The Conflict Paradox is a guide to taking conflict to a more productive place. Written by one of the founders of the professional conflict management field and co-published with the American Bar Association, this book outlines seven major dilemmas that conflict practitioners face every day. Readers will find expert guidance toward getting to the heart of the conflict and will be challenged to adopt a new way to think about the choices disputants face.They will also be offered practical tools and techniques for more successful intervention. Using stories, experiences, and reflective exercises to bring these concepts to life, the author provides actionable advice for overcoming roadblocks to effective conflict work.
The Conflict Paradox poses seven dilemmas that permeate our thinking about conflict, whether a family crisis, a corporate dispute, or a geopolitical negotiation. Disputants often understand their choices as mutually exclusive and ask themselves the following:
- Competition or cooperation?
- Optimism or realism?
- Avoidance or engagement?
- Principle or compromise?
- Emotion or logic?
- Neutrality or advocacy?
- Autonomy or community?
This book, published in cooperation with the American Bar Association, provides a practical approach for dealing with the paradoxes that underlie almost all conflicts. Case studies, reflective exercises, and other tools enable readers to discover points of contact between seemlingly incompatible paths through conflict. The Conflict Paradox is an accessible text, ready for application in the dispute resolution field. Readers will learn to accommodate contradictions, welcome complexity, and become more fluent in the paradoxical language of change. This book will challenge how you think about both conflict and social change, and encourage you to look at the dynamics of disputing in a new way.
Praise for THE CONFLICT PARADOX
"I LOVE this book. Framing the dilemmas of conflict as paradoxes that must be managed makes exquisite sense. This wonderful road map to conflict will resonate with readers. A well-written, reflective, and thoughful approach filled with personal and practical issues. A must-read for both advocates and neutrals!"
-Andrea Kupfer Schneider, professor and director of the dispute resolution program, Marquette University Law School
"This is the best new book to come out on conflict engagement and transformation in the last five years. It will be an invaluable resource for people involved in conflicts and third parties who help to resolve serious differences and build more positive relationships."
-Christopher W. Moore, partner, CDR Associates; author of The Mediation Process
"Bernie Mayer is brilliant, and his book makes an enourmous contribution to the field. It is deep and subtle and complex and profound, and at the same time it is immensely practical, tremendously useful, amazingly comprehensive, and beautifully written. It is a classic, and it will help you navigate the chaotic waters of conflict."
-Kenneth Cloke, author of The Dance of Opposites