Resolving Personal and Organizational Conflict: Stories of Transformation and Forgiveness / Edition 1

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"Take time to listen to what is said without words . . .To obey the law too subtle to be written."—Lao Tse At the heart of any conflict are the stories that people tell about the dispute, and the resolution to the conflict lies within these stories. Resolving Personal and Organizational Conflict shows how conflict resolution can be achieved by using the narrative structural approach, an innovative method that centers on the context of the individuals in the dispute, and not just on their interests, positions, and stated needs. This visionary book is written by Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith, two renowned mediators, who have used the narrative structure method successfully in their own mediation practice to move people in conflict from stubbornness, hostility, and fear to openness, collaboration, and forgiveness. Focusing on the transformative power of stories, Resolving Personal and Organizational Conflict includes an array of case studies from the authors' first-hand experience with thousands of clients. These case studies include the perspectives of all the parties in the conflict and cover a wide range of conflicts and disputes.As the authors explain, once mediators become experienced at unearthing and understanding the deeper meaning of the stories people tell about conflict, they can learn to follow their intuition and create their own practical methods and techniques for assisting the disputing parties. To help in this process, Resolving Personal and Organizational Conflict offers specific methods for assisting disputing parties to communicate their problems without sinking into the twin traps of demonization or victimization. In addition, the authors show how to encourage people and organizations in conflict to identify new ways of sustaining supportive relationships and transforming anger into awareness, dialogue, and reconciliation. [headline] Revealing hidden stories in conflict and using their power to resolve disputes Resolvin

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is guaranteed to strike a chord with anyone seeking greater understanding of the dynamics of conflict and the paths to transformation. Cloke and Goldsmith draw on their vast experience as mediators, taking us inside the world of conflict stories. They show us how to listen at three levels and ask questions that open doors for understanding, healing, and growth. An invaluable book!" (Karl Slaikeu, president of Chorda Conflict Management; author, When Push Comes to Shove)

"An eloquent primer for anyone trying to live a successful and satisfying life. Using conflict as a prism, Joan Goldsmith and Kenneth Cloke provide an indispensable look at the elements necessary to transformation." (Eileen Moran Brown, president, Cambridge College)

"A classic! Full of timeless insights into highly sophisticated mediating. The stories are told in detail, so that moves and responses by the parties and the mediators are apparent. The mediators' exquisite sense of timing and respect for the parties combine to produce often astonishing results. Essential reading for experts as well as novices." (Barbara Ashley Phillips, author, Finding Common Ground and The Field Guide to Mediation)

"Those who seek a cookbook approach to mediation will find this volume far too rich. A varied menu of stories from the authors' twenty year practice shows how a trained ear, an open mind, a respectful and intuitive stance, and humane values can anchor and steer a broad and flexible repertoire of effective third-party practices. Tasty reading!" (Laura Chasin, director, Public Conversations Project)

Renowned mediators, Cloke and Goldsmith explain how to achieve conflict resolution through the narrative structural approach, a method focusing on the context of the individuals in the dispute and not just on their interests, positions, and stated needs. The authors describe how this method of having the parties tell their stories can move individuals from stubbornness, hostility, and fear to listening, collaboration, and forgiveness. They present a framework for understanding and working with stories of conflict, followed by 12 detailed case studies from a range of conflict situations in both professional and personal settings. Accessible to a wide audience. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787950606
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Series: Resolving Conflicts Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.37 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

KENNETH CLOKE is a mediator, arbitrator, consultant, and trainer specializing in resolving complex multiparty conflicts. JOAN GOLDSMITH is a management consultant and educator specializing in leadership development, organizational change, conflict resolution, and team building.Cloke and Goldsmith are the authors of Resolving Conflicts at Work and the forthcoming Mediating Dangerously, both from Jossey-Bass.

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Table of Contents


1. The Hidden Meaning of Conflict Stories.

2. Working with Stories to Resolve Conflict.

3. Stories Unheard and Untold.

4. Stories that Sacrifice Life.

5. Stories that Hold Organizations Hostage.

6. Stories that Justify Boundary Violations.

Conclusion: Living Happily Ever After.

About the Authors.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2001

    Stories to resolve by¿.

    Resolving Personal and Organizational Conflict addresses the struggles we all go through, from one time or another, in our personal interactions with others. The authors guide the reader through conflicts they have mediated, from the organizational to the feuding next-door neighbors, vis-à-vis stories of these conflicts and how they successfully or not so successfully mediated them. Cloke & Goldsmith do not profess to have all the answers to conflict resolution and state this throughout their text. They offer that through conducting mediations, they themselves are learning more about the mediation process. It is in this spirit, the spirit of learning and discovering for oneself the possible answers/solutions to a problem or situation, that makes this book so worthwhile. Their insights range from mediations where true resolution simply cannot be achieved but new policies or guidelines can be implemented as an outcome of the conflict to prevent it from occurring again, to openly discussing potentially explosive issues (based on past experiences) in the early stages before they do in fact become a full-blown conflict. Cloke & Goldsmith do not hold back any punches in this text, they tell each conflict story just as it was, no sugar coating here, and in so doing, bring the reader right into the picture with them. Chapter 5 in this book had just such an impact on me, so much so, that I made copies of it for several individuals involved in my own work situation to review. A picture may be worth a thousand words, and in the case of this style of text, that of learning through honest and real stories, then a story may indeed be worth a thousand pictures...

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