False Readiness: Expanding the Concept of Readiness in Conflict Resolution Theory

Adi Schwartz, Eytan Gilboa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study introduces a new theoretical concept, "false readiness"(FR), to fill a lacuna in theories of conflict resolution (CR). Existing theories focus mostly on successful cases and opening phases and suggest conditions and variables to determine whether a conflict is "ripe"or "ready"for resolution. The prevailing assumption is that if disputants decide to enter negotiations, they must have "crossed the Rubicon"and wish to reach agreement. This is not always the case in protracted conflicts where parties enter negotiations for reasons other than reaching peace. Existing CR theories do not adequately address this phenomenon. Negotiation theories do explore dishonest intentions but describe them as side effects, short lived and tactical. They also offer too many overlapping and confusing concepts that for the purposes of this study had to be clarified, categorized, and modified. The main goal of this work is not to create an entirely new theory, but rather to add a new theoretical layer to the readiness theory of CR that would be capable of investigating failures to resolve protracted conflicts. The layer is based on the integration of the readiness theory with concepts from negotiation theory that explore conditions where parties negotiate without intention to achieve agreement. FR addresses dubious intentions as strategic and long run that can span multiple stages in CR processes, not only the opening one.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1328-1348
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Studies Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association.


  • conflict resolution
  • false readiness
  • negotiation
  • protracted conflicts
  • readiness
  • ripeness
  • side effects
  • spoilers


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