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Fall 2024 Course

Negotiating Across Worldviews

Prerequisite: There are no prerequisites for this course. If have taken another negotiation course at Harvard, you will find that this course builds upon and extends what you learned.

Exam Type: No Exam

Leaders and change agents of all kinds often must engage effectively with people whose worldviews are very different than their own. Conflicts involving deeply held values and other fundamental differences in perspective present special challenges and may require adjustments to approaches to negotiation we use in other situations. Through interdisciplinary readings, presentations, negotiation simulations, dialogue experiences, exercises, discussion, and reflective practices, this practice-focused, workshop style course aims to help participants become more aware of how their own and others’ worldviews influence conflicts involving identity-defining value differences and to help them become more effective negotiators.

Worldview conflict can arise in what we think of as private (e.g., business transactions), local (e.g., land use disputes), societal (e.g., the abortion debate), or global (e.g., climate change policy) contexts. We will consider the potential and challenges of negotiation across diverse contexts, taking up topics such as the comparative advantages and disadvantages, and interplay among, litigation, civil resistance, and negotiation as tools for social change and a bounded theory of pluralistic relativism as a response to the reality of moral diversity.

This course is intensive and time consuming. Because any absences deprive your peers of the chance to participate and learn from collaborative experiences, attendance for all class sessions is mandatory.

The course is limited to 48 students. In addition to participating in in-class activities, students will be expected to keep a journal and submit potions of it throughout the term and will participate in a small group dialogue that requires a modest commitment of time outside class. This course has no final examination.

Note: This course will meet for three hours each week, on Thursday and Friday, starting at 1:30pm.

This course is cross-listed with HDS, listed as HDS 2081.