Monday, August 27, 2007

Journal for ES/RP 535

So along with presenting my thinking on patterns this blog is also going to serve as a journal for my classes. I have been asked to keep a journal for at least one of my classes which means that I will have to make at least 2 "lengthy" posts a week regarding the readings and experiences of the in class simulations. Which, I don't think will be to hard.

Anyway, the class is Environmental Conflict Resolution, which appears to be a very hands-on class that attempts to bridge course readings with in class simulations where students take on the characters of various parties within a particular environmental conflict. While so far we have only to set the stage for our first simulation I have had an opportunity to begin digging into the readings for the course.

Immediately, I was struck by the parallels between some of the literature and the work already present within the Liberating Voices! project. For instance, one of the initial readings assigned was by Lee Bolman and Terrance Deal titled “Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership,” that addressed the various frames used in Conflict Negotiation. The basic frames they highlight are the Structural Frame, the Human Resource Frame, the Political Frame and the Symbolic Frame. All of these have their own purpose at a given time that help accentuate the others, in a sense empower the others when crossroads in negotiation out live the usefulness of a particular frame. That is not to say that frames don’t come in and out of the picture over time, but their basic illustration seemed to mimic a pattern based approach that recognizes the inherent dynamic complexity of conflict negotiation.

After contemplating the reading I could see how these various elements could be used to serve as elemental patterns to enable the functioning of an already existing pattern, Multi-party Negotiation for Conflict Resolution recorded by Helena Meyer-Knapp and Stewart Dutfield.

Just as interesting though is the examples used in the pattern description which parallel one of the other readings provided in class that was essentially an excerpt from "Getting to Yes." In a way it shows how the various people associated with the pattern project have come together in ways to identifying missing links in the system to help continually refine and adapt the repository. It also shows how useful ideas make their way into the minds of people and represent an impact that equates into their adoption into a system that is meant to be a record of social heuristics, in this case the heuristic is for conflict resolution.

Likewise, delving into these readings also highlights areas where pattern participants could either begin to further refine these conflict centric patterns or even use this Multi-party negotiation pattern to aide in defining a set of sub-patterns directly related to the practice of negotiation and conflict resolution.

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