The author extends warm thanks to the editor of the special issue, as well as the two anonymous reviewers who provided highly relevant guidance toward the completion of this paper. Prof. Erik Wetter, Assistant Professor, Department of Management and Organizations, Stockholm School of Economics, also provided tremendous help in making this manuscript publishable.
Agency in Conflict Resolution as a Manager–Lawyer Issue: Theory and Implications for Research
Article first published online: 31 MAR 2011
© 2011 International Association for Conflict Management and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Negotiation and Conflict Management Research
Volume 4, Issue 2, pages 129–144, May 2011
How to Cite
Borbély, A. (2011), Agency in Conflict Resolution as a Manager–Lawyer Issue: Theory and Implications for Research. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 4: 129–144. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-4716.2011.00076.x
- Issue published online: 31 MAR 2011
- Article first published online: 31 MAR 2011
- agency theory;
- organizational barriers to conflict resolution;
- professional services;
- in-house legal counsels
Agency theory is often used, through the principal–agent framework, to explain organizational barriers to conflict resolution, i.e., the internal reasons why parties in conflict lean so much toward adjudication, despite the availability of more efficient negotiated settlement methods. Framing business conflict resolution as a professional service, a knowledge-intensive field in which lawyers assist the other functions of the firm in resolving difficulties encountered with other organizations, leads scholars to reconsider classical agency assumptions. This contribution proposes a manager–lawyer agency framework of conflict resolution, which recognizes the influence lawyers exert over their clients and induces a focus on the micro-interactions among decision-makers, in-house legal counsels and attorneys as they coproduce response to conflict. From this theoretical effort, one may draw numerous paths for future research aiming to provide Alternative Dispute Resolution promoters with an increased understanding of within-party agency interactions.