Success Factor Negotiation: The Covid-19 Pandemic as an Opportunity Structure


  • Veronika Kneip Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences
  • Andrea Ruppert Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences
  • Martina Voigt Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences



negotiation, couple relationships, conflicts of compatibility, Covid-19


This work-in-progress paper provides insight into the conception and the empirical procedure within the project "Success Factor Negotiation − The Covid-19 pandemic as an Opportunity Structure for (Re)Shaping the Negotiation Culture in Couple Relationships." The project analyses couple relationships in Germany with regard to techniques of negotiation established during the pandemic and their impact on participation and career opportunities for women. The crisis in the field of (institutional) childcare that accompanied the pandemic has created a special situation in which everyday practices, routines, and rituals that often prevailed in everyday life had to be radically changed or redesigned. This in turn created an "opportunity structure" for negotiation in the private sphere of couple relationships. The negotiation skills developed and negotiation strategies and techniques practiced during this period of upheaval can become a decisive lever for the "post-Corona period" in order to question existing role models and the social orders associated with them. Studies dealing with conflict of compatibility in the Covid-19 pandemic to date have been primarily based on quantitative methods and paint a contradictory picture of how couples have dealt with the tension between family work and employment. This is where the project comes in, using a qualitative approach to investigate the role that negotiations played in dealing with the changed conditions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In doing so, we add a new dimension to previous studies by not only examining the results of conflict of compatibility and role distribution, but also shedding light on how these conflicts have been resolved. Thereby, we identify negotiation patterns that influence the extent of egalitarian distribution of family work on the one hand and the assertion of career ambitions on the other hand.