oa Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa - A critical examination of game theory as applied to conflict and negotiation



Many scholars and politicians have suggested negotiation as a solution for South Africa's problems. Although the subject of negotiation has been eclectic in the absorption of insights from other disciplines, it is only fairly recently that communicologists have become interested in the topic. Today there are various theoretical approaches underlying the study of negotiation. The Theory of Games (or Game Theory) is one of the earlier approaches - one however, which is still popular in some quarters. This article overviews the literature on Game Theory as applied to conflict and negotiation, and the writer concludes that though useful initially, it is no longer suitable for the study of real life conflict and negotiation situations. The communicologist will have to find a less behaviouristic approach if he hopes to understand (and apply) the complexities of negotiation. Only then can we begin to talk of solutions.


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