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Managing Public Disputes: A Practical Guide for Professionals in Government, Business, and Citizen's Groups

ISBN: 978-0-7879-5742-1
320 pages
August 2001, Jossey-Bass
Managing Public Disputes: A Practical Guide for Professionals in Government, Business, and Citizen


For more than a decade, Managing Public Disputes has been the first choice, hands-on guide for managers, offering useful instructions for handling a wide range of large and small public controversies from the national to the community level. It includes:
  • Ten proven principles for managing conflict
  • A comprehensive framework with step-by-step procedures for creating productive outcomes
  • Seven illustrative case examples
  • Detailed advice on effective methods for collecting information, conducting interviews, and analyzing a conflict situation
  • Suggestions for handling special problems such as reluctant participants, keeping people at the negotiation table, and handling situations where emotions are running high
  • Eight tasks targeted for designing an overall strategy for managing public disputes
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Table of Contents

The Authors.

Part 1: Public Controversies and Conflict Management.

1 Understanding Public Disputes: The Spiral of Unmanaged Conflict.

2 Dealing with Conflict Productively: Alternatives and Case Examples.

3 Developing an Effective Program of Conflict Management: Ten Principles.

Part 2: A Step-By-Step Process for Managing Public Disputes.

4 Analyzing the Conflict.

5 Designing a Strategy and Setting Up the Conflict Management Program.

6 Adopting Procedures, Educating Parties, and Developing Options.

7 Reaching and Carrying Out Agreements.

Part 3: Ensuring the Success of Conflict Management.

8 Guidelines for Making the Program Work.

9 Paying Attention to Underlying Dynamics: Values, Trust, Power.

10 Handling the Human Side of the Process.

11 Removing Roadblocks.



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Author Information

SUSAN L. CARPENTER is a mediator and trainer. She is the founding director of the Program for Community Problem Solving in Washington, D.C. and a founding board member of the International Association of Public Participation. She was the associate director of ACCORD Associates, a nonprofit conflict management organization in Boulder, Colorado for ten years.

W.J.D. KENNEDY was the executive director of ACCORD Associates for fourteen years. He has consulted with a wide variety of private organizations and city, county, state, and federal agencies.

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"This book has become a classic, offering sound advice about how to understand and use conflict resolution processes in the public policy arena." (Chris Carlson, codirector, Policy Consensus Initiative)

"A classic must-read for professional mediators, public officials, and involved citizens! Managing Public Disputes is a masterful blend of theory, practical application, and engaging stories that take the conflict resolver step-by-step through the dynamics of resolving public disputes." (Susanne Terry, mediator and faculty, Mediation Program, Woodbury College)

"Required reading for anyone wanting to turn stalemate into results. It is foundational for the practice and teaching of collaborative policy making." (Susan Sherry, executive director, California Center for Public Dispute Resolution, A Joint Program of California State University, Sacramento and McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific)

"The book is a truly excellent starting point for readers, mediators and facilitators..." (Mediate.com, 1/02)
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