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. Any person involved in an interpersonal conflict (as a disputant) might want to consider the following questions.
Have you identified the other people who are involved or are likely to become involved in this issue?
Are you clear about your underlying goals and interests? Is restoring relationships an important (or your most important) interest?
For more information about this topic, see: Setting Goals, Interests, Rebuilding Relationships, 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?
Learn the History
Are there underlying issues that are contributing to your conflict?
Does the conflict involve a history of unrightable wrongs? Are you aware of options for transforming such conflicts?
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?
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
Emotional and Psychological Dimensions
Do you know to what extent 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?
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?
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?
Are you familiar with different response options?
Do you have a strategy for explaining your goals and actions to other parties? For persuading others that your goals are reasonable and equitable?
Have you been able to earn the trust of people who are skeptical of your intentions and motivations?
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, Capacity Building, Sanctions, Incentives
If the conflict becomes violent, do you have a strategy for de-escalating the violence and preventing it from occurring again?
If the conflict you are involved in has become overly complex, do you understand theories of complexity and how to deal with it?
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
Envisioning the Future
Have you envisioned the end goals of your peacebuilding process?