Conflict Assessment Pre-Negotiation

Larry Susskind

Co-Director of the Public Disputes Program, Inter-University Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

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 ???).

The problem I think for a lot of people in the field is they think there is an option of whether they do an assessment. They confuse the mandate of the convener with the product of a conflict assessment. They think a conflict assessment is something where the assessor has a few private conversations with a few key people and if those people say go forward you go forward. I think that has dramatically held back the application of dispute resolution in the public arena. Because the decision to go forward is a big deal and the parties have to be engaged in structuring the ideas about going forward and now finally we know how to do this. It takes an investment of time and money and energy and effort to form an assessment, but if you do that, then I expect that when we go forward it will be with some very good chance of getting the parties to be there and of getting a useful result.