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The book spells out the tactics, strategies and techniques that permit all categories of per- sons (individuals, businesspersons, politi- cians, administrative officials, diplomats, economic operators and institutions) to ob- tain satisfaction in any negotiation with any- body, anywhere, at any time, on any issue, in any circumstances.
I am pleased to write this Preface to set the stage for Boniface Nkobena’s exhaustive treatment on Becoming a Total Quality Negotiator. Negotiation is as old as the encounter between Abraham and the Lord over the fate of Sodom (Exodus 14) who showed that principles come first, then details. But the study of negotiations began with the little book of advice that Francois de Callières wrote for the young King Louis XIV de la manière de négocier avec les souverains (1716). It was accompanied—and indeed sometimes vigorously rivaled—by what modern commentator Alain Pékar Lempereur (2002) calls “une boulimie” of works of counsel on how to act as a negotiator, what can perhaps more poetically called books of proverbs presenting the lines of proper conduct for successful diplomats trying to best other successful diplomats in the great game of diplomacy. Les Négociations ou l’art de négocier was brought into Fortune Barthélémy de Felice’s Dictionnaire de la justice naturelle et civille de l’Humanité (1778) to show that negotiation is found in business, diplomacy, and everyday life and that it can be learned. They are among the value goals pursued consistently in Nkobena’s work.
That stream of study has continued to present day, including Jimmy Carter’s memorial to Negotiation as The Alternative to Hostility (1984) and leading to but certainly not concluding with the popular guideline for getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury (1981). No work on the nature of negotiators can ignore the path cleared by four centuries—almost to the year of wisdom.
But a different approach also developed in recent times as a study of negotiation as a process. It began with the works of economists, launched by Frances Edgeworth as Mathematical Physics (1881) and by Frederik Zeuthen as Problems of Monopoly and Economic Warfare (1930) but their models of concession rates were too schematic. The study of process was then revived by game theoretic and diplomatic commentators as Nobel prize winner Thomas Schelling (1960) and Fred Iklé’s (1964) examination of How Nations Negotiate. The psychology of the actor and the process were combined in an insightful synthesis by Jeffry Rubin and Bert Brown (1975) in The Social Psychology of Bargaining and Negotiation, by Dean Pruitt’s Negotiation.
Behavior (1981), and on the same wave, in social and political science by I. William Zartman as The Practical Negotiator (1982). Meanwhile, mainstream political science, as James Fearon explained in 1995, essentially relegated negotiation to the problem of why obvious rational outcomes are not achieved.
The wave of analysis and scholarship continues with the focus on negotiation as a process, as a dynamic encounter. It has also moved beyond the limited scope of negotiation as an interpersonal exchange to persuade. My own work has been concerned with the dynamics and evolving structure of that process, including development of the diagnosis, formula, and detail phases in negotiation (1982), and the identification and analysis of the negotiation modes of concession, ompensation, and construction (2008). But I have also been intrigued by the conditions for opening negotiation, seen in the concept of ripeness, including the mutually hurting stalemate and the way out (1989), and for closure, going back to identifiable types of negotiators’ behavior—dueling, driving, dragging, and mixed and mismatched (2015).
On this background, Boniface Nkobena’s wide-ranging work goes back to the basics, focusing broadly on the promise and pitfalls of negotiator’s behavior for the diminution of conflict and the improvement of agreements so that individuals and states (and whatever is between) can pursue their goals and live together more peacefully and productively. The book is of a nature to carry one more step forward in the permanent quest to improve the bargaining acumen of practicing and preparing effective negotiators in various fields of life. For this it is necessary to go back through the four centuries of evolving analysis to take into account not only where our knowledge and understanding came from but also where it is now.
William I. Zartman
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Organization and Conflict Resolution at the Advanced School of International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, Washington; member of the Steering Committee of the Process of International Negotiation Program (PIN) at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Hamburg; member of the International Advisor Board for the Mediation Initiative of the UN Department of Political Affairs; former Director of African studies and conflict management programs at SAIS; former professor at the University of South Carolina, University of New York, and American University in Cairo; consultant for the State Department (US); taught in the Paris institute of Political Science; gave lectures in many African University Institutions (Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Somali); author and Director of numerous publications (see bibliography).
By the Same Author
- Nkobena, Boniface Fontem. Sacerdotal Politics and Systems Stability: the Paul Biya Paradigm. Yaoundé: Presses Universitaires de Yaoundé, 2008 (held in 16 WorldCat member libraries worldwide (see http://www.worldcat.org/ identities/lccn-n91-4276/).
- Nkobena, Boniface Fontem. Sacerdoce politique et stabilité des systèmes : le paradigme Paul Biya. Presses Universitaires de Yaoundé (co-published with NENA, Dakar, Senegal, 2016).
[Also available on Amazon (www.amazon.fr) and Fnac, France
(https://www.fnac.com/ia4466049/Dr-Nkobena-Boniface-Fontem). Also held by several WorldCat member libraries worldwide - see http:// www.worldcat.org/
- Nkobena, Boniface Fontem. The African Food Security Problem: Its trade dimensions and implications for economic growth. UNCTAD publication No TD/B/C.I, 1984.;
- Nkobena, Boniface. The Agenda of UNCTAD VI: Towards Long-term Solutions? In Development Education Forum, No 7, 1983.
- Nkobena, Boniface Fontem. The African Group in the UN System and Negotiations for a New International Economic Order: A Theory and Practice of Africa’s Involvement in Multilateral Diplomacy. Geneva: IUHEI, 1984 (Library of Congress Access No
- Nkobena, Boniface Fontem. Statement at the UN 40th Session (1985), 2nd Committee (Economic Affairs). Library of Congress Doc. No A/C.2/40/SR.17.
- Nkobena, Boniface Fontem. Sino-Cameroon Relations: A Case Study of South-South Cooperation. 3 editions. Geneva: IUHEI (https://data.bnf.fr/12216598/boniface_fontem_nkobena/), 1990. Also held by 6 WorldCat member libraries worldwide (see http://www.worldcat.org/ identities/lccn-n91-4276/).
- Nkobena, Boniface Fontem. ‘La circulation illicite des armes légères en Afrique Centrale: traçabilité et solutions’, Paper presented at the International Seminar on the Prevention and Management of Conflict in the Economic Community of Central African States (CEMAC). Yaounde: International Relations Institute of Cameroon, 14 May 2008.
- Nkobena, Boniface Fontem. International Negotiation and the African Factor
Volumes around the themes:
- Watching out for mutual false steps in negotiation.
- Negotiation beyond the twenty-first century.