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Ed Schiappa is a communications studies professor at the University of Minnesota.

Competition in budget talks will not lead to a resolution, U of M expert says

July 11, 2011

Today marks day 11 of Minnesota’s unprecedented government shutdown, with no end in sight. Is there any way for both sides to reach agreement and get government back to work? A University of Minnesota expert on bargaining and negotiation is:

Edward Schiappa, professor, Department of Communication Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Schiappa says when you are in a situation such as the current budget gridlock, both sides need to feel they are gaining a “win” in some manner. “That is particularly true in a political negotiation. When you go into a negotiation with certain choices already off the table, you are negotiating with one arm tied behind your back.”

In negotiation literature, there is a distinction made between "cooperative" and "competitive" approaches to negotiation, Schiappa says. “In the budget talks, clearly there is a lot of competition going on, but there is no way there will be resolution unless some efforts are made to cooperate and collaborate.”

Schiappa says the biggest danger is to see the budget gridlock as a “battle” and “literalizing the metaphor.” In particular, if one side wants an unconditional surrender.

Schiappa is the department chair and teaches graduate courses on contemporary rhetorical theory, critical communication studies, rhetorical criticism and popular culture criticism.

To interview Schiappa, contact Jeff Falk at (612) 626-1720 or

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Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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