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The Conflict Paradox: Seven Dilemmas at the Core of Disputes



The Conflict Paradox: Seven Dilemmas at the Core of Disputes

Bernard S. Mayer

ISBN: 978-1-118-85295-8 January 2015 Jossey-Bass 336 Pages


Find the roadmap to the heart of the conflict

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.

Disputants and interveners alike are often stymied by what appear to be unacceptable alternatives,. The Conflict Paradox offers a new way of understanding and working with these so that they become not obstacles but opportunities for helping people move through conflict successfully..

  • Examine the contradictions at the center of almost all conflicts
  • Learn how to bring competition and cooperation, avoidance and engagement,  optimism and realism together to make for more power conflict intervention
  • Deal effectively with the tensions between emotions, and logic, principles and compromise, neutrality and advocacy, community and autonomy   
  • Discover the tools and techniques that make conflicts less of a hurdle to overcome and more of an opportunity to pursue

Conflict is everywhere, and conflict intervention skills are valuable far beyond the professional and legal realms. With insight and creativity, solutions are almost always possible. For conflict interveners and disputants looking for an effective and creative approach to understanding and working with conflict , The Conflict Paradox  provides a powerful and important roadmap for conflict intervention.

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xv

1 The Art of Conflict 1

2 Competition and Cooperation 25

3 Optimism and Realism 61

4 Avoidance and Engagement 95

5 Principle and Compromise 131

6 Emotions and Logic 167

7 Neutrality and Advocacy 201

8 Community and Autonomy 237

9 The Conflict Dialectic: Better Paradoxes, Better Conflict 267

References 295

Index 307

"In his new book, The Conflict Paradox: Seven Dilemmas at the Core of Disputes (2015, Jossey-Bass), Bernie Mayer explores the mystery of this complexity in the context of conflict engagement. It is an enjoyable and fascinating read for everyone involved in negotiation, mediation or any form of conflict engagement."
Kari Boyle, Slaw