The Consensus Building Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Reaching Agreement

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Edited by: Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan & Jennifer Thomas-Larmer

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part 1: A Short Guide to Consensus Building

    Part 2: How to Build Consensus

    Part 3: Cases and Commentaries

  • Copyright

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    Preface

    The Consensus Building Institute (CBI) is a nonprofit organization that provides dispute resolution services to public agencies, nongovernmental groups, and corporations around the world. When we opened our doors in 1993, one of the things we set out to do was to document best practices in the consensus building field. In particular, we wanted to make this material accessible and useful—in book form—to anyone who has to solve problems or make decisions in a group setting. It was a daunting task. To accomplish it, we enlisted the help of 21 of the foremost thinkers in the dispute resolution field. The result of their efforts are the 17 chapters that make up Part 2 of this volume.

    At the same time, we wanted to assess the effectiveness of the many consensus-based approaches to helping groups reach agreement. Susan Carpenter, a member of CBI's Board of Directors and a very skilled mediator, suggested that we ask the global network of dispute resolution professionals to chronicle instances in which they had succeeded or failed in noteworthy ways. This idea led to the collection of the 17 case studies in Part 3, which were authored by 24 experienced facilitators, mediators, and scholars.

    Other members of our board then challenged us to look closely at the cases and chapters that were submitted, as well as at existing theoretical literature in the field, to see if we could summarize the most salient guidance on how to build consensus in groups. As we pursued this suggestion, it became clear that there were substantial differences of opinion worth exploring. So we convened a cross section of consensus building professionals and initiated a dialogue among them. The results of this effort became Part 1, “A Short Guide to Consensus Building.”

    Finally, we felt it was important to look beyond the dispute resolution field for insight into the practice of consensus building. We thus sought out nine experts in related fields, ranging from law to environmental science to anthropology, to provide commentary on the cases. These commentaries accompany the case studies in Part 3.

    The Handbook that emerged from these disparate sources makes what we think is a very important distinction between consensus building in temporary groups and permanent organizations. The former includes ad hoc assemblies, particularly in the public arena, established to take on short-term dispute resolution assignments of one kind or another. These collections of individuals and organizations face special obstacles as they try to reach agreement. Everyone involved has split loyalties—first and foremost to the organization or group that sent them and then to the processes they have agreed to join. Also, participants in ad hoc assemblies may have no shared culture of decision making, no history of working together, and no guarantee that the people participating will be there when implementation problems arise later.

    Permanent organizations face many of the difficulties experienced by ad hoc assemblies, but they usually have a shared history, commitments, and even loyalty to the well-being of a common entity and, often, a hierarchical leadership that can make things happen and ensure that long-term institutional promises are honored. Presumably, group learning and institutional memory help permanent organizations get better over time at certain consensus building tasks. Of course, permanent organizations sometimes find it hard to reach agreement because relationships within an organization have soured or because there is so much resistance to change.

    Our strategy, especially in preparing the “Short Guide,” was to look first at ad hoc assemblies and then to highlight important differences between the process of consensus building in these situations and the process in permanent organizations. Since one of our key objectives is to offer a replacement for Robert's Rulesof Order, and that volume focuses exclusively on how to get agreement in ad hoc or representative assemblies, it seemed appropriate that we start at that end of the spectrum.

    While this Handbook draws from a broad range of disciplines relating to consensus building, we had to set boundaries somewhere. For example, only some of the extensive guidance on how to run effective meetings has been incorporated into the Handbook. Much of that material is aimed in a different direction from our work—our interest is only in meetings that are part of a larger consensus building process. Also, there is an enormous literature on organizational development that we have not tried to incorporate, even by reference. While these dynamics are crucial to improving the long-term capacity of permanent entities to build consensus, they are not relevant to the kind of short-term problem solving and dispute resolution that command our attention. After all, every time a group is assembled and given a consensus building task, it is too late to initiate the most desirable program of organizational development. There are undoubtedly other issues or themes that we should have addressed. If so, the three editors absolve the rest of the CBI staff and all of our colleagues from any responsibility for these omissions.

    The three of us played complementary roles in the development of this Handbook. Larry Susskind, who initiated and conceptualized the project, also facilitated the dialogue among the authors, coauthored one of the chapters, and prepared the “Short Guide.” Sarah McKearnan served as project director, and as such was involved in both the editorial process and the business details of the effort. In addition, she coauthored one of the chapters and one of the cases. Jennifer Thomas-Larmer served as editor in chief, assisting the chapter contributors as they moved from preliminary outlines through successive drafts. She also co-authored a chapter.

    Fundamentally, however, this Handbook is the result of the cumulative effort of many dedicated friends and colleagues. We would like to acknowledge, first and foremost, the 52 contributing authors, without whose wisdom and effort there would be no book. We also want to thank the members of CBI's Board of Directors, who provided support, guidance, and good critical thinking at various points throughout this process. They include Max Bazerman, Susan Carpenter, Michael Lewis, John Marks, Robert Mnookin, William Moomaw, Howard Raiffa, Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Frank Sander, Linda Singer, Leslie Tuttle, Lauren Walters, and Michael Wheeler. Many of these individuals, along with Bob Barrett and Jack Wofford, provided comments on the “Short Guide.”

    Our many thanks also go to Michèle Ferenz, who took the lead in gathering and editing the case studies and working with the case authors and commentators—while pursuing her doctoral studies full time. We would also like to acknowledge Rebecca Carman and Heather Davis, who assisted with the copyediting, and Sid Straley, Polly O'Brien, and John Mitchell at CBI, who helped to prepare the final version of the manuscript. Finally, a thank-you to Marquita Flemming at Sage Publications for enabling us to imagine the final product and for providing us with encouragement and guidance at crucial moments along the way.

    We have learned a great deal from this supportive and exciting group of colleagues, and we are pleased to have had the opportunity to work with them.

    LawrenceSusskind
    SarahMcKearnan
    JenniferThomas-Larmer

    Introduction

    Every day, people are faced with the need to work with others in group settings to make decisions and solve problems. Whether they are part of a corporate team that is seeking to set strategic goals for the year or members of an ad hoc community task force tackling a complex public issue such as urban sprawl, most group members would probably rather make decisions and solve problems in a way that meets their own needs and satisfies everyone else around the table. Many people are convinced, however, that consensus—especially within large groups—is not a reasonable objective. They believe that most people are selfish and will pursue their own goals rather than search for solutions that satisfy everyone. They also assume that whenever hard choices have to be made, some people will win and some will have to lose.

    From our standpoint, these assumptions are simply not true. Through a new approach to problem solving—called consensus building—groups can forge agreements that satisfy everyone's primary interests and concerns. Using consensus-based approaches, groups can jointly develop solutions and make decisions that are more creative and more widely supported than those made using traditional decision-making methods (such as top-down decision making or even parliamentary procedure). In the process, group participants gain a mutual respect for and an understanding of each other's viewpoints, enabling them to work together more effectively in the long term. Agreements made by consensus are often more readily implemented than decisions made in other ways, because people are more likely to support an agreement that they had a hand in shaping. The benefits of consensus building have been proven true by hundreds of groups around the United States and elsewhere.

