Interpersonal Commitment: The Hidden Power of Face-to-Face Diplomacy

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Abstract

This article argues that interpersonal commitment is statespersons’ most highly coveted aim, the greatest benefit that interpersonal relations can yield in diplomacy. Accordingly, statespersons employ a range of relational practices in encounters with counterparts, seeking to create and harness commitment that will advance professional aims. We argue that statespersons can follow one of two paths to generate commitment: (1) creating feelings of gratitude and providing help that makes a counterpart feel indebted; or (2) cultivating friendly relations. Both demand the successful implementation of relational practices. On the basis of thirty semistructured interviews with past and present senior Israeli statespersons and an analysis of fifteen autobiographies written by senior Israeli diplomats and political figures, we demonstrate to what extent statespersons acknowledge the importance of interpersonal commitment and its ramifications; identify the relational practices that statespersons employ to elicit commitment from a counterpart; and discuss the conditions that facilitate the emergence of such a commitment. We conclude by discussing the differences between thin and thick interpersonal commitments and underlining the importance of interpersonal relations in diplomacy.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberviae021
JournalInternational Studies Review
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) (2024). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • commitment
  • diplomat
  • friendship
  • gratitude
  • interpersonal communication

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