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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Most dialogue, negotiation, and consensus processes involve a relatively small number of people, who may be acting on behalf of a much larger constituency. As the small group works together over time, they often develop a level of understanding, trust, and an image of the problem that differs considerably from their constituents, who have not been involved in the small group process.
Then, when the representatives come back to their constituents with a proposal which seems reasonable to them (as they understand the constraints under which it was developed), the constituents may react very differently, because they don't have the understanding of the process or the substance of the ongoing discussions. (Some scholars refer to this as the "re-entry problem,"--negotiators or dialogue participants must "re-enter" their old groups, but when they do so they find they are not welcome, but rather are shunned, and their work denounced, not applauded.)
One of the causes of this problem is inadequate communication with the constituent groups as the small group process is going on. Although it is impossible to have everyone involved in the negotiation or dialogue, if the results of the process are to be transferred to the larger population, the representatives should frequently check back with their constituencies to make sure they understand what is happening in the small group process and, in the case of negotiation, feel as if they have adequate input to it. Without frequent communication with constituents, the risk of a re-entry problem and the rejection of any ultimate agreement increases significantly.
Public Information Strategy
Public Participation Mechanisms
Constituent Involvement Strategies
New, Poorly Informed Participants
Constituent Communication Problems
Lack of Communication Channels/Avoided Communication
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