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


Winning and Losing

An outcome is considered a "win" if it leaves a party in a better position than they expect. In a similar way, a "loss" occurs when a party is left in a worse position than they expect. Here the key concept is "expectations." In cases where the parties expect to be worse off in the future they are likely to regard a settlement which leaves them "less worse off" as a "win." For example, a group which feels that it is on the brink of military defeat is likely to view a favorable surrender agreement as a "win." An environmental group which expects the logging industry to continue destructive logging practices may consider a modest improvement in those practices to be a "win."Conversely, a group that expects to win is likely to view a settlement which slightly limits their winnings as a loss. This is one reason why armies which are on the verge of victory are often unwilling to accept a settlement short of total surrender. This also helps explain why winning parties are reluctant to share their winnings.

These expectations are also referred to as "expected alternatives to a   negotiated agreement, or EATNAs."  EATNAs do not have to be realistic to motivate behavior. Whatever the parties believe about their alternatives is going to determine what they do. If their beliefs are inaccurate, then they are likely to make poor decisions which they are likely to regret and which they would not have made had they had better information. This is one reason why efforts to help parties accurately assess their alternatives to negotiated agreements are such an important part of efforts to make conflicts more constructive.

(More information on EATNAs is found in Constructive Confrontation Theoretical Framework and in Limits to Agreement: Better AlternativesInformation about assessing the relative costs and benefits of alternatives can be found in Reality Testing.

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