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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Planners and negotiation Csoti, George Paul


This thesis analyzes the role of negotiation theory and skills training in planning school curricula. This analysis is based on (1) a literature review focusing on planning, managing and negotiating and (2) a survey on negotiation and dispute resolution in North American planning schools. The literature review indicates that negotiation is a foundation skill for planners. Planning and managing are functions performed by planners. Both functions involve political decision making and political communication. Conflict situations are inevitable in political work environments, and negotiation is significant as a way to manage conflict. Hence, planners should have negotiating skills. However, very few planners have, at any stage of their development, been made aware of the range of negotiation theories, roles, strategies or tactics they might adopt. Prominent planning educators such as Baum, Forester, Schon and Susskind have raised a concern that many planners lack negotiating skills. They point to education as a solution. Based on the survey results, at least 25 percent of Canadian and 15 percent of American planning schools now offer one or more courses in these subjects. These courses began to emerge in 1981-1982. An analysis of the curricula materials collected indicates that these courses are based on the cooperative, problem solving approach advocated in two popular American books - namely: (1) "Getting to Yes" by Fisher and Ury and (2) "The Art and Science of Negotiation" by Raiffa. The main recommendation of this thesis is that planning educators recognize the need to equip planners with a basic level of negotiation theory and skill training. The development of negotiating skills depends on learning appropriate kinds of behaviour. Learning is facilitated by practice and exposure to simulated problem solving situations.

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