    By looking closely at the experiences of a wide range of such groups, we have determined that consensus building works best when four preconditions are met. First, group participants must tap the right kind of facilitation or mediation assistance. In the same way that groups have relied in the past on parliamentarians or experienced moderators, consensus building depends on facilitators and mediators to help manage the process, so that participants can bring all their energies to bear on the substance. Second, groups need to formalize their commitment to consensus building by adopting written ground rules or bylaws. Those who participate in consensus-based discussions are more productive and more comfortable operating within agreed-on behavioral and procedural guidelines. Third, groups that want to operate by consensus must allow themselves sufficient time to build their capacity to work in this way. Members must learn how to think about not only what meets their needs but also what might satisfy the interests of others. This may feel awkward at first, but over time, their patience and commitment will be rewarded. Finally, and perhaps most important, participants need a clear map outlining how to build consensus. This Handbook seeks to provide that map.

    Areas of Application

    Consensus building knows no topical boundaries. The examples in this Handbook deal with topics as diverse as corporate employment practices, the public health effects of air pollution, and the rights of indigenous peoples. Consensus building processes can be organized around public issues of concern at the neighborhood scale, the city level, and the state level, as well as the national or even international level. Such discussions typically involve people who represent a diverse range of interests and opinions. So, for example, a consensus-based negotiation regarding a community's air pollution problem might include doctors and public health experts, representatives of environmental groups, residents affected by the pollution, local industries that emit regulated substances, other local business interests, and officials from the state agency responsible for regulating air quality. Consensus building techniques and strategies are also productively employed, of course, to address issues that concern only a few people, such as a corporate team, a board of directors, or a church committee.

    Ad Hoc versus Permanent Groups

    In developing this book, we discovered that the advice we had to offer was best directed to two categories of groups: temporary (or ad hoc) groups and permanent groups. While the distinction between ad hoc and permanent groups is not entirely satisfying or clear, it leads to important insights regarding the practice of consensus building.

    In trying to articulate the distinction, we have focused on where group participants' loyalties lie. So, while a work team drawn from different parts of a corporation and given a short-term assignment is technically ad hoc, that team is best understood as part of an ongoing corporate entity. The participants on the team probably think of themselves as long-term members of the corporation. Likewise, a coalition of community organizations created to take on a new problem might continue its efforts for several months or even years, but because the members share no history or long-term responsibility to each other, the coalition is best understood as a temporary entity. The members of that coalition will (if they do their jobs well) stay focused on their long-term obligations to the organizations that sent them. The members of a body, such as a board of directors or a city council, may turn over very quickly, but while members of such a body, they would do well to take account of the history of that group and their obligations to the entity's long-term well-being. Thus, we consider groups such as these to be “permanent.”

    People who are members of ad hoc groups focus on their obligations and responsibilities to the organizations or groups they have been asked to represent. By contrast, people who serve as members of permanent organizations, even for a short time, typically pay special attention to the long-term well-being of that entity. The implications for the design and implementation of consensus building processes are quite important. For example, the participants in a consensus building process at a permanent organization should probably invest considerable time evaluating how they are doing and what they have learned. Such an investment would not make sense in a temporary group. Ad hoc assemblies must always spend a great deal of time getting organized. In the absence of institutionalized relationships and prior understandings, every aspect of process design and communication is “up for grabs.” While permanent organizations may want to change how they have done things in the past, they still have a history to build on. Moreover, the participants share at least their commitment to the organization of which they are all a part. The full significance of the distinction between ad hoc assemblies and permanent organizations and its impact on consensus building will become clear as the Handbook unfolds.

    Common Misperceptions

    People who have never been part of a consensus building process often make a number of wrong assumptions about what is involved. We want to dispel five common misperceptions.

    I Will Have to Give up Authority

    Elected or appointed officials, in the case of ad hoc dialogues in the public arena, and senior managers in a corporate context, often react negatively to the idea of consensus building. They assume that the only way agreement can be reached is if they give up some or all of their authority. In practice, this is not true. In a consensus building process, any player can walk away at any time. Unless the most important stakeholders “buy into” an agreement, there won't be one. If the process produces an agreement that meets each party's needs, all key stakeholders will concur. If it doesn't, they will walk away and return to whatever form of decision making they used before attempting to operate by consensus.

    I Will Be Pressured to Betray My Constituents

    Inexperienced participants sometimes assume that the way consensus is reached is through compromise—by everyone giving up some of what they want for the sake of agreement. Experienced negotiators, however, know that this is not the case. They understand that consensus must represent an outcome that is better for each stakeholder than his or her next-best option (if agreement is not reached). No one should ever give up what is important to them just so a group can reach agreement.

    I Will Lose Face

    Even some experienced negotiators assume that the way to get what they want is to “look tough” and to “give the other side a hard time.” Consensus building, they assume, is for “weaklings.” As it turns out, the negotiators with the best reputations are the ones who almost always get a good deal for the person across the table as well. The pressure they feel is to generate an agreement that meets everyone's interests. They are not concerned with looking tough. They stay focused on the outcomes they want to achieve. If consensus building produces good outcomes (and leaves relationships intact so that future negotiations are easier), then they know they will get credit for their success.

    I Will Have to Help My “Enemies”

    Experienced negotiators, agents, and representatives usually concentrate on meeting their own interests very well, while meeting other groups' interests tolerably. While they don't seek to help their “enemies” at their own expense, they aren't out to hurt them either. For participants in controversies who are as concerned about hurting their adversaries as they are about meeting their own interests, consensus building may not be a good way to proceed. The goal of consensus building is to do well for yourself or your “side,” not to hurt your enemies.

    I Will Be Forced to Abandon My Principles

    No participants in a consensus building process need ever assume that they must abandon their principles for the sake of agreement. Even when participants cannot explain why they feel that something is wrong or why they can't go along with it, they are entitled to stay out of an emerging agreement. Every participant in a consensus building process is free to disagree with whatever is proposed, for any reason whatsoever, and it should be the mediator's (or facilitator's) job to protect the person from harsh group reactions if he or she is the only holdout. While it helps a problem-solving process if everyone gives reasons for their opposition to particular ideas or suggestions, even that is not required. Consensus building does not assume that principles should be traded or abandoned for the sake of agreement. No agreement is always a legitimate outcome!

    About This Book

    The Consensus Building Handbook is meant as a reference, like an encyclopedia. We don't expect that very many people will read it from cover to cover. We do expect, however, that it will be useful to a wide range of audiences—essentially anyone who is contemplating convening or participating in a consensus building process. While we also believe dispute resolution professionals will be interested in the book, and may find the “best practices” described within it useful, it is written for a much broader audience. The Handbook stresses the advantages of informal, commonsense approaches to working together. It describes how any group can put these approaches into practice, and it relates numerous examples of situations in which such approaches have been applied.

    The Handbook has three interrelated parts. Part 1 is called “A Short Guide to Consensus Building.” It offers a summary of the prescriptive advice contained in the rest of the Handbook. The “Short Guide” is written as an alternative to the most well-known method of group decision making: the parliamentary procedures spelled out in Robert's Rules of Order (Robert, 1990). Robert's Rules assumes that the majority should get what it wants, even if the minority is left with little or nothing. All that is necessary to “win” is a larger coalition with more votes. The losers must wait until they can attract more supporters and try again. Parliamentary procedure relies on elaborate rules specifying when and how motions (i.e., proposals) can be made, how discussions should be managed (by a moderator), and how voting should be handled. The “Short Guide to Consensus Building” spells out procedural alternatives to Robert's Rules for groups that want to operate by consensus. These procedures can be referenced by any group or organization trying to write bylaws or draft guidelines to govern how they will make decisions and conduct their business. The “Short Guide” also provides helpful definitions for the most commonly used (and confused!) terms relating to consensus building.

