Determining the Best Practices in Hostage/Crisis Negotiations




Poorboy, Duwayne A.

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Since the creation of hostage/crisis negotiations (HCN) approximately fifty years ago, there has two best practices lists created to guide the field. Although portions of these lists have been evaluated by researchers, the lists were not subjected to any scientific testing. The purpose of the current study was to determine how important these practices were, how often they were used, and if there was a relationship between importance and frequency. I used a mixed-methods approach: emails to subject matter experts (SMEs), focus groups with SMEs, and a survey. The results indicated that most of the best practices were believed the be important and used often in the field by most of the respondents. A new best practices list was created based on practices one standard deviation (lower end) from the mean. The relationships between importance and frequency were significant in all but five of the practices: completing a qualified, basic course, training with SWAT and Incident Command (IC), team using active listening skills, building trust and rapport with the subject, and the negotiation and tactical teams developing and keeping a close understanding and working relationship. The findings, which were not significant, are problematic because the basic course is where the importance of active listening and building trust and rapport is taught. The two practices make up two steps of the most supported negotiation model. Lastly, the lack of relationship between the negotiation and SWAT teams can lead to deadly consequences, yet one way to bridge this relationship is through training.



Hostage negotiations, Crisis negotiations, Best practices, Crisis communication, Police negotiations, Hostage/crisis negotiations, Best practices


Poorboy, D. A. (2021). <i>Determining the best practices in hostage/crisis negotiations</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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