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Relationality in negotiations: a systematic review and propositions for future research

Junjun Cheng (Department of Marketing and Management, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Yimin Huang (Department of Marketing and Management, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Yong Su (Department of Business Administration, Fudan University, Shanghai, China)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 12 June 2017




The purpose of this paper is to systematically review and analyze the important, yet under-researched, topic of relationality in negotiations and propose new directions for future negotiation research.


This paper conducts a systematic review of negotiation literature related to relationality from multiple disciplines. Thirty-nine leading and topical academic journals are selected and 574 papers on negotiation are reviewed from 1990 to 2014. Based on the systematic review, propositions regarding the rationales for relationality in negotiations are developed and future research avenues in this area are discussed.


Of 574 papers on negotiations published in 39 peer-reviewed journals between 1990 and 2014, only 18 papers have studied and discussed relationality in negotiations. This suggests that relationality as a theoretical theme has long been under-researched in negotiation research. For future research, this paper proposes to incorporate the dynamic, cultural and mechanism perspectives, and to use a qualitative approach to study relationality in negotiations.


This paper presents the first systematic review of the negotiation literature on relationality, and identifies new research topics on relationality in negotiations. In so doing, this research opens new avenues for future negotiation research on relationality.



The authors appreciate the anonymous reviewers for their insightful and helpful comments. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Zhan Wu for his valuable comments and recommendations on the earlier version of this paper.


Cheng, J., Huang, Y. and Su, Y. (2017), "Relationality in negotiations: a systematic review and propositions for future research", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 295-321.



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