    A summary matrix in the “Short Guide” lists the most important topics and techniques covered in the Handbook. For readers interested in how to sort and modify ground rules, for example, the matrix indicates the relevant prescriptions in the “Short Guide” as well as the relevant chapters that discuss the underlying theory.

    Part 2 is made up of 17 chapters that describe the various phases, facets, and forms of consensus building. These chapters capture the wisdom of America's most experienced dispute resolution professionals; each is written by a mediator, facilitator, or scholar with specific expertise in the chapter's subject matter. Chapter 1, “Choosing Appropriate Consensus Building Techniques and Strategies,” serves as an introduction to the chapters and cases; it describes the many factors that need to be considered in organizing a consensus-based effort and, in the process, touches on points made in all the other chapters and cases in the Handbook. Of the remaining chapters, some focus on a step or phase in a typical consensus building process (such as convening or implementing agreements); some describe activities that are typically undertaken in any attempt to build consensus (such as managing meetings or using facilitators or mediators); others explain how to deal with specific issues (such as press coverage or deep value differences among participants); and still others describe how to use consensus-based procedures in specific settings (such as within a single organization). All of the chapters provide practical advice for both organizers of and participants in consensus building processes on how to successfully seek agreement in and among diverse groups.

    Part 3 of the Handbook contains 17 case studies that illustrate the many applications of and variations on consensus building. The cases, which are cross-referenced in the chapters, describe consensus-based efforts that have taken place in both the public and private sectors, in ad hoc and permanent groups, from the local level up to the national level, on a wide range of substantive topics. Some of the cases were written by independent evaluators or researchers; others describe the firsthand experiences of those involved. The cases can be read independently of the chapters, but readers should be aware that many of the cases illustrate only selected aspects of consensus building. The “Introduction to the Cases and Commentaries” summarizes each case.

    The cases are accompanied by commentaries, written by experts in nine different fields (law, anthropology, political philosophy, environmental science, decision science, ethics, political economics, history, and social psychology). In the commentaries, these experts provide insight into and questions about the consensus processes described in the cases, from their particular disciplinary or professional perspective. None of the commentators' voices is heard in more than five of the cases.

    At the back of the book readers will find a selected bibliography, a list of contributors, and a comprehensive index. If you are not sure where to begin, you could look in the index for a topic or case study that intrests you.

    Reference
    Robert, H. M. (1990). Robert's rules of order: Newly revised (
    9th ed.
    ). New York: Scott, Foresman.
  • Selected Bibliography

    This selected bibliography offers a modest listing of books that would comprise a basic library on consensus building. Many, but not all, of these titles are referenced in the chapters and case studies in this volume.

    Arrow, K. J., et al. (Eds.). (1995). Barriers to conflict resolution. New York: Norton.
    Bacow, L. S., & Wheeler, M. (1984). Environmental dispute resolution. New York: Plenum.
    Bazerman, M., & Neal, M. A. (1992). Negotiating rationally. New York: Free Press.
    Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W M., Swidler, A., & Tipton, S. M. (1985). Habits of the heart: Individualism and commitment in American life. Berkeley: University of California Press.
    Bush, R. A. B., & Folger, J. B. (1994). The promise of mediation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Carpenter, S. L., & Kennedy, W J. D. (1988). Managing public disputes. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Costantino, C. A., & Merchant, C. S. (1996). Designing conflict management systems: A guide to creating productive and healthy organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Crowfoot, J. E., & Wondolleck, J. M. (1990). Environmental disputes: Community involvement in conflict resolution. Washington, DC: Island.
    Doyle, M., & Straus, D. (1982). How to make meetings work. New York: Jove.
    Dukes, E. F. (1996.) Resolving public conflict: Transforming community and governance. New York: St. Martin's.
    Fisher, R., & Brown, S. (1988). Getting together: Building a relationship that gets to yes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    Fisher, R., Ury, W., & Patton, B. (1991). Getting to yes: Negotiating without giving in (
    2nd ed.
    ). Cambridge, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
    Fisher, R. J. (1997). Interactive conflict resolution. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
    Golann, D. (1996). Mediating legal disputes. New York: Aspen Law and Business.
    Goldberg, S. B., Green, E., & Sander, F. (1985). Dispute resolution. Boston: Little, Brown.
    Gray, B. (1989). Collaborating: Finding common ground for multiparty problems. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Kaner, S. (1996). Facilitator's guide to participatory decision-making. Philadelphia: New Society.
    Kolb, D. M. (1994). When talk works: Profiles of mediators. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Kramer, R. M., & Messick, D. M. (Eds.). (1995). Negotiation as a social process. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    Kritek, P. B. (1994). Negotiating at an uneven table. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Lax, D. A., & Sebenius, J. K. (1986). The manager as negotiator: Bargaining for cooperative and competitive gain. New York: Free Press.
    Lewicki, R., & Litterer, J. (1985). Negotiation. Homewood, IL: Irwin.
    Mansbridge, J. (1983). Beyond adversary democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    Mnookin, R., & Susskind, L. E. (in press). Negotiating on behalf of others. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781452225524
    Moore, C. W. (1996). The mediation process: Practical strategies for resolving conflict (
    2nd ed.
    ). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Ozawa, C. P. (1990). Recasting science: Consensual procedures in public policy making. San Francisco: Westview.
    Raiffa, H. (1982). The art and science of negotiation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    Rogers, N., & McEwen, C. (1994). Mediation: Law, policy and practice. Deerfield, IL: Clark Boardman Callaghan.
    Rothman, J. (1997). Resolving identity-based conflict. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Rubin, J. Z., Pruitt, D. G., & Kim, S. H. (1994). Social conflict: Escalation, stalemate, and settlement (
    2nd ed.
    ). New York: McGraw-Hill.
    Schwarz, R. M. (1994). The skilled facilitator: Practical wisdom for developing effective groups. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Susskind, L., & Cruikshank, J. (1987). Breaking the impasse: Consensual approaches to resolving public disputes. New York: Basic Books.
    Susskind, L., & Field, P (1996). Dealing with an angry public. New York: Free Press.
    Ury, W. L. (1993). Getting past no: Negotiating your way from confrontation to cooperation. New York: Bantam.
    Ury, W L., Brett, J. M., & Goldberg, S. B. (1993). Getting disputes resolved: Designing systems to cut the cost of conflict. Cambridge, MA: Program on Negotiation Books.
    Weisbord, M. R., et al. (1992). Discovering common ground. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

    About the Editors

    Lawrence Susskind is Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was the first Executive Director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, where he still serves as Director of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program. Professor Susskind is founder and President of the Consensus Building Institute and author of 14 books including Breaking the Impasse (with Jeffrey Cruikshank, 1987), Dealing with an Angry Public (with Patrick Field, 1996), and Negotiating on Behalf of Others (with Robert Mnookin, 1999). He is an experienced public dispute mediator, having assisted in the resolution of more than 50 complex disputes. He has also presented workshops and seminars to more than 35,000 corporate executives, public sector managers, and citizen activists.

