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

Scale-up Problem

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The "scale-up problem" is another limit to negotiated agreement, and is closely linked to the EATNA limit (expected alternatives to a negotiated agreement). Often in interorganizational, intergroup, or international negotiations, the negotiators do not have final authority to accept an agreement. They negotiate on behalf of other people--government leaders or citizens, business owners or CEOs (chief executive officers) or union members, for example. Often, the negotiators will have a transformative experience that occurs through participation in the negotiation process itself. They will come to recognize the legitimacy of the opponent's positions, interests, and needs, and will develop a respect for the opponent that their constituency often does not have. This causes the negotiators to make concessions that may not be approved of or agreed to by the constituents. Yet it is the constituents, ultimately, that must often ratify the agreement.

Like the EATNA limit, the scale-up problem often leads to a last minute breakdown of negotiated settlements, as the negotiators are unable to "scale up" their transformation to their constituents, and hence are unable to get the constituents to agree that the final settlement is a good one. Thus, there is a tendency for constituents to reject the negotiated settlement--and the negotiators--and turn to their EATNA, if they do not understand how the negotiated agreement is superior to their expected alternative.

In past writing we have referred to this phenomenon as the "mirage effect." Agreement often appears as a mirage--a shimmering image just off in the distance. Yet just as a mirage disappears as one approaches it, so often do negotiated agreements which fall victim to EATNA and scale-up problems.


Links to Examples of the Scale-up Problem:

Mediating the Oslo Accords on the Middle East
This is a short essay about Norway's facilitation of the Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestinians. One of the problems encountered during the negotiations were disagreements within the parties when the agreement was close to being concluded. Another was the impact of public opinion--both of which were examples of scale-up problems.
Prenegotiation Decisions
This article discusses five structural barriers to successful negotiation of hazardous waste disposal disputes. One of the barriers is "answerability," which refers to the fact that different negotiators have different constituencies to whom they answer. When these constituencies have differing (and mutually incompatible) interests, the answerability or scale-up problem becomes severe.
Louis Kriesberg - Camp David Aftermath
The scale-up problem was one of several reasons why the full Camp David Accords were not carried out.
Stephen Ryan--Peacekeeping and Peacemaking
This essay examines several failed attempts at peacekeeping and peacemaking.  One cause of failure is when leaders move toward peace took quickly, before constituents are ready.  This occurred, for example, in 1957 in Sri Lanka when the Sinhalese Prime Minister granted the Tamils limited autonomy, which was quickly overturned as a result of a violent backlash.
Paul Wehr--Reality Reconstruction Workshops
This article discusses the "re-entry" problem which is a variation on the scale up problem which occurs when workshop participants have to re-enter their normal communities.


Links to Possible Treatments of this Problem:

Constituent Involvement Strategies


Links to Related Problems:

Limits to Agreement: Better Alternatives

Requests to Abandon Power Options as a Precondition to Negotiation

Refusal to Negotiate

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