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International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution

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Issue 1, 2014 Expand all abstracts
Editorial

Deepening the Definitions of Success and Failure

Authors Michal Alberstein and Jay Rothman
Author's information

Michal Alberstein
Michal Alberstein is Head of the Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation Program at Bar-Ilan University.

Jay Rothman
Jay Rothman is Associate Professor in the Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation Program at Bar-Ilan University.
Article

Lessons from the Frontiers of Failure

Second-Order Social Learning and Conflict Resolution

Keywords conflict resolution, social learning, intractability, failure, adaptation
Authors Oliver Ramsbotham
AbstractAuthor's information

    From the beginning, second order social learning has been at the heart of conflict resolution. Learning from failure was seen by the founders of the field to be essential for individuals and social groups if they were to adapt and survive in a constantly changing environment. This article traces the origins of this concept within the field and then applies it to the field itself. How well has conflict resolution responded to failure during its 60 year development? Where are the ‘frontiers of failure’ today? The article ends with an example of adaptation to failure drawn from my own work on what can be done in the communicative sphere when, so far, conflict resolution does not work.


Oliver Ramsbotham
Emeritus Professor of Conflict Resolution, University of Bradford
Article

Transformative Mediation

A Self-Assessment

Keywords relational approach to mediation, transformative mediation, ideology and mediation, Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, USPS REDRESS Mediation Program
Authors Joseph Folger and Robert A. Baruch Bush
AbstractAuthor's information

    Transformative mediation is an approach to third party intervention that has been implemented in a range of dispute settings over the past twenty years. This article offers an explanation of what led us to develop the transformative model of mediation, and an assessment of the body of work related to both the theory and practice of transformative mediation. Specifically, we offer an assessment of: how well the relational premises of the model have been articulated, whether transformative practice remained aligned with its underlying premises, what the impact of practice has been, and what effect this approach to conflict intervention has had on the discourse of the conflict field in general.


Joseph Folger
Joseph Folger, Ph.D., is Professor of Adult and Organizational Development at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. He is a co-founder of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation (<www.transformativemediation.org>).

Robert A. Baruch Bush
Robert A. Baruch Bush, J.D., is Rains Distinguished Professor of Law at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, New York, U.S.A. He is a co-founder of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation (<www.transformativemediation.org>).
Article

The Success-Failure Anxiety in Conflict Resolution

Between Law, Narrative and Field Building

Keywords conflict resolution, failure, procedural, post-structural, constructive, success
Authors Michal Alberstein
AbstractAuthor's information

    The paper discusses success as a managerial notion, on the basis of efficiency measures and consequential thinking, and contrasts it with success as a more procedural internal notion within the second generation of conflict resolution. The appeal to success in the conflict resolution field is considered as based originally on efficiency and effectiveness, while implicitly inspired by philosophical principles and moral values. Later, when new models based on identity and relationship emerged, more explicit emphasis on process and internal validity became part of the definition of success. The paper describes the particular anxiety of aspiring for consequential success in the realm of law. It also offers a model to evaluate success while assuming its open-ended and complex nature. Defining success from within a context many times helps to capture more deeply the phenomenon of conflict resolution intervention.


Michal Alberstein
Head of the Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation Program, Bar-Ilan University.
Article

Reflexivity and the State of Success and Failure in Our Field

Keywords reflexive, conflict engagement, success, failure, learning
Authors Jay Rothman
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this piece, I contrast success and failure in creative conflict engagement as related continua on a scale of relevance. Not always is success a good thing (for example, if goals are pedestrian or wildly unrealistic) nor is failure a bad thing (if we or the parties gain useful insights from it). Indeed, I suggest that the very effort to wrestle with these concepts is in itself a reflexive value and practice that will help our field become more robust and interesting. Moreover, I suggest by being reflexive about such questions, we will be developing a new petite theory-in-use (as opposed to a more ambitious and unrealistic grand theory) for our field.


Jay Rothman
Associate Professor in the Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation Program, Bar-Ilan University.
Article

No Career Ladder for Mediators

A Failure of the Field

Keywords mediator career, new mediators, career ladder, access to field, practice cases
Authors David Matz
AbstractAuthor's information

    As a field, mediation has excellent training and education and excellent service delivery. But it has no career path from the completion of education to a case flow practice. There is no apprenticeship process, there is no way to gain experience with significant cases, there is no structure for serious supervision, there is no way to establish a reputation for professional competence. The result is the loss of many talented, particularly young, mediators. One major cause is a failure to attract cases valued at more than small claims level and less than, say, $100,000. The field needs to focus on this gap in its professional process.


David Matz
Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Partner at The Mediation Group, Brookline, Massachusetts.
Article

Success in Conflict Intervention Is What We Make of It but Significance Is the Goal

Keywords conflict intervention research, measure of success, measure of significance, third party impact, mediation
Authors Brian Polkinghorn and Abraham (Avi) Mozes-Carmel
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines two issues relating to why and how we measure and derive any meaning of ‘success’ regarding the effective intervention into conflict episodes. The first issue focuses on who we say we are in relation to what we do as interveners and researchers who occupy an eclectic and clustered field of study and practice. We argue the field itself impacts the framing of success and as such we should resist the urge to fuse the field into tightly bound conceptual frameworks or through any unifying theories and remain – at least for now – a wide open and diverse conglomerate so as to focus our attention on the fission of unique ideas. The second issue argues that there is no one universal or ‘normal’ framework or method relating to how we measure success in conflict intervention. Therefore we argue that the measure of success is not the true aim of conflict intervention research, but rather gaining an understanding of the significance and impact the process and intervener have on the parties.


Brian Polkinghorn
Brian Polkinghorn is Distinguished Professor and Program Director at the Department of Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution and Executive Director at the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution, Salisbury University, USA.

Abraham (Avi) Mozes-Carmel
Abraham (Avi) Mozes-Carmel Senior Research Fellow at the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution, Salisbury University, USA.
Article

Success and Failure in ADR

A Dialogue between Partners

Keywords collaborative, adjudicatory, pedagogy, interdisciplinary, diversity
Authors Lela P. Love and Joseph B. Stulberg
AbstractAuthor's information

    Love and Stulberg critically discuss policy, scholarly, and practice developments in four areas of program development in the area historically referenced as alternative dispute resolution (ADR): the range of process options; the impact of court procedures on ADR program development and practice; the nature of ADR scholarship and training; and the general public's receptiveness to or rejection of the normative principles that structure ADR collaborative processes. Their concluding remarks suggest that the promise of ADR, particularly of the mediation process, remains inspiring to many, even if its effective implementation remains uneven.


Lela P. Love
Lela P. Love is Professor of Law and Director of the Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.

Joseph B. Stulberg
Joseph B. Stulberg is the Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution at The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law.