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Negotiation and Discourse Analysis


Linda L. Putnam is a professor of communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her e-mail address is


Discourse analysis focuses on the ways that language and symbols shape interpretations of negotiators' identities, instrumental activity, and relationships. These meanings arise, in part, from language patterns that bargainers employ while they are involved in a negotiation. This article provides a brief overview of research findings on language use in six areas of negotiation: strategy, relational development, identity management, emotional expression, issue development, and framing. It also employs a case example of a real estate negotiation to illustrate how discourse patterns discursively construct the nature of risk, certainty, and loss–gain through framing and issue development.