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Cooperation v Competition in Conflict

Cooperation v Competition in Conflict

What is the cooperation and competition conflict paradox?



Full Transcript

No. That’s what we think, though. We so often put out there, “Nonetheless, we’ll help you cooperate.” but that’s not the way the world works. In any serious negotiation, there is an element to use a negotiation approach that is integrated, that is looking to enlarge the pie. But there is a distributed element, as well, which is to divide that pie up, and they are not disconnected from each other.


We can nicely talk about the way of working on mutual interests and joint gains, and we should, but we have to also be aware of the part of it that is all right, but there’s also ways in which we want something for ourselves.


In order to get something for ourselves, and for you to get something for yourself, yes, we need to, at some point, enlarge the pie. But at some point, and there’s a technical word for that, we call it “pareto optimality,” that that pie isn’t going to get any larger. In fact, if we can’t help people do both elements of it, we will be used much less often.


So why do so many people undervalue mediators? Because they think all the facilitative, transformative, cooperative-type mediators are naïve, that it’s really a hard-nosed world about competitiveness. Well, of course, that’s naïve too. It is about both.


The genius of what we have to offer, whatever our role is, is that we can help people do both, and in the process, we can be more constructive in how we engage in that process.

About the mediator

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Bernie Mayer, Ph.D. is Professor of Dispute Resolution at The Werner Institute, Creighton University. He is without doubt a leader in the field of conflict resolution. Considered by many in the field of conflict resolution as an icon, Bernie has over a quarter century of experience in the field and was a founding partner at CDR Associates, the internationally recognized mediation and conflict resolution organization. Bernie originally trained as ... View Mediator