    Sarah McKearnan is an experienced mediator/facilitator of multiparty dialogues. She was Senior Associate at the Consensus Building Institute for five years, where she assisted state- and local-level groups in building consensus on environmental and economic issues including facility siting, land use, pollution prevention and remediation, and public health risks. She also facilitated a regional strategic-planning process on human service programs and policies. She serves on the faculty of the International Programme on the Management of Sustainability. She is also a trainer of negotiation and consensus building skills for public, private, and nonprofit organizations. She has authored negotiation simulations, consulting reports, and articles on the history and practice of dispute resolution in academic journals and magazines. She formerly served as editor of “Practitioners' Notebook” in Consensus, a quarterly news publication published by the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program.

    Jennifer Thomas-Larmer is a writer and editor in the dispute resolution field. She is coauthor of Negotiating Environmental Agreements (with Lawrence Susskind and Paul Levy, forthcoming) and is editor of “Practitioner's Notebook” in Consensus, a publication of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program. She has edited numerous consensus-based reports developed by multistake-holder dialogue groups, including those sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Clients have also included the President's Council on Sustainable Development and the National Recycling Coalition, among others. She previously worked as a facilitator at the Keystone Center in Washington, D.C., where she mediated policy dialogues on endangered species protection, nutrition labeling, agriculture, industrial eco-efficiency, and other issues. She holds an M.S. in natural resource policy from the University of Michigan.

    About the Contributors

    Max H. Bazerman is the Thomas Henry Carroll Ford Visiting Professor of Business Administration and Bower Fellow at Harvard Business School. He is also the J. Jay Gerber Distinguished Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Previously, he taught at the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, and the University of Texas and was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California. He is the founder and Director of the Kellogg Environmental Research Center. His research focuses on decision making, negotiation, and the natural environment. He is author or coauthor of more than 100 research articles, and author, coauthor, or coeditor of nine books, including Why Smart People Make Dumb Money Moves (forthcoming), Judgment in Managerial Decision Making (4th ed., 1998), and Negotiating Rationally (with M. Neale, 1992). Professor Bazerman received his M.S. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

    David Brubaker is the owner of Conflict Management Services, a mediation, consulting, and training organization based in Casa Grande, Arizona. He is currently a board member of the Arizona Dispute Resolution Association and is a past board member of the National Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution. He has been active in the dispute resolution field since he served as Associate Director of the Mennonite Conciliation Service from 1986 to 1988. During that period, he edited their newsletter, Conciliation Quarterly, and developed and edited the tape series “When You Disagree. … “Since 1988, he has published in the Alban Institute's journal Congregations, Christianity Today, and Conflict Resolution Notes. He holds an MBA from Eastern College and is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Arizona.

    Chris Carlson is Codirector of the Policy Consensus Initiative, a nonprofit organization that works with state officials to establish and strengthen consensus building and conflict resolution efforts. She has been active in the conflict resolution field for more than 15 years, serving as mediator, facilitator, trainer, and consultant. She was formerly Executive Director of the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management. Prior to her work at the Ohio Commission, she was Program and Legal Officer at the Kettering Foundation. She has also been Cochair of the SPIDR Environment/Public Disputes Sector and Cochair of the committee that produced the Best Practices for Government Agencies report, and she has served as a local elected official.

    Susan Carpenter is a mediator, trainer, and author. She works with the public and private sector to address controversial issues at the local, state, and national levels. Her practice includes mediation, collaborative planning, and consensus building. She also teaches others to use mediation, negotiation, consensus building, and facilitation tools. She was the founding Director of the Program for Community Problem Solving in Washington, D.C. and Associate Director of ACCORD Associates in Boulder, Colorado. She holds a doctorate in future studies from the University of Massachusetts and taught for two years in Ethiopia as a Peace Corps volunteer. She is the author of numerous articles and coauthor of Managing Public Disputes (1988).

    Nike Carstarphen is dedicated to intergroup reconciliation and peaceful social change. She specializes in facilitating dialogue and problem-solving processes, and training in conflict resolution, prejudice reduction, and intercultural communication. She has worked with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, police departments, schools, and at-risk youth in the United States and abroad. She is currently conducting an evaluation of peer mediation programs in northern Virginia schools. Her publications include articles in Negotiation Journal and Teaching and Change, and presentations at numerous conferences. She has taught courses in peace and conflict resolution at American University (AU) and George Mason University (GMU). She has an M.A. in international affairs from AU and is completing her Ph.D. dissertation at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at GMU.

    Sarah Connick is a doctoral candidate in environmental science, policy, and management at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on the use of consensus building processes in the making of California water policy. Prior to entering this graduate program, she directed environmental science policy studies for the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

    Kate Connolly has been active in the public sector for 25 years, both on a municipal government level and with numerous nonprofit organizations. Her professional activities have focused primarily on community development, but her work has also involved women's advocacy, the implementation of community strategic plans, and public policy analysis. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Windsor (Ontario) and a master's degree in public administration from Queens University (Ontario). She is currently working toward a joint Ph.D. in urban and regional planning and recreation and leisure studies at the University of Waterloo, Canada. She owns a consulting firm specializing in organizational, community, and policy development.

    Jarle Crocker is Program Associate with the National Civic League's Program for Community Problem Solving (PCPS). He has been Adjunct Professor of Communication at George Mason University for four years, teaching classes in interpersonal and small-group communication. As a facilitator, trainer, and consultant on community collaboration, he has focused on issues related to public participation in local government decision making, systems change initiatives for local government, intergroup conflict in schools, and the resolution of community conflicts over resource use, environmental justice, and related ecological issues. He received a degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. His publications include “Challenging Huntington” in Foreign Policy (with Richard Rubinstein, 1994) and the PCPS working papers System Reform and Local Government: Improving Outcomes for Children, Families, and Neighborhoods and Building Community: Exploring the Role of Social Capital and Local Government.

    Norman Dale is Senior Planner and Administrator for the Oweekeno-Kitasoo-Nuxalk Tribal Council, an organization representing shared interests of three tribes in British Columbia. He completed several years of graduate study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of Urban Studies and Planning and holds an M.S. in marine ecology from Nova Scotia's Dal-housie University. He is coauthor of Building Consensus for a Sustainable Future: Putting Principles into Practice (published by the National Roundtable on Environment & Economy, Ottawa, Canada) and an earlier book about Native land claims. He has written several articles on the use of alternative dispute resolution in fisheries conflicts, and he serves on the editorial board of Consensus, a periodical of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program. He has also served as coastal policy adviser to several Canadian provincial governments, Canada's Department of Indian & Northern Affairs, and First Nations. He is a member of the Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution and is on the board of the British Columbia Coastal Communities Network. He lives on the Nuxalk Indian Reserve in Bella Coola, British Columbia.

    Peter Driessen graduated in urban and regional planning from the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He is now Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Utrecht University. Most of his research is related to the relationships between environmental planning and physical planning and with network management. His recent publications include “The Scope of Cooperative Management: Concluding Remarks” in Co-Operative Environmental Governance: Public-Private Agreements as a Policy Strategy (1998), “Performance and Implementing Institutions in Rural Land Development” in Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design (1997, vol. 24), and “Innovative Decision-Making on Infrastructure and Environment: Experiments with Network Management in the Netherlands” in European Spatial Research and Policy (1996, vol. 3, no. 2).

