Skip to main content

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

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

Susan L. Carpenter, W. J. D. Kennedy

ISBN: 978-0-787-95742-1

Aug 2001, Jossey-Bass

320 pages

Select type: Paperback

In Stock



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
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.



"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..." (, 1/02)