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

Requests to Abandon Power Options as a Precondition to Negotiation

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In the alternative dispute resolution movement in the United States, negotiation and other related forms of alternative dispute resolution are commonly portrayed as superior alternatives to more confrontational, force-based dispute resolution strategies--for example litigation. One claim that is commonly made is that mediation and negotiation are ways for the parties themselves to maintain control of the decision making process, and for power to be equalized between all participants. As we have said elsewhere in these materials, the notion that negotiation and mediation are independent of power, or that power is automatically equalized by participation in these processes is not true. Higher power parties usually have better resources and skills which will help them in the negotiation process. They often have superior alternatives to a negotiated settlement (BATNAs) as well, which gives them considerably more power in the negotiations themselves.

For this reason, low power parties often want higher power parties to agree to abandon their BATNAs-their power based alternatives to negotiation-as a precondition to starting negotiations. This will increase the likelihood that the power of the two sides at the negotiating table will be closer to equal. High power parties are unlikely to want to agree to such a stipulation however. If they agree to give up their power-based options, this essentially binds them to the negotiation or mediation process no matter how it comes out. Stripping them of their right to withdraw eliminates one aspect of their ability to maintain control of the decision making process-thereby negating one of the key features that is supposed to make negotiation and mediation superior to force-based confrontation strategies

Links to Possible Treatments for this Problem:

Power Strategy Mix


Links to Related Problems:

Distrust Opponent's Willingness to Make Commitments

Refusal to Negotiate

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