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 Research Consortium, University
of Colorado, USA
Strategic Option Identification and Costing
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The principal underlying option inventory and costing is fairly simple. Parties
should systematically assemble a list of ALL the options which they believe are
available for advancing their interests, including ones which they don't usually consider
or utilize, but which might be effective in this case (this includes exchange-based and integrative options
as well as force based options).
They then need to estimate the costs and benefits of pursuing each option. This
requires an assessment of one's ability to implement the option (with or without outside
help), the likely costs of implementing that approach, and the probable reactions and
response of opponents and decision makers. (Extremely negative or antagonistic
responses raise the cost of the strategy.)
It is also important to try to anticipate future disputes. Options which produce
short-term victory may not be very desirable if they also strengthen the backlash effect
in ways which increase the number future disputes and reduce one's chances of protecting
one's interests in those situations
Links to Examples
- Kenneth E. Boulding--Three Faces of Power`
- This is a summary of Boulding's book which sets out the three fundamental power options:
threats (force); exchange (negotiation) and love (the (integrative system).
Armstrong -- Principles of Icebreaking
- Armstrong begins by noting that all the rapprochement initiatives he studies were cost
driven--successful initiatives resulted from a mutual assessment of the costs of continued
conflict and the benefits of reconciliation.
Institute Conference on Intervention in the Post Cold War World
- One of the conclusions of this conference was that third parties should consider the
costs of NOT intervening as well as the costs of intervention. This is true for parties as
well, who need to assess the costs of inaction as much as the costs of action.
Fischer, Elizabeth Kopelman and Andrea Schneider -- Consider the Other Side's Choice
- This short essay describes how to build a "table of
consequences" that can help in making costs estimates of different options.
Zartman and Saadia Touval -- International Mediation in the Post- Cold War Era
- One strategy mediators often use is to encourage the parties to consider the relative
costs of settlement and continuing the conflict.
Crocker -- Lessons on Intervention
- This article also stresses the importance of comparing the costs of intervention to the
costs of doing nothing.
Wehr--Identifying Strategic Options
- Identifying options is critical during the early stages of protest group organization,
Wehr points out in this essay.
Wehr--Power Resources Inventory by U.S. Civil Rights Leaders
- Wehr illustrates in this article how U.S. civil rights leaders examined and chose their
confrontation strategy and tactics.
Links to Outside Sources of Information
- Leaping the
Bar Overcoming Legal Opposition To ADR in the Developing World - Spring 1998 - Dispute
Resolution Magazine - Section of Dispute Resolution - American Bar Association
- This article reviews progress made toward adopting alternative dispute resolution
programs in the developing world. Both successes and obstacles are discussed, as
well as ways of surmounting obstacles.
Links to Related Treatments
of Power / Power Strategy Mix
Links to Related Problems
Failure of the Parties to Recognize
Available Force-based Options
Assuming Force is the Only Available
Failure to Anticipate Opponent
Reactions and the Backlash Effect
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