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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Failure to Identify Opponent's Options   

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Just as parties often fail to recognize or understand their opponent's image of the problem--their concerns, their interests, their fears--they may also misunderstand or under-estimate the range of options their opponent has and can use to prevail in the conflict situation.  They may, for example, assume that they have much more power, and that their opponent's only option is to admit defeat.  The opponent, however, may have more power or more options than is obvious, and if they try to use them, the situation can become much more difficult and destructive than had been expected. 

Links to Examples of this Problem

Dean Peachy -- Thoughts on the Failure of Negotiations in the Gulf
In this case, it appears neither side properly estimated the options of the other, or the likely steps the other side would take.

Links to Possible Treatments for This Problem

Conflict Mapping

Assisted Scoping

Links to Related Problems

Failing to Identify Available Options for Dealing with the Situation

Inadequate Information Gathering


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