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 their best-selling book on negotiation, Getting to Yes, Fisher, Ury, and Patton compare three kinds of negotiation or bargaining: soft, hard, and principled. Hard bargaining involves the negotiation of positions, rather than interests. It is highly competitive, seeing victory as the number one goal. Hard bargainers, according to Fisher, Ury, and Patton, see the participants as adversaries, and demand concessions as a condition of the relationship. They distrust the other side and play sneaky games to try to gain the negotiating advantage. For example they will hold firm to their opening position, refusing to make concessions, they may mislead the opponent about their bottom line and demand one-sided gains as the price of an agreement. They will apply tricks and pressure in an effort to win what they see as a contest of will. Hard bargaining, as described by Fisher, Ury, and Patton is very similar to what is called "distributive bargaining" by other theorists--although there are enough differences to warrant a different essay on that topic.
When confronted with a softer opponent, hard bargaining almost always will win. When confronted with another hard bargainer, however, it can result in no agreement, or an agreement which leaves potential mutual benefits "on the table." (In other words, such benefits are not discovered or obtained.) ) Fisher, Ury, and Patton suggest that principled negotiationwhich negotiates interests rather than positions is the best alternative to either hard or soft bargaining.
Overly Competitive Approaches to a Conflict
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