    John R. Ehrmann has been involved in the application of collaborative processes in public and private sector settings for almost two decades. He has extensive experience facilitating national-and international-level legislative and regulatory dialogues and negotiations dealing with environmental policy issues and other topics related to sustainable development. He has provided facilitation services to the President's Council on Sustainable Development, the National Commission on Superfund, and policy dialogues on the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act, among many others. He also served as Project Director for several advisory councils that addressed the implementation of multiple environmental statutes. He also facilitates internal organizational processes, including strategic planning, organizational development, advisory committees, and processes designed to further collaborative decision making and sustainable development. Dr. Ehrmann is a founding partner of the Meridian Institute, a nonprofit dispute resolution organization. He holds a Ph.D. in natural resource policy and environmental dispute resolution from the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment.

    Michael L. Poirier Elliott is Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology. His specialties include public policy dispute resolution and environmental management. He currently serves as Director for Research at the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and Codirector of the Southeast Negotiation Network. In these capacities, he mediates and facilitates public consensus building processes, designs dispute management systems, and conducts research in policy implementation and conflict management. These activities have focused on resolving disputes over solid and hazardous waste, siting and managing locally unwanted facilities, risk management policy, resource management, and growth management. Dr. Elliott also provides training and dispute systems design consultations in Estonia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, and Israel. He has also conducted over 40 training workshops in public policy conflict management and negotiation. He has published numerous articles on dispute resolution and coauthored a book, Paternalism, Conflict and Co-production (1983). He received a master's degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in urban and regional studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    David Fairman is Senior Associate at the Consensus Building Institute (CBI). An experienced mediator and facilitator, he has assisted groups in building consensus on environmental, economic development, human services, and facility siting-related policies and projects. He also provides negotiation training and education services for public, private, and nonprofit organizations. He directs CBI's Workable Peace Project, which teaches teenagers to understand and manage conflict between groups, and serves on the faculty of the International Programme for the Management of Sustainability. He has authored numerous negotiation simulations, consulting reports, journal articles, and book chapters. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a member of the Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution.

    Juliette A. Falkner is Director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat and Regulatory Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior. She graduated from Albion College in Albion, Michigan. In 1985, she received a Fulbright scholarship to study European labor politics in Germany. She received her J.D. in 1990 from the Washington and Lee University School of Law. She is a member of the Arizona State Bar. Prior to joining the Department of the Interior, she served as a judicial clerk to U.S. District Judge Stephen M. McNamee in Arizona.

    Michèle Ferenz is Senior Associate at the Consensus Building Institute and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on environmental management and conflict resolution in the Middle East. She has worked for CBS News, the New York Times, and the International Herald Tribune in Italy. She has also worked as a consultant for the Charles R. Bronfman Foundation on a project fostering economic development in the Middle East. Her publications include “The Design of a Palestinian-Israeli Water Commission: A Best Practices Approach” (published in 1995 as part of the Environment and Natural Resources Program Discussion Paper Series by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University).

    Patrick Field is Senior Associate at the Consensus Building Institute and mediator/facilitator with extensive experience facilitating multistakeholder dialogues on environmental policy and management issues, including public health, risk management, air and water pollution remediation, and energy. He cofacilitated the Northern Oxford County Coalition (NOCC) process with Sarah McKearnan. He is coauthor of Dealing with an Angry Public (1996) as well as numerous consulting reports, negotiation simulations, and journal articles. He also provides training in negotiation, facilitation, and consensus building to public sector clients in the United States and Canada. He received his master's degree in urban studies and planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a member of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution.

    John Forester is Professor and Chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include the micropolitics and ethics of planning practice, including the ways planners work in the face of power and conflict. For the past decade, he has been producing “profiles” of planners, mediators, and participatory action researchers in the United States and abroad. His previous published work includes Planning in the Face of Power (1989), Making Equity Planning Work: Leadership in the Public Sector (with Norman Krumholz, 1990), The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning (edited with Frank Fischer, 1993), and The Deliberative Practitioner (1999).

    Dwight Golann is Professor of Law at Suffolk University in Boston, where he teaches mediation and dispute resolution. He is the principal author of Mediating Legal Disputes (1996), co-winner of the CPR Institute Award for best book in the dispute resolution field in 1996. He chairs ADR programming for the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association (ABA), and formerly served in that capacity for the Business Law Section of the ABA. During 1998, he was Visiting Scholar at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. He is an active mediator, serving on the panels of the CPR Institute, the New York Stock Exchange, and other forums. He was formerly a civil litigator, and while on academic leave served as Chief of the Government Bureau and Trial Divisions for the attorney general of Massachusetts, directing the defense and settlement of all civil litigation for the commonwealth. He is an active ADR trainer and has led seminars on mediation and negotiation throughout North America and Europe.

    Michael A. Hughes is Partner at CDR Associates, where he specializes in public policy mediation. He has extensive experience in conflict resolution, facilitation, and training in the public sector, where he has conducted regulatory negotiations, policy dialogues, and site-specific mediations. He uses those same principles to assist private companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies to effectively recognize, raise, and resolve their own conflicts. He holds a master's degree in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor's degree in political science and sociology from the University of Denver. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He received leadership training through the University of Colorado Center for the Improvement of Public Management's Rocky Mountain Program, and he was trained in mediation by CDR Associates.

    Judith E. Innes is Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has been on the faculty since 1974. She is also Director of Berkeley's Institute of Urban and Regional Development, an interdisciplinary, campuswide research unit. She is author of Knowledge and Public Policy (1990) and editor of The Land Use Policy Debate in the United States (1981). She has published many articles in planning and public policy journals on the role of information in policy processes and on the design of policy-making and implementation systems. Professor Innes's recent research has focused on collaborative planning and consensus building in growth management, environmental planning, and transportation. She is also Director of the University-Oakland Metropolitan Forum, a partnership between the university and the city of Oakland, which has developed new visions of the city, done research, and completed collaborative projects. She has a Ph.D. in urban studies and planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Mark Kishlansky is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of English and European History and Associate Dean of the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Previously, he taught for 16 years at the University of Chicago, where he was a member of the Committee on Social Thought. A specialist in seventeenth-century British history, he has written extensively on political structures and political change and coined the usage consensus politics to describe the nature of political decision making in the early seventeenth century. Among his books are The Rise of the New Model Army (1979), Parliamentary Selection: Social and Political Choice in Early Modern England (1986), and A Monarchy Transformed (1997). He is coauthor of Civilization in the West (3rd ed.) and Societies and Cultures in World Civilizations (1994) as well as editor of Sources of the West (3rd ed., 1997), Sources of World History (2nd ed., 1998), and Political Culture and Cultural Politics in Early Modern England (1995).

    James E. Kunde, in his 30-year career, has worked as a city manager, a program director for a national foundation, a scholar and instructor in public administration, a director of innovation programs, an instructor in group process techniques, and a facilitator and mediator. While at the Kettering Foundation, he directed the development of the negotiated investment strategy, a highly successful experiment involving a negotiated approach to the expenditure of federal, state, and local resources in specific communities. He is currently Executive Director of the Coalition to Improve Management in State and Local Government, located at the University of Texas at Arlington in the School of Urban and Public Affairs. The coalition was developed to link the directors of national organizations of governmental officials together around common concerns to achieve excellence in public management.

