Problem Solving Workshop Theory

Herb Kelman 

Professor Emeritus, Program on Negotiation, Harvard University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

I saw what Burton was doing and this whole model of what we call now track II diplomacy, as putting into practice a social psychological approach, at least in my parochial view, I saw it as a social psychological approach to international conflict, putting it into practice directly. The work that I had been doing was more indirectly related, but this was a direct way of putting this into practice. I call it a social psychological approach because it is a way of producing change in individuals, in this case, elites, politically influential individuals, but nevertheless individuals, via a group process, via interaction with each other, as a vehicle for changing the political culture and producing changes in the policy process. It is this relationship between the individual, behavior and interaction of individuals, and larger social system functioning that, to me, is the essence of social psychology. So that is why I saw this as social psychological approach and really, in a sense, you might say, what I had been looking for all those years.