The Role of Business in International Peace Negotiations: Strategy, Power and Influence.
Morgado, Luis Felipe G.
- Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree Master of Arts at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Abstract: Businesses have an increasingly relevant role in international peace negotiations. However, research into their ability to work with both official parties and civil society in order to shape negotiation processes highlights differences in their degree of influence. This raises the q... read moreuestion of what characteristics can explain their relative effectiveness in influencing negotiations in some cases, or their diminished standing in others. In order to answer this question, we analyze a number of business networks, such as chambers of commerce or other private sector associations, in the context of the Middle East and Cyprus peace processes. We use negotiation theory and focus on two specific variables: the independence/alignment of business networks' strategies with official parties'; and the authentic/aspirational structures of business networks in the context of power relationships underpinning conflict situations. These variables form an analytical framework to assess the role of business networks in the Middle East and Cyprus peace processes. Based on a review of secondary sources, including interviews with businesspeople and other negotiation stakeholders, we find that independence appears to be associated with the relatively high influence of business networks in the Cyprus peace process, while strategic alignment can partly explain the diminished influence of business networks in the Middle East. Furthermore, although business networks in Cyprus are mostly authentic, mixed findings about the impact of aspirational structures calls for more research in that area. The analysis also considers, beyond these two variables, alternative factors in peace processes that may explain differences in these variables, and ultimately in the influence of business networks. The paper concludes with a set of recommendations for practitioners of international negotiation who seek to harness the contribution of business to peace processes.read less