At the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School, we believe that effective negotiation requires a lifelong commitment to learning. Since our founding in 1980, faculty research has played an integral role in promoting negotiation as a field of interdisciplinary academic study and real-world application. Our research team draws faculty from many traditional disciplines, including law, business, psychology, public policy and planning, and international relations.
Each research project is led by PON faculty who hail from one of three consortium universities—Harvard, MIT, and Tufts. These individuals represent some of the world’s leading scholars in negotiation theory and practice. Working collaboratively on an array of interdisciplinary projects, their research has generated scholarly articles, books, and media that help build awareness of negotiation best practices.
Research projects and initiatives include the following:
The American Secretaries of State Project (SOSP) is a collaborative effort of PON at Harvard Law School, the Belfer Center’s Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School. SOSP illuminates and chronicles the negotiation experiences of former U.S. Secretaries of State. View posts associated with this project
Graduate Research Fellowships are designed to encourage scholars from the social sciences and professional disciplines to pursue research in negotiation and dispute resolution. A Graduate Research Fellowship provides students with one year of dissertation research and writing in negotiation and related topics in alternative dispute resolution. It also provides fellows with the opportunity to avail themselves of PON’s many events and resources. View posts associated with this project
The Great Negotiator Award was established in 2000 to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of outstanding negotiators. The award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to developing the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution during their lifetimes. View posts associated with this project
The HNP seeks to improve the theory and practice of conflict resolution and negotiation using real-world conflict intervention, theory building, and education and training as well as the writing and dissemination of innovative ideas. Current projects include the Great Negotiator Study Initiative, the China Negotiation Initiative, and the Rebuild Congress Initiative. Ongoing initiatives include the Harvard International Negotiation Program and the Global Negotiation Initiative. View posts associated with this project
HNRP seeks to strengthen the theoretical research and empirical knowledge of negotiation and dispute resolution. In addition, it strives to help scholars develop the tools that translate theory into practical processes for parties engaged in conflict. Recent projects have focused on the limits of negotiation, the challenges of making wise decisions when encountering resistance, and ethnic conflict in divided societies. View posts associated with this project
The Korea Negotiation Initiative explores the challenges associated with resolving the Korean nuclear crisis. Specifically, it focuses on identifying potential strategies to support negotiation, identifying areas for mutual gain, improving communication to protect against inadvertent war, and defining the role of informal and official third parties in facilitating a resolution. View posts associated with this project
Faculty affiliates and research fellows work closely with field practitioners to conduct research and scholarship on key topics related to Middle East peace negotiations. Through publications, workshops, and multimedia resources, MENI affiliates disseminate problem-solving methodology and share negotiation methods and techniques that can help resolve challenges in the Middle East.
Ongoing MENI projects include the following:
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- Abraham’s Path
Abraham’s Path follows Abraham’s famous journey from Sanliurfa in southeast Turkey through Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. The walking trail offers hikers the opportunity to engage with the region firsthand. The path represents the challenging, long-term negotiations used to establish a contiguous route through often-hostile countries. Abraham’s Path has powerful regional implications for economic development, mutual engagement, and peace building. PON serves as the intellectual and academic home of Abraham’s Path.
- Iran Nuclear Negotiations Working Group
The Iran Nuclear Negotiations Working Group focuses on evaluating Iranian nuclear negotiations used in the past while exploring new analytic perspectives on the current challenges. Sponsored by HNP and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School, participants include experts on negotiation, Iran, the broader Middle East, and nonproliferation.
The MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program is an internationally known center for action research focused on evaluating and resolving disputes in the public sector. The Public Disputes Program conducts research activities dealing with international environmental treaty negotiations and consensus building in the public sector. It seeks to ensure that science is included in resource management decisions. In addition, the program focuses on the social responsibilities of multinational corporations, the role of mediation in values-based and identity-based disputes, and how findings in the communications field may enhance negotiation practices. View posts associated with this project
Negotiations in the Workplace is a collaborative group of scholars focused on addressing the changes, challenges, and transitions of today’s workplace. They examine negotiated approaches to change as a core competency—not just a helpful skill—as jobs become more knowledge based and competitive. View posts associated with this project
NEG, a division of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), is an online venue providing access to working papers and professional announcements of interest to the negotiation and dispute resolution community. NEG is one of a number of specialized networks SSRN has organized for the worldwide dissemination of research in all of the social sciences. View posts associated with this project
The Next Generation Grants Program supports research in negotiation and conflict resolution by nontenured faculty and doctoral students. The program provides grants to fund specific research projects, not general support or tuition. Faculty and students from any school or department within PON’s interuniversity consortium (Harvard, MIT, Tufts) may apply. Postdoctoral students with formal affiliations with Harvard or one of our consortium schools are also welcome. View posts associated with this project
Pedagogy at PON is dedicated to improving the way people teach and learn about negotiation and dispute resolution. Incorporating and expanding on the historical mission of the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center, Pedagogy at PON serves as an intellectual focal point for negotiation education through research, curriculum development, training, and networking. The mission of Pedagogy at PON is to
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- contribute to the growing field of negotiation and dispute resolution pedagogy through research and publications;
- support experienced and next-generation negotiation and dispute resolution educators through workshops, idea exchanges, and other educator-focused events;
- foster connections between communities of negotiation and dispute resolution educators and scholars;
- develop and distribute teaching materials that are useful in skills-based negotiation and dispute resolution instruction; and
- explore and test the application of new technologies to improve teaching and learning about negotiation and dispute resolution.
The PON Dispute Resolution Program promotes research and theory-building on the ever-increasing array of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, with major emphasis on how these procedures are used in conjunction with judicial and regulatory systems. The Multi-Door Courthouse (MDC), a concept originated by DRP founder and co-director Frank E.A. Sander, is a system for assessing disputes and recommending alternatives to litigation. View posts associated with this project
Summer fellowship grants focus on the connection between scholarship and practice in negotiation and dispute resolution by supporting students interested in exploring career paths, either professional or academic. Summer fellowships provide students at Harvard University, MIT, Tufts University, and other Boston-area schools with up to $3,500 for internships or summer research projects in negotiation and dispute resolution in partnership with public, nonprofit, or academic organizations. View posts associated with this project
Experimental approaches to the study of decision making in the negotiation process have grown over the past 25 years. TEEM provides an integrated approach to examining cutting-edge themes to enhance the scientific and practical understanding of how decisions influence negotiated outcomes. View posts associated with this project