Jen Reynolds (Oregon) – How Commitments Shape Interests


ADR Prof Blog by Andrea Schneider, Michael Moffitt, Sarah Cole,Art Hinshaw, Jill Gross, Jen Reynolds, and Cynthia Alkon.

How to negotiate durable agreements. People can want to change but may be committed to things that keep that change from happening. This is because interests are context dependent.

  • Look at the following literatures: miswanting literature – we don’t really know what we always want, altruistic negotiation literature – somebody has to bite the bullet eventually, how do we “negotiation for the future,” sunken costs – hard to rejigger the calculus after high sunken costs.
    Teamwork b/w insiders and outsiders can help bring these commitment issues to the fore – insiders might be able to identify them with the help of outsiders..
    Generational justice is a term that is used to describe similar processes.
    Commitment lies upon a continuum – everything written is carved in stone to this is what we have today and if we have to change things we will.
    Hand tying and pre-commitments, isn’t this a strategic matter. The psychological literature on counterfactuals will help on this point.
    What about the timing of past and future commitments – where do we begin? It maybe helpful to offer something concrete where we begin – T1, T 2 or T minus 1
    Think about the status quo bias and/or endowment effects – they have to relate to past commitments
    Temporal construal – what you are thinking about now versus what you were thinking about then. It’s a question of abstract thinking versus specific tasks related to the action.
    There’s some great literature in strategic planning that could be helpful.

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