Relational Development as Negotiated Order in Hostage Negotiation

Authors

  • WILLIAM A. DONOHUE,

    1. William A. Donahue is a professor and Anthony J. Roberto is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University, East Lansing.
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  • ANTHONY J. ROBERTO

    1. William A. Donahue is a professor and Anthony J. Roberto is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University, East Lansing.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

This article applies negotiated order theory to explore how disputants negotiate relational limits in 10 actual hostage negotiations. Four relational limits are defined through the intersection of affiliation (the degree of liking, trust, and acceptance) and interdependence (the strength of parties’rights and obligations to one another): moving toward the other (high affiliation, high interdependence), moving with the other (high affiliation, low interdependence), moving away from the other (low affiliation and low interdependence), and moving against the other person (low affiliation, high interdependence). Spatial and implicit verbal immediacy language cues were used to operationalize affiliation and interdependence in each utterance across the 10 hostage negotiations. The results indicated that when parties created a “moving against” and “moving away” relational pattern, they experienced more difficulty building a relational consensus during the negotiations. When parties rotated between “moving toward” and “moving with” relational phases, they were more successful in building relational consensus. The results also revealed that disputants in hostage negotiations develop relational rhythms by moving within fairly stable cooperative or competitive relational patterns.

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