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.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Lack of Credibility / Conflicts of Interest

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The results of fact-finding efforts can either strengthen or weaken the position of particular parties. There is, therefore, a great deal of incentive for the parties to manipulate the fact-finding process in ways which strengthen their position. Not surprisingly, people are skeptical and disbelieving of fact-finding efforts that say things that they do not want to hear. This is especially true in cases where it is likely that opponents  have manipulated the fact-finding process.

This skepticism can easily reach the point where fact-finding efforts have almost no credibility and the parties simply believe what they want to believe. The result can be an almost complete inability to utilize expert technical analyses in a decision making process. This increases the chances that the parties will, in their ignorance, pursue options which will not really advance their interests. Thus, the first problem which fact-finding efforts must surmount is credibility problems. Here, treatment strategies require mechanisms for assuring that fact-finding efforts are worthy of each party's trust, and that this trustworthiness is effectively demonstrated to the parties, the decision makers, and to the public as a whole.

Links to Examples:

Barbara Gray -- Three Mile Island Citizen Radiation Monitoring Program
This is a description of the aftermath of the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania (U.S.) Residents' fears about potential risks of cleanup activities were high due to distrust of the plant operators and regulators.  The described Citizen Radiation Monitoring Program solved the credibility problem and allowed the clean up to go ahead as planned.
 
Heidi Burgess--Environmental Mediation (The Foothills Case)
In this case study, each of the parties collected their own data which led to a credibility problem as each was seen by the other to have a conflict of interest.

Links to Possible Treatments for this Problem:

Joint Fact-Finding

Oversight

Credibility Demonstrations

Data Mediation

Links to Related Problems:

Contradictory Experts

Vested Interests

Deception


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