    David Laws is Lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a faculty associate at the Harvard-MIT Program on Negotiation. His research focuses on the development of deliberative practices and institutional arrangements in the public sphere. Recent publications include “Research for Policy and Practice” in Integrating Knowledge and Practice (with Martin Rein, 1997), “The Practice of Fairness” in Environmental Impact Assessment Review (1996), “Talking with the Future: Sustainability and Stewardship as Intergenerational Dialogue” in National Forum (with Lawrence Susskind), “Responsibilite transgenerationnelle et decisions publiques” in Communications: Generations et filiation (1994), and “Siting Solid Waste Management Facilities in the U.S.” in Handbook of Integrated Solid Waste Management (with Lawrence Susskind, 1994, McGraw-Hill). He holds a Ph.D. in urban studies and planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Michelle LeBaron is Associate Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in Virginia. She draws on her experience as a lawyer and a therapist in developing innovative scholarship, pedagogy, and practice in the conflict resolution field. In her previous position as Director of the Multiculturalism and Dispute Resolution Project at the University of Victoria, Canada, she published research and training resources for intercultural conflict resolution. She has worked in several countries around the world to design training and interventions in public policy, environmental, family, intercommunal, commercial, and organizational conflicts. Her current work focuses on gender, culture, and psychological dimensions of conflict. She holds an M.A. from Simon Fraser University and an LL.B. from the University of British Columbia.

    Gianni Longo is a founding Principal of ACP Visioning & Planning, a consulting firm with offices in New York City and Columbus, Ohio. For the past two decades, he has pioneered the development of programs designed to involve citizens in decision-making processes. In 1984, he conceived and developed Vision 2000, a program of community goal setting in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This program, at the time the first of its kind, is credited with stimulating more than $790 million in development projects in that community. Subsequently, Mr. Longo has assisted communities and institutions throughout the country, including Chattanooga again (ReVision 2000), Washington, D.C. (a transportation and land use vision), and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (a vision for a Comprehensive Plan), to name a few.

    Jane Mansbridge is the Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values and Faculty Chair of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She is author of Beyond Adversary Democracy (1983) and Why We Lost the ERA (1988), corecipient of the American Political Science Association's Kammerer Award in 1987 and the Schuck Award in 1988, editor of Beyond Self-Interest (1990), and coeditor with Susan Moller Okin of the two-volume collection Feminism (1994). Her current research includes work on representation, trust, the relation between coercion and deliberation in democracy, the public understanding of collective action problems, and the mutual interaction between nonactivists and social movements.

    Judy Mares-Dixon is Partner at CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado. She has extensive experience in mediating organizational disputes, community disputes, disputes involving cross-cultural issues and issues of discrimination, and family disputes including divorce and child custody. She has a background in civil rights. She is also a trainer and consultant in facilitation and dispute systems design. Her clients include Levi Strauss & Co., United Airlines, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MediaOne, and Lucent Technology.

    Daniel Markovits received his B.A. in mathematics at Yale University and then was awarded a Marshall Scholarship, which enabled him to return to England, where he was born. He received an M.Sc. in econometrics and mathematical economics from the London School of Economics before moving to Oxford, first to Balliol College and then to Christ Church, where he was elected Senior Scholar of the House in 1994. At Oxford, he studied philosophy, first for a B.Phil., which he received in 1994, and then for a D.Phil., which he will complete in the spring of 1999. During his last years at Oxford, he was simultaneously enrolled at Yale Law School, where he will receive his J.D. in the year 2000.

    Scott McCreary is cofounder and Principal of CONCUR, Inc., a California-based firm specializing in environmental policy analysis, planning, and mediation of agreements on complex natural resource issues. He earned his doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of Urban Studies and Planning with an emphasis in environmental policy and conflict resolution. He has also served as Associate of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program. He previously held research appointments at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of California Berkeley Center for Environmental Design Research. He also serves as Lecturer in UC Berkeley's Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, and annually teaches the courses “Negotiating Effective Environmental Agreements” and “Facilitating and Mediating Effective Environmental Agreements” at that university. He has mediated more than 30 agreements on a wide range of issues, including statewide water use planning, statewide risk assessment, regional land use planning, flood protection and habitat restoration, regional water supply, wetlands management, and remediation of contaminated sites.

    Julie A. McKay is Program and Training Specialist at CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado, where she works as a mediator, trainer, and coordinator of conflict resolution programs. She first practiced community-based mediation in 1988 and subsequently trained Better Business Bureau staff and volunteers throughout the country in mediation, arbitration, and communication skills. She also served as a mediator of consumer disputes. She earned an M.A. in international peace studies in 1993 from the University of Notre Dame and is also certified as a Training Specialist by Georgetown University.

    Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow is Professor of Law at Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C. Prior to taking this position in 1996, Professor Menkel-Meadow was Professor of Law at UCLA for 17 years, serving also as Codirector of UCLA's Center on Conflict Resolution. She has served as a visiting professor at the University of Toronto and Stanford Law School and as a clinical professor at the University of Pennsylvania. A national expert on alternative dispute resolution, the legal profession and legal ethics, clinical legal education, feminist legal theory, and women in the legal profession, she has written and lectured extensively in these fields. She sits on numerous boards of public interest organizations and the editorial boards of journals in dispute resolution, law, social science, and feminism. She often serves as a mediator and arbitrator in public and private settings and has trained lawyers and mediators in the United States and abroad. She holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and an LL.D. (Hon.) from Quinnipiac College of Law.

    Sally Engle Merry is Professor at Wellesley College. She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Brandeis University in 1978. She is author of Urban Danger: Life in a Neighborhood of Strangers (1981), Getting Justice and Getting Even: Legal Consciousness among Working-Class Americans (1990), and Colonizing Hawai'i: The Cultural Power of Law (1999) and coeditor of The Possibility of Popular Justice: A Case Study of American Community Justice (with Neal Milner, 1993). She has published numerous articles and review essays on legal ideology, mediation, urban ethnic relations, and legal pluralism. She was President of the Law and Society Association from 1993 to 1995 and President of the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology from 1996 to 1998. She is currently working on a project on the cultural dimensions of violence against women in local and global spaces.

    William Moomaw is Professor of International Environmental Policy and Director of the International Environment and Resource Policy Program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is also Director of Tufts Institute of the Environment, which initiates and coordinates interdisciplinary teaching, research, and outreach across the university. His research explores the intersection of science and public policy and the ensuing development of international and domestic policy for scientifically based issues such as global climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, air pollution, acid deposition, and chemical contamination. He previously taught at Williams College as Professor of Chemistry and as Director of the Williams College Center for Environmental Studies. He also directed the World Resources Institute's Climate, Energy, and Pollution Program. He earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Carl M. Moore is Professor Emeritus at Kent State University, where he taught and conducted research in argumentation theory and small-group behavior for 26 years. During that time, he also worked in 35 states and 10 countries, coaching communities in how to conduct community-wide goal setting and visioning, facilitating organizational decision making, directing the development of strategic plans, conducting retreats and evaluations for community leadership programs, and training people how to facilitate. His original contributions to the field of consensus building include the negotiated investment strategy, budget expenditure reduction process, large-scale conference design (such as for the White House Conferences on Balanced National Growth and Economic Development and Small Business), and the friendly use of interpretive structural modeling. He cochaired the gubernatorial commission that created the Ohio Office of Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management and has worked for many years, primarily with the Kettering Foundation, on strategies to help locally elected officials to use collaborative approaches.

