure. The way in which a conflict resolution procedure impacts bargainer expectations seems to be of particular importance. Specifically, the natural tendency of bargainers to be overly optimistic regarding the impasse outcome means that any efforts to make conflict outcome expectations more realistic in the workplace environment will likely be effective at reducing conflict – this has been shown in behavioral laboratory tests of arbitration procedures. The studies included in this chapter, overall, highlight the rich body of experimental research relevant to better understand negotiations and conflict.

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Dickinson, D.L. (2020). Labor Negotiations, Conflicts, and Arbitration. In: Zimmermann, K. (eds) Handbook of Labor, Human Resources and Population Economics. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57365-6_129-1

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