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Can Government Solve Big Problems Collaboratively?

Can Government Solve Big Problems Collaboratively?

Stefan Rajewski – Fotolia.com The Open Government Initiative of the Obama Administration has given high priority to increasing the use of collaboration in the federal government. Yet many federal offices have not in the past encouraged the sort of collaborative mindset that is necessary for meaningful efforts in this direction. As William Eggers and John […]

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Mediating on Two Tracks: the Rational and the Rest of Human Nature

Mediating on Two Tracks: the Rational and the Rest of Human Nature

Robert Benjamin’s essay on the place of irrationality in mediation, discussed in the previous post, urges mediators to focus as much on the emotional and even illogical motives contributing to conflict as on the rational analysis of issues. Many practitioners do this, in so far as they can, because they not only recognize the importance […]

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The Need for Collaborative Capacity

The Need for Collaborative Capacity

Increasingly, leaders and managers are looking to collaborative methods for dealing with contentious policy issues. When making a first attempt, they may well recognize that success takes a lot more than bringing people together to talk. They know they need guidance. The solution is often to call on a professional mediator or facilitator to design […]

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Bernard Mayer: <em>Staying with Conflict</em>

Bernard Mayer: Staying with Conflict

Some Rights Reserved by Nicholas_T In his latest book, Bernard Mayer has challenged our thinking about mediation by singling out a dimension of conflict that receives too little attention. Simply put: conflict endures, and Mayer argues that the response to it should go far beyond the immediate resolution of disputes. Staying with Conflict is a […]

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Who Controls Collaboration?

Who Controls Collaboration?

Who controls collaboration? That might seem a contradiction in terms since the process itself requires joint decisions by the participants. But the issue of control doesn’t go away so easily. Several months into policy negotiations with a large collaborative group, I arrived at the last planning session for a critical meeting that was to take […]

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Barriers to Dialogue and Consensus Building

Barriers to Dialogue and Consensus Building

There are many potential barriers to dialogue and consensus building. One is lack of familiar on the part of stakeholders with the meaning of dialogue and what it requires. (My working definition: the kind of honest talk that makes agreement possible. ) Related to that is the tendency of some participants to resort to strategies, […]

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