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What are Negotiated Texts?

A negotiated text is the product of a formal decision-making process where a text has been negotiated and drafted over a period of time.

Negotiations are a dialogue undertaken by two or more people or parties with the aim of resolving points of difference to achieve a desired outcome. These negotiations are often conducted over an extensive period of time, with negotiating parties putting forward positions and making small concessions to reach this outcome.

The process is often extremely complex. It can be best understood by thinking of it as made up of four elements:

Any negotiation requires people. The people taking part in a negotiation typically represent particular interests or regions. Different people play different roles in a negotiation: Some will be active speakers or active in drafting formal text, while others will be quieter, or be more active behind the scenes.

All these people must be willing to submit to the rules of the process, and they must be accepted as the legitimate representatives of others. Typically, negotiations bring together actors that are members of distinct delegations, such as the delegations that made up the Constitutional Convention, where each state sent many members.

The expertise, interests, and personalities of those involved in a negotiations process will affect how the various different participants interact.

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Formal negotiations require a set of procedures to help manage the process. Although details vary from process to process, there are certain norms of procedure common to all parliamentary-style processes.

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The output of most negotiations is a document or set of documents. In the course of producing these, many interim drafts will be created. Documents and drafts that are created and amended during the negotiations process are, themselves, drafts of the final text that the negotiations process will eventually create.

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Decision-making is a cognitive process whereby an idea or a course of action is selected among several alternative possibilities. Every decision-making process results in a final choice, which may or may not prompt action. A negotiation will reach its conclusions by taking decisions on the proposals that have been made by its members. These decisions will be on extremely specific proposals to accept or reject a particular piece of text from a draft of the document under discussion.

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