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.
International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict
Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA
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In the United States, public decision makers are required to involve the public in most decision making processes. The most common way to do this is to hold public hearings, although advisory groups, focus groups, surveys, and other methods are also used. While allowing decision makers to better gauge the interests and needs of the public, these processes also slow down decision making--sometimes to a considerable extent. When a problem is critical and there is a need to make a decision quickly, there is a strong incentive to try to shortcut the public involvement processes as much as possible, so that the decision can be made in a timely manner.
Decision makers are also sometimes tempted to rush decisions when they know the decision they need to make is controversial. In such a case public involvement is likely to be lengthy and inconclusive-some people will argue one way, others will want the opposite to occur. Decision makers may feel that listening to this give and take doesn't give them any more information than they already have, and it slows down the decision process. Other decision makers may hope that if they make a decision quickly, it won't get noticed as much, and won't become as controversial as it would be if the public participated in the deliberations. "Just do it!" is the approach some advocate.
However, rushed decisions often make people so angry that they will do whatever they can to block implementation of the decision after it is made. If legally required procedures were violated, they can challenge the decision in court. They can also try to block implementation through administrative channels, or can try to remove the decision makers and get the decision reversed. So trying to make decisions quickly often has the opposite effect of slowing the decision making process down, or stopping implementation of needed decisions completely.
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