    Christopher W. Moore, Partner at CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado, has worked in the field of decision making and conflict management for more than 20 years and is an internationally known mediator, facilitator, dispute systems designer, trainer, and author in the field of conflict management. He holds a Ph.D. in political sociology and development from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He is author of The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict (2nd ed., 1996), which is recognized as a standard text on mediation. He has helped to resolve disputes involving public policy development, negotiated rulemaking, a full range of environmental issues, organizational restructuring, collective bargaining, intra- and interdepartmental differences, personnel grievances, ethnic relations, and charges of discrimination. He has also assisted in the development of personnel dispute resolution systems for clients as diverse as Levi Strauss & Co., U.S. WEST Communications, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    Connie P. Ozawa is Associate Professor in the School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, where she teaches graduate courses in negotiation, environmental policy and planning, and planning theory and practice. Before coming to Oregon in 1994, she was Associate at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and taught courses on negotiation and dispute resolution at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and Tufts University. She has provided negotiation training to groups including South Pacific Island state diplomatic service professionals, teachers union representatives, health services providers, and environmental and community activists. She is author of Recasting Science: Consensus-Based Procedures in Public Policy Making (1991). She earned an M.A. from the University of Hawaii and a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Patsy Palmer is a facilitator and writer in Florida. Her professional interests are in facilitating complex, multiparty decision making about community and public policy issues. She received a master's degree in conflict resolution from Antioch University in September 1998. She also holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a master's degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School. She had earlier careers in journalism and government, working for Gannett and Knight-Ridder newspapers, President Jimmy Carter, the Florida Legislature, and two Florida governors.

    John Parr is a cofounder and Principal of the Center for Regional and Neighborhood Action, a Denver-based nonprofit organization dedicated to linking the energy at the neighborhood level with regional strategies that involve collaboration among government, business, and nonprofit organizations to improve the quality of life of all residents. He is an attorney with extensive experience in strategic planning, mediation, urban planning, and sustainable development. He was Codirector of a project titled Boundary Crossers: Community Leadership in a Global Age. He has written and spoken extensively on collaborative community problem solving. He is Chair of the Institute for the Regional Community and the Pew Civic Entrepreneur Initiative, a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and a Commissioner of the Denver Urban Renewal Authority. He has been President of the National Civic League and an adviser to Denver Mayor Federico Peña and Colorado Governor Dick Lamm.

    Scott Peppet is Lecturer on Law and Senior Fellow on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, where he has taught negotiation and dispute system design. He is coauthor of a forthcoming book with Robert Mnookin and Andrew Tulumello, Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: How Lawyers Can Create Value in Negotiation, and author of several articles. His current research interests include how dispute resolution systems within organizations facilitate or inhibit organizational learning.

    Susan L. Podziba specializes in public sector mediation and consensus building and is known for designing processes to fit the unique characteristics of given conflicts. In addition to being a Principal and Mediator at Susan Podziba & Associates, she is Visiting Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Her past projects include the design and implementation of consensus processes to develop a city charter for Chelsea, Massachusetts, which was under state receivership; an environmental management plan for Casco Bay, Maine under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program; and a plan to reduce the incidental takings of marine mammals as required under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. She is Past President of the New England Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution and a former Associate of the Public Disputes Project of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. She has a master's degree in urban planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

    William R. Potapchuk is Executive Director of the Program for Community Problem Solving (PCPS), a division of the National Civic League. PCPS helps communities develop and manage collaborative approaches to decision making, service delivery, intergovernmental relations, and community change. He has extensive experience as a facilitator, mediator, and consultant on collaborative systems. He has worked on major projects for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Federal Transit Administration. He is the former Associate Director of the Conflict Clinic, Inc., now the Applied Practice and Theory Program at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University (GMU). He holds an M.A. in political science from the University of Missouri and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in conflict resolution at GMU. He has worked with coauthors on Pulling Together: A Planning and Development Consensus Building Manual (1994) and the PCPS working papers Negotiated Approaches to Environmental Decision Making in Communities: An Exploration of Lessons Learned and Building Community: Exploring the Role of Social Capital and Local Government.

    Howard Raiffa is the Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Managerial Economics, Emeritus, at Harvard University, a post he has held for more than 30 years. He was also Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council Committee on Risk and Decision Making. Previously, he held teaching and research positions at Columbia University, Stanford University, and the University of Vienna. He served for several years as Director of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenberg, Austria. He has been awarded several honorary doctorates: from Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, and the University of Michigan, and Ben-Gurian University. Professor Raiffa received the Lanchester Prize for his book Decision with Multiple Objectives: Preferences and Value Tradeoffs, with Keeney (1976). Some of his more recent books include Decision Making: Descriptive, Normative, and Prescriptive Interactions (1988), The Art and Science of Negotiation (1982), and Smart Choices (1999). He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

    Colin Rule graduated from Haverford College in 1993 and is currently studying public policy, at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government as a Kennedy Fellow, and dispute resolution, at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. He worked for the National Institute for Dispute Resolution in Washington, D.C. and has published articles in Peace Review, The Fourth R, and Consensus and authored The Planning and Design of Student-Centered Collegiate Conflict Management Systems, which was published by the National Association for Mediation in Education. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995 to 1997 and is the cofounder of Shine-A-Light, a nonprofit organization that works with street children in Central America. Currently, he is Business Manager for Consensus, a quarterly newspaper focusing on public policy dispute resolution.

    Charles F. Sabel is Professor of Law and Social Science at Columbia Law School, a post he has held since 1995. He was formerly the Ford International Professor of Social Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His recent publications include A Constitution of Democratic Experimentalism (with Michael C. Dorf, 1998, revised version forthcoming), Worlds of Possibility (ed. with Jonathan Zeitlin, 1997), Ireland: Local Partnerships and Social Innovation (with the LEED Programme of the OECD, 1996), The Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity (with Michael Piore, 1984), Work and Politics: The Division of Labor in Industry (1982), and numerous articles on economics and social organization. He received his Ph.D. in government from Harvard University.

    Edward Scher, Associate at RESOLVE Center for Dispute Resolution, located in Washington, D.C., is currently helping to facilitate a negotiated rulemaking associated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's drinking water regulations. Previously, Mr. Scher was Associate at the Consensus Building Institute. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uruguay, where he assisted local community groups in their efforts to promote natural resource conservation on the coast of the Rio de la Plata. He holds a master's degree in city planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.S. in environmental studies from George Washington University.

    Melinda Smith is the founding Executive Director of the New Mexico Center for Dispute Resolution, where she created a range of mediation programs in community, youth, and juvenile justice settings and authored and edited manuals on youth mediation used throughout the United States. She has done extensive training in the Middle East in conflict resolution and human rights education. She has served as Cochair of the National Association for Community Mediation and a member of the Mediation Quarterly editorial board. She is affiliated with the national firm Public Decisions Network and with a public policy dispute resolution group at the University of New Mexico. Her prior experience includes directing a civic and law education program for the State Bar of New Mexico, teaching at universities in Algeria and Iran, and managing federal programs for the Ramah Navajo tribe. She holds an M.A. from the University of Michigan.

