Spring 2013 URSP participant Amani Mansour:
This semester I am conducting research on the role of personal power on a person’s success in meetings and negotiations. I became interested in the role of power in negotiations when I was an intern last semester for the Undergraduate Experiential Learning Project (UELP). This project creates experiential learning activities (ELAs) for conflict analysis and resolution classes. Students participate in these activities to help them link theory to practice. In two of these ELAs, students take on roles and participate in meetings and negotiations. Through my observations last semester, I noticed that power plays a huge role in the success of the negotiation process. This is why I am using the ELAs to collect data on the role of personal power in negotiations.
I am currently at the stage in my research of attending and collecting data from the ELAs. To get to this stage, I had to first narrow the type of power I wanted to focus on. I chose personal power because I felt it is a huge component to a negotiator’s success but there is very little literature about it compared to the general concept of power. Then, I defined personal power and broke it down into components. I relied on the literature to help me shape the way I defined personal power. For the first month and a half of this semester, a typical week for me included reading scholarly work on power and negotiations, meeting with my mentor and discussing what I have found and how it applies to my research, and from this, my research question evolved to focusing on personal power. Now a typical week for me includes meeting with my mentor, attending ELAs and taking notes, and listening to recordings from previous ELAs and collecting data from that. The research process has not only expanded my knowledge on my topic and my field of conflict analysis, but also on the research process. While conducting research is a difficult process, it is also a fruitful one; and I am very excited to continue my work and hopefully have interesting results to share by the end of the semester.