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  Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised by the whole Brexit affair. I’m not talking about the result of the vote itself, but about the referendum process, the behaviour it engendered, and its aftermath. All the classic features were present. Classic features of what? Well, of binary processes. Those that offer a win/lose, yes/no, remain/leave…

Living Systems

“You cannot direct a living system; you can only disturb it”1 When mediators join a conflict, they enter a living system. Realise it or not, that system is instantly changed by their arrival. Change may be for the better, and we hope our influence is benign, but nothing is the same again. It therefore makes…

‘Tis the season to be merry. And indulgent. ‘Tis also the season when favourite songs are compiled by well-meaning souls into apparently themed collections. In the UK, we have a long-running radio show called “Desert Island Discs” in which celebrities and others select their favourite pieces of music as they reminisce about their lives. The…

“Yes we speak of things that matter With words that must be said” [Paul Simon, “Dangling Conversation”] I’m posting this a litle earlier than usual, but we all know of the distractions that will only be compounded in the coming week. For about ten years, before we moved to Singapore, our Thursday morning breakfast conversations…

This comment has its origins in two events, separated by distance and utterly different in origin and impact, yet still linked by a common theme. This is also a partial continuation of the conversation started by Martin Svatos in the preceding entry: http://kluwermediationblog.com/2015/11/22/je-suis-paris-do-the-mediators-have-right-to-be-xenophobic/ One event, front and centre in our media and in the lives…

Paris_KLUWER

One week after the terrorists’ assaults in Paris, one may have witnessed a whole scale of different responds to this terrible tragedy: From the manifestation of solidarity and fraternity to the expression of hatred and collective responsibility judgements. The later is alerting, especially when you can see it among the dispute resolution professionals. Do mediators…

Catching up on a few episodes of Game of Thrones recently, I was enjoying the string-pulling, manipulation and orchestration being engaged in by almost everyone in the fictional world of Westeros. None of the rulers really make their own decisions, all are influenced and steered by others who all have their own agendas. Some do…

It is the beginning of the school term at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore, where in this semester, I teach a Negotiation Workshop. In our first class yesterday, we played a pricing game based on the Prisoner’s Dilemma. There are many versions of this pricing game and it essentially introduces participants to…

John Nash died this week, in a tragic car accident. John Nash was the Nobel-prize winning mathematician whose theory of non-cooperative games published in 1950 has been described as one of the top ten ideas in economics in the 20th century. His theory introduced and explored the concept of what is known as Nash equilibrium….

It’s funny how one thing leads to another. Regular Kluwer blogger Ian Macduff posted a great blog earlier this week on the importance of asking questions. That reminded me that I had intended to get hold of a book by Edgar Schein entitled “Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling”. So, I…