Wednesday, September 5, 2007

ESRP Journal Entry...

So I'm a little behind on my journal as I missed the first simulation and felt like I had little to go on in regards to formulating a worthwhile discussion on my experience in class.

However, yesterday I had the opportunity to actually show up for the conflict resolution simulation where are engaged in a process of addressing the issue regarding degraded clam beds in hypothetical county here in Washington state. Anyway, my position is to represent the Pacific Northwest Salmon Coalition in this mock-up negotiation process.

The experience was extremely interesting and brought home a lot of the readings we have been doing up to this point in a way I did not expect. I got a sense that despite the focus upon human resources based framing that Emmett takes, I find myself possessing a very politically oriented frame where I was constantly trying to identify ways to gain leverage through the initial phases of the negotiation process. The strange thing is we are only in the phase of formulating ground rules. We haven't even begun to address the issues on the table.

I guess through the process I became very aware how critical the ground-rules are in any negation procedure and especially the ground-rules that dictate decision-making among the group. Now, I have been doing a lot of reading regarding the processes associated with conflict negotiation or engagement if that is the preferred lexicon, but until you actually engage in it many of these concepts are just that, concepts. It seems that with out rising out of the book in some concrete way they would ultimately remain some abstract thing.

So overall I would say that the simulation process is an extremely useful mechanism for driving many of these central concepts home, even if it appears hokey at first. For instance, I could recognize the frames I was working out of; I recognized the value of clarity in all aspects that govern procedures and rules. As an example referring back to frames, I notices that at first my basic inclination was to work from a human resources frame as it seems that is the frame most commonly spoken about. However, despite my initial leaning towards that approach I found a political frame coming in when my initial conception or frame was not being accepted by others within the simulation, so I began conceiving of ways through political means to achieve a more human resources based set of ground-rules. Ha!

I’m a schemer….

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