Conflict Frontiers Seminar 2 -- Pushing the Frontier: the Limits of Business-as-Usual Approaches


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Part of our inability to successfully address intractable conflicts is that we try to treat them as if they were like other more "normal" conflicts.  But our "business-as-usual" conflict resolution and management strategies don't work.  Often such approaches actually make things worse. Here we explains why--and start discussing what can be done instead. Posts in this unit include:

Conflict Frontiers Videos

Related Conflict Fundamentals Posts

  • Win/lose and competitive/cooperative framing -- The Fundamentals Seminar examines competitive versus cooperative frames--two other process frames that can get us into trouble.
  • Power -- Power, also, is more complex than it seems. This explains the difference between power sources, power strategies and when to use what.
  • Rational and nonrational decision-making -- This Fundamentals post continues the examination of emotions' role in conflict decision making.

Related BI Knowledge Base Essays and Book Summaries

  • Compromise -- A solution to a mutual problem that meets some, but not all, of each of the parties' interests. While compromise is good for repairing damaged relationships, it can also leave both parties unsatisfied, prolonging conflict.
  • Summary of Difficult Conversatios: How to Discuss What Matters Most - Key ideas include "contribution" instead of blame, dealing with feelings and emotions, and identity issues.
  • Revenge and the Backlash Effect -- Most people hate to be forced to do things against their will. Using threats often produces such a large backlash that they cause more problems than they solve, as this essay explains.
  • Coercive Power -- Huey Newton wrote, "Politics is war without bloodshed. War is politics with bloodshed." Though not all politics is coercive, it is certainly one way to force people to do what you want. This essay discusses the pros and cons of coercive power--violent, nonviolent, political, military, and more.
  • The Scale-Up Problem -- Much conflict resolution takes place around the table or in small-group processes. Yet, intractable conflicts often involve whole communities or even societies. So methods must be found to widen or "scale up" the small group processes to the larger society.

Related Things YOU Can Do Blog Posts

Related Beyond Intractability in Context Posts

Seminar videos (listed above) contain additional "BI in Context" references.

Photo Credits:

  • Collage: Guy Burgess