    Barbara L. Stinson has more than a decade of experience designing, facilitating, and analyzing collaborative processes. She has helped individuals and institutions in the public and private sectors pursue innovative approaches to identifying problems and solving conflicts, particularly on air quality, transportation, land use, and natural resource management issues. She facilitates internal organizational processes including strategic planning, organizational development, and processes designed to further collaborative decision making and sustainable development. She is a founding Partner of the Meridian Institute, a nonprofit organization providing neutral services in a variety of problem-solving contexts. Ms. Stinson has mediated and facilitated a variety of multiparty consensus processes, including the EPA's National Low Emission Vehicle Program and Endangered Species Act Implementation Dialogue. She has provided internal assistance to the EPA, American Forest and Paper Association, S.C. Johnson Wax, and the American Lung Association. She has a master's degree in city planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in environmental conservation from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

    David A. Straus is Chairman of the Board and a founder of Interaction Associates, LLC, an international consulting and training firm. Under his guidance, Interaction Associates has become a recognized leader in organizational development, group process facilitation, training, and consulting. He is responsible for major change efforts in a wide variety of organizations, including those in the health care and service industries, and has worked with social action partnerships in Newark, New Jersey, and Palm Beach County, Florida. Since its founding, Interaction Associates has consulted and provided training services to more than 1,000 clients, including 175 of the Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Harvard University. Under grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the Carnegie Corporation, he has conducted research in creativity and developed training programs in problem solving. He also coauthored the best-seller How to Make Meetings Work (1982).

    Jan Jung-Min Sunoo is Regional Director for the Western Region of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which covers the 13 western states including Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Rim. Before his appointment to his current position, he worked as a federal mediator in the greater Los Angeles area for nine years. He also worked in the Teamsters Union, where he was a truck driver and shop steward at United Parcel Service before being elected to a business agent position. He has held teaching positions at San Francisco City College and the City College of New York, and he has practiced clinical psychology at the Watts Health Center in South Central Los Angeles. Appointed by L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley to the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, he headed up projects related to improving interethnic tensions, and he continues to be a well-known resource in the area of cross-cultural conflict resolution.

    Eric E. Van Loon, Senior Mediator with JAMS/Endispute in Boston, has more than 10,000 hours of experience in facilitation, mediation, arbitration, and dispute resolution training. He specializes in complex, multiparty, high-stakes disputes and has conducted consensus building processes on issues such as electric industry deregulation, sports stadium construction, and a national safe drinking water negotiated rulemaking. He is experienced in cross-cultural dispute resolution, having mediated consensus among Indian gaming, business, and Indian education representatives. He is a member of a number of state and federal dispute resolution panels. Previously, he served in a variety of Massachusetts state government positions including Assistant Secretary of Environmental Affairs, Undersecretary of Economic Affairs, and Massachusetts Mediation Service Advisory Board Chair. He has also been an adjunct Lecturer at both Boston University School of Law and Harvard Graduate School of Education, and he previously headed a national, nonprofit educational and advocacy group. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a master's degree from the London School of Economics.

    Irene Weiser is a former veterinarian, whose interests in doctor-patient communication have led her far afield. To develop the communication skills she thought important for practice, she has volunteered as a rape crisis counselor, a “buddy” to people living with AIDS, and since 1992, a mediator at the Community Dispute Resolution Center in Ithaca, New York. At the time of the interview with Mike Hughes (see Case 14), she was a graduate student in education at Cornell University. She recently left academe to pursue a career in human services. Her interest in mediation remains strong, however. Most recently, she was trained in transformative mediation by the U.S. Postal Service and has been approved to work for them as a mediator of employment disputes.

    Peter J. Woodrow, Program Director for CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado, has more than 20 years' experience as a mediator, facilitator, trainer, and consultant. He has mediated and facilitated multiparty environmental, organizational, and public policy disputes, and he has developed and implemented international programs in consensus building, problem solving, and decision making in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. He holds a master's degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He has provided custom-designed training programs and dispute resolution systems design consultation to government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit groups. Clients have included the Western Governors Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, among many others. In addition to his career in conflict management, he has worked intermittently for 30 years in international development and relief in Asia and Africa and is coauthor of Rising from the Ashes: Development Strategies in Times of Disaster (2nd ed., 1998).

    The Consensus Building Institute, Inc.

    The Consensus Building Institute, Inc. (CBI) is committed to refining the art and science of consensus building. A nonprofit organization, CBI was created by leading practitioners and theory builders in the field of consensus building. CBI was established in March 1993 and received its 501(c)3 not-for-profit status in September of that year.

    CBI's Mission is to
    • undertake and publish the results of independent studies and assessments of consensus building and dispute resolution efforts in the United States and abroad;
    • assist public and nonprofit agencies and institutions in the United States and abroad in their efforts to develop and employ consensus building and dispute resolution in performing their public-interest functions; and
    • conduct workshops, seminars, and other training programs, and develop and disseminate instructional materials and practice guides, designed to advance public understanding of the theory and practice of dispute resolution and consensus building.

    During the past five years, CBI has provided training and facilitation services to a broad spectrum of domestic and international public agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the U.S. Department of Energy; the Massachusetts Military Reservation; the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning, and the Environment; the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat; and ambassadors to the World Trade Organization.

    CBI Organizes its Activities around Three Guiding Principles
    • Consensus building is an extremely important societal resource. Indeed, agreement (and the action it enables) constitutes a kind of social capital. We must develop this resource in a rigorous and systematic way.
    • Consensus building can and should be applied to the broadest possible range of problems, in all levels of government, in all kinds of organizations, and among all kinds of stakeholding interests, not only in the United States but in countries around the world.
    • Effective training is an essential building block in consensus building, and people of widely varying backgrounds and age groups can benefit from appropriately designed training.

    The Work of CBI

    CBI is Involved in Four Kinds of Activities
    • Assistance to public agencies and officials

      CBI's founders have been involved in the design and implementation of consensus building efforts at the local, state, and national levels. We draw on this extensive experience to help government entities develop new consensus building and dispute resolution capabilities.

      Our Board established fields of specialization include health and environmental standards (acceptable levels of risk), infrastructure and facility siting, land use and sustainable resource development, health care and human resource management, organizational redesign, and intergovernmental relations.

    • Consensus building internationally

      Consensus building approaches are broadly applicable in all parts of the world and to the full range of international issues. While care must be exercised to take account of cultural differences, CBI has had success in applying consensus building techniques in different parts of the world. The international arena is fraught with conflicts. It involves multiple parties—nations, private actors, and nongovernment organizations—all of whom are demanding a voice. CBI is engaged in the assessment of numerous multilateral negotiations and institutional interventions designed to prevent or resolve conflict.

      Our established fields of specialization include formulating multilateral environmental treaties, the management of sustainable development, achieving compliance with international agreements, and the facilitation of informal policy dialogues involving the highest level officials and nongovernmental actors.

    • Documentation and evaluation of current practice

      CBI supports practical studies to determine what works (and what doesn't) in the field of dispute resolution and consensus building. Are established techniques and institutional arrangements effective? Are innovations in the field achieving what was intended? CBI has undertaken numerous studies for a range of public agencies, foundations, and nonprofit organizations.

      Our Board of Directors includes some of the country's best known researchers in the consensus building field. We are also linked to the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program at Harvard Law School and the Environmental Policy Group at MIT.

    • Design and evaluation of training efforts

      Literally hundreds of training programs attempt to teach various aspects of consensus building, including negotiation, dispute resolution (i.e., mediation), and conflict prevention. There is growing pressure to add courses to public school curricula, college programs, professional degrees, and continuing education programs. We must determine which models of training and education are most effective under various circumstances.

      CBI designs and sponsors a limited number of training programs of its own, intended to test new approaches to the field. For example, through our Workable Peace Program we are offering courses and developing materials to help high school teachers teach conflict resolution in inner-city schools.

    For additional information, please direct your inquiries to


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