Checklist for Adversaries
Beyond Intractability checklists offer users involved in various conflict situations lists of things to think about, along with links to sections of Beyond Intractability that relate to each item. People involved in a public policy conflict (as a disputant) might want to consider the following questions.
Identify Stakeholders / Interest Groups
Have you identified the many other interest or stakeholder groups (as well as individuals) who are involved or are likely to become involved in this situation?
For more information on this topic, see: Parties to Intractable Conflict, Disputants, Leaders, Stakeholder Representatives
Are you clear about your underlying goals and interests? Do you understand how these are different from your positions and why the distinction is important?
For more information on this topic, see: Setting Goals, Interests, Integrative or Interest-Based Bargaining, Distributive Bargaining, Positional Bargaining, Creating and Claiming Value, Underlying Causes of Intractable Conflict, Frames, Framing and Reframing
Determine the Conflict Stage
Is the conflict latent, developing or fully escalated? Has it become intractable? Is the conflict ripe for resolution or do you feel it is in your best interest to continue with the status quo--or even escalate the conflict?
For more information on this topic, see: Conflict Stages, Nature of Intractability, Ripeness, Constructive Escalation
Do you understand the history of this conflict including the underlying issues that led to it?
For more information on this topic, see: High-Stakes Distributional Issues, Rich / Poor Conflicts, Development and Conflict,Underlying Causes of Conflict
Do you know how much of the conflict might be attributable to misunderstandings? If not, do you know how to set up communication processes that might be able to answer this question? And, do you know how to set up communication processes that might limit these misunderstandings?
For more information on this topic, see: Misunderstandings, Channels of Communication, In-Depth Communication, Cross-Cultural Communication, Large-Scale Communication, Interpersonal - Small-Scale Communication
Emotional and Psychological Dimensions
Do you know the extent to which your responses are due to emotional and psychological dimensions such as anger, fear or prejudice? Do you know what is causing these reactions and how to address them?
For more information on this topic, see: Psychological Dynamics, Ethos of Conflict, Prejudice, Anger, Fear, Distrust, Guilt and Shame, Humiliation, Face
Do you know how much of the conflict is attributable to disagreements regarding the basic facts? If not, do you know how to set up communication processes that might be able to answer this question? And, do you know how to set up joint fact-finding processes that might limit factual disagreements?
For more information on this topic, see: Fact-Finding, Factual Disputes, Uncertainty, Obtaining Trustworthy Information, Distinguishing Facts from Values
Culture and Conflict
Are cultural misunderstandings contributing to the conflict? Are there differences between you and the other parties such as nationality, language, gender or age? Do you know some strategies for overcoming cultural differences?
For more information about this topic, see: Culture and Conflict, Cultural and Worldview Frames, Communication Tools for Understanding Cultural Differences, Culture-Based Negotiation Styles, Cross-Cultural Communication, Women in Intractable Conflict
Do you know how much of the conflict is attributable to escalation and polarization? Have you developed and implemented effective steps to limit or reverse this effect?
For more information on this topic, see: Escalation, Constructive Escalation, Polarization, Limiting Escalation - De-escalation
Are you familiar with the different options for intervening in an interpersonal conflict?
For more information on this topic, see: Peaceful Change Strategies, Conflict Assessment, Setting Goals, Activism, Empowerment, Coalition Building, Negotiation, Nonviolent Direct Action, Activism Rebuilding Relationships
Levels of Action
What level of society do you belong to: grassroots, midlevel or elite? How can you work effectively with other levels of society?
For more information on this topic, see: Hierarchical Intervention Levels, Elite Leadership, Midlevel Leaders, Grassroots Leaders, Multi-Track Diplomacy
Anticipate Stakeholder Reactions
Have you determined how the other stakeholder groups are likely to react to your efforts? Who will be your allies and supporters? Who will be your opponents? Here, it is important to recognize within group differences as well as between-group differences.
For more information on this topic, see: Within-Party Differences, Moderates, Extremists - Spoilers, Leaders and Leadership, Conflict Profiteers, External Supporters
Coalition Building / Conflict Minimization
For each of the various stakeholder groups likely to be involved in the conflict, have you considered ways of minimizing their opposition to your efforts while simultaneously strengthening your network of allies and supporters?
For more information on this topic, see: Coalition Building, Empowerment, Power Inequities
Do you have a strategy for explaining your goals and actions to other stakeholders? For persuading others that your goals are reasonable and equitable?
For more information on this topic, see: Channels of Communication, In-Depth Communication, Persuasion
Have you been able to earn the trust of people who are skeptical of your intentions and motivations?
For more information on this topic, see: Trust and Trust Building, Managing Interpersonal Trust and Distrust, Limiting Escalation - De-escalation, Humanization of Extremists
Power / BATNAs
Are you clear about the nature of power and how it affects your ?alternatives to a negotiated agreement?? Are you clear about the powers available to other stakeholders? Have you been able to demonstrate to people the powers that you are willing to use to defend your interests? (Here you should consider legal, political, and economic power as well as the ability to resist violent assaults.)
For more information on this topic, see: Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA), Understanding Power, Coercive Power, Exchange Power, Integrative Power, Nonviolence, Power Inequities, Empowerment
If the conflict becomes violent, do you have a strategy for de-escalating the violence? If the violence is on a small scale such as gang violence in a school, is it possible for you to prevent the violence? If the violence is on a national or international scale, is there anything you can do to decrease the suffering caused by the violence?
For more information on this topic, see: Limiting Escalation and De-Escalation Preventing Interpersonal Violence
Dispute Systems Design
Do you expect a continuing series of similar disputes? Do you know about options for developing a system for the handling of routine disputes?
For more information on this topic see: Designing New Dispute Resolution Systems
Have you envisioned a more constructive way of dealing with this conflict in the future?
For more information on this topic, see: Envisioning