OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

Identifying Strategic Options

Paul Wehr


Conflict group building requires a carefully considered strategy for furthering a group's interests and achieving its objectives with minimal cost. Identifying strategic options (Burgess & Burgess 1996) is something conflict groups often fail to do as they form and the conflict emerges. Being clear on strategic options at that point is part of what is known as constructive confrontation , an incremental process by which conflict parties initiate the conflict interaction with those methods requiring lesser force, then proceed to more forceful, higher cost tactics as the conflict progresses.  A formal conflict group might do a power resources inventory as an initial step. A conflict group needs allies, ideological clarity, leaders, funds, a clearly identified constituency and an effective way to attract potential constituents as formal members. It will find, as it assesses those potential resources, that it is stronger in some and weaker in others. It will design a conflict strategy accordingly. It must then mobilize that resource potential and build solidarity within the group. Being clear about what power it has and could have will permit group leaders to better plan its confrontation strategy. Sequence and timing are extremely important in confrontation. If force is used too early in the process or when moral suasion would be more effective, group interests and goals may suffer.

Supporting Literature: Guy Burgess & Heidi Burgess, "Constructive Confrontation," [www.colorado.edu/conflict] 1996;


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Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu