The INP Method

For nearly two decades, the Harvard International Negotiation Program has researched, built, and field-tested a new paradigm for bridging the emotional and identity-based polarizations in our world.  We call it the INP Method -- and it has proven instrumental in moving forward peace processes in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and North America.  We spread the method through collaboration with a wide range of organizations, including governments, businesses, universities, non-governmental organizations, and international institutions.

The INP Method consists of frameworks and tools to enlist positive emotions, manage negative emotions, and turn identity from a hindrance into a help.  Here are some of its major elements:

1. The Core Concerns Framework: Developed by Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro, this widespread method for addressing emotions in negotiation consists of five key human motivations--appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, status, and role--and shows how we can use them to understand people's emotions and to enlist positive emotions that foster information sharing and mutual gains. The model has been used successfully across contexts, and the book Beyond Reason includes a first-hand narrative about how Jamil Mahuad, President of Ecuador (1998-2000), used the concepts in the successful negotiations with Peruvian President Fujimori over a major border dispute. Here’s a resource to help you prepare using the core concerns: the Emotions Preparation Tool.  An abbreviated version of the chart can be found here.

2. The Tribes Effect. Prof. Shapiro coined this term to describe the us-them mindset that emerges when our identity feels threatened in a conflict situation. Once we enter this state of mind, it is extremely difficult to break free. Recognition that we are in the mindset is the first step toward emotional liberty. In Negotiating the Nonnegotiable, Shapiro articulates three basic characteristics of the tribes effect: our perspective becomes adversarial, self-righteous, and closed to dissenting opinion. Shapiro also highlights the opposite of the tribes effect, a communal mindset, which is connective, compassionate, and open to appreciating multiple perspectives.

3. The Five Lures of the Tribal Mind.  As our identity feels threatened, five emotional dynamics tend to pull us toward tribalistic thinking:  vertigo, repetition compulsion, taboos, assault on the sacred, and identity politics.  Negotiating the Nonnegotiable details each of these dynamics and how we can overcome them.  As Prof Shapiro stresses, there is no quick fix to a deeply embedded conflict, but over time these disputes can be worked through.

4. Integrative Dynamics.  This multi-step approach for reconciling deep divides walks through empirically supported ways to understand each party's core conflict narrative, work through emotional pain, and rebuild connections.**  

5.  Relational Dialectics.  Every relationship has moments of tension.  Shapiro's research has uncovered three of these "relational dialectics": autonomy vs. affiliation, acceptance vs. change, and redemption vs. revenge.  Knowing how to manage these competing forces can help disputing individuals and groups avoid unnecessary conflict and tension.**

6.  The Emotional Temperature Chart. Too often, strong negative emotions spoil the possibilities of an agreement being reached -- even when agreement makes rational sense. The Emotional Temperature Chart offers a simple way for our rational mind, driven by the neocortex, to maintain control in the face of a potential hijacking by an amgydala-driven emotional response. See Beyond Reason for details.

**See Negotiating the Nonnegotiable (Shapiro, 2017) for details. 


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