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Decision making - Research Paper Example

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Abstract This paper examines two fundamental approaches to decision making: the rational theory and the prospective theory and how they relate to decision making in making demands during international mediation in inter-state conflicts. In the rational theory, the players identify the best results for the highest number of people before taking decision…
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Decision making
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Download file to see previous pages The paper uses the two concepts to analyze three mediation efforts in the Arab - Israeli conflict: the Camp David Accords I, Oslo Accords and the Camp David Accords II. In the findings of the research indicate that in all the agreements reviewed, both sides held on to their strengths and privileges to make demands. In areas that either party had weaknesses, they were ready to make risky demands, sometimes at the expense of breaking down the negotiation process. It was therefore conclusive that in mediation in international conflicts, parties use the prospect theory to take decisions on the demands to make. On the other hand, the rational theory is still important. Hence, mediators can only succeed if they guide the parties to the rational choices. Introduction Dealing with interstate conflicts has become a high priority, not only between disputants themselves, but on the global arena as well. The approach and the way by which conflicts are decided to be managed is a crucial issue. “Mediation is one of the oldest forms of conflict resolution and has been used extensively worldwide by individuals, states and organizations to bring about peaceful resolution to interstate and intrastate conflicts” (Siniver and Thomas, 2011 p2). Typically, mediation involves a third party helping two parties in a conflict to come up with solutions to their disagreements. Mediation aims at promoting a less adversarial method of dealing with conflicts in international relations. Terris and Maoz identify that third party negotiations have been used in 35% of post-World War II militarized disputes (Terris& Maoz 2005 p563). This underscores the importance of mediation as a tool for diplomats to solve conflicts and tensions between nations and states. I see high importance in understanding the perspective role of international mediation as a future conflict resolution tool. Since the demands of each side of the conflict must be heard in mediation, the method with which parties come up with decisions on the demands they put forward is important in determining the success of the process. Thus, each party might need to come up with decisions on the condition to present in the mediation. A simple decision making model involves diagnosis of the problem, search for options and choice, revision through a critical assessment, evaluation of options, choice of a given option and the implementation of choice or demands (Maoz, 2012 p5). The simple decision making model form the basis of the traditional or orthodox negotiation framework known as the Theory of Rationality. The Theory of Rationality is based on an attempt to attain a win-win outcome or the best solution for both parties with the long term interest of the parties. This is steeped in the Expected Utility (EU) Theory, which seeks the best good for the largest numbers of people (Milburn& Isaacs, 1995 p335). However, other theories like the Game Theory which is steeped in probabilities and choices come be used to arrive at the rational theory (Coombs& Avrunin, 1998). The Prospect Theory on the other hand, involves an individual negotiating to get the maximum net gains for himself (Bazerman et al, 1985). In other words, each group in the negotiation table will present demands that serves his or her needs best. And as such, we seek the best interests for ourselves. Thus, one must be expected to negotiate for his or her best interest. This makes the Prospect Theory the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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