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Beyond Neutrality: Confronting the Crisis in Conflict Resolution

ISBN: 978-0-7879-6806-9
336 pages
May 2004, Jossey-Bass
Beyond Neutrality: Confronting the Crisis in Conflict Resolution (0787968064) cover image


In this thought-provoking, passionately written book, Bernard Mayer—an internationally acclaimed leader in the field—dares practitioners to ask the hard questions about alternative dispute resolution. What’s wrong with conflict resolution? Why aren’t more individuals and organizations using conflict resolution when they have a problem? Why doesn’t the public know more about it? What are the limits of conflict resolution? When does conflict resolution work and when does it not?  Offering a committed practitioner’s critique of the profession of mediation, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution, Beyond Neutrality focuses on the current crisis in the field of conflict resolution and offers a pragmatic response.
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Table of Contents


Part One: The Crisis.

1. Conflict Resolution: A Field in Crisis.

2. The Resistance to Conflict Resolution.

3. The Use (and Misuse) of Mediation.

4. Ten Beliefs That Get in Our Way.

5. Conflict Resolution and Society.

Part Two: From Resolution to Engagement.

6. The Power of Engagement.

7. The Conflict Specialist.

8. Embracing Advocacy.

9. Redefining Conflict Resolution.


About the Author.


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Author Information

Bernard S. Mayer, Ph.D., is a partner at CDR Associates, in Boulder, Colorado. He has worked since the late 1970s in the conflict resolution field as a mediator, facilitator, trainer, researcher, program administrator, and dispute systems designer. He is the author of The Dynamics of Conflict Resolution: A Practitioner’s Guide (Jossey-Bass, 2000), as well as many other writings about conflict and conflict resolution.
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The Wiley Advantage

  • The first book to offer an insider's critique of the profession of mediation, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution -- and a rallying cry on how to move on.
  • A timely book that isn't afraid to ask the tough questions about the practice of conflict resolution.
  • Concludes that conflict resolution has stalled but still has unrealized potential and must move to a new level of skill, acceptance, and productivity.
  • Urges practitioners to go beyond neutrality to redefine conflict resolution at a level of participation more appropriate to the current era
  • Bernie Mayer is a star in the world of conflict resolution, bestselling author, and extremely popular speaker and trainer.
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“In this passionate and provocative book, Bernie Mayer challenges the field of conflict resolution to reinvent itself so as to include advocacy and engagement at its core. Mayer practices what he preaches by engaging us in a vital discussion sure to stir productive controversy.”
--William Ury, co-author, Getting to Yes and author, The Third Side

“Takes us into challenging and potentially transforming territory by shedding light on how too narrow a commitment to neutrality or an exclusive focus on ‘resolving’ disputes can limit our usefulness in the clashes of passion, positions, and power struggles inherent in how people actually confront (and avoid) their deepest conflicts.”
--Gail Bingham, president, RESOLVE, Inc.

“As professional fields develop, people look back and identify a few books that stand out because they marked turning points wherein the stroke of a pen incisively pushed both theory and practice to a higher plane of understanding and purpose. Beyond Neutrality will mark such a place for the conflict resolution field in the first decade of this century.”
--John Paul Lederach, professor, the Kroc Institute and Eastern Mennonite University

“This book will inspire conversations that will shape our field for years to come.”
--David Hart, CEO, Association for Conflict Resolution

“Guaranteed to spark lively debate and dialogue.
--Nina Meierding, former president, Academy of Family Mediators

“The first major step toward the field’s ‘second wave.’”
--Christopher Honeyman, director, Broad Field Project

"Berine Mayer's book is honest, forthright, nd filled with wise and loving criticism for the field of conflict resolution heas significantly helped to build."
--Jay Rothman, president, ARIA Group, and author, Resolving Identity-Based Conflict in Nations, Organizations and Communities

“Mayer exposes some tough realities that focus on how we have limited our identity, narrowly defined what we do, and why disputants don’t always like what we have to offer.”
--Brian Polkinghorn, associate professor, Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution, and executive director, Center for Conflict Resolution, Salisbury University

Beyond Neutrality is a foundational work for creating a deepened, more robust field. The premises of this book will be debated, revised, and expanded, but they will set the agenda for our field for the next generation.”
--Carl Schneider, director, Mediation Matters, Bethesda, Maryland

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