Joint Problem Solving

The Harvard Union of Clerical & Technical Workers (HUCTW) and Harvard University are committed to solving workplace problems.

We have found that it is highly effective to do this in a collaborative rather than adversarial way.

The parties are brought together in an environment free from political pressure, usually an academic setting, where they can directly talk to each other with the help of social scientists who are skilled in group facilitation and conflict management.

The participants can be divided into three categories: "pre-influentials" or young scholars (their participation makes the educational aspect of the workshops more important); "political influentials" or well-known intellectuals (they can influence political decision making and bring new knowledge in conflict analysis); and political actors (at this level the political or transferring aspect of the process prevails).

The primary goal is not just establishing interaction, but creating the conditions for mutual conflict analysis and recognition, as well as joint problem-solving.

Joint Problem Solving

The model has the purpose of transforming social systems by influencing the attitudes of respected opinion makers.Facilitators are also committed to peaceful solutions that would satisfy the basic needs of the parties and promote their reconciliation.Thus, their actions are based on a political position. The author describes several types of learning: (1) the participants learn that they can talk to each other; (2) they learn about each others' needs, beliefs and values; (3) they learn about transformations that have occurred within their opponents, and possible ways for further transformations; (4) they learn about importance of symbolic acts in de-escalating the conflict.The functions of the third party can be described as follows.The third party conducts individual meetings with the parties prior to a joint meeting.During the workshop the parties are free from the pressure of sustaining their political positions and are able to get involved in the process of mutual sharing and learning.The process starts with an analysis of the conflict and each others' perceptions and attitudes. Then it proceeds to problem-solving and the discussion of the barriers in the way of conflict resolution and ways of overcoming them.For more information about your rights in divorce, please contact Chuck Vuotto at [email protected] by phone at his Roseland, NJ office (973) 403-9200.The type of international mediation that the author works in is characterized by an emphasis on interaction between the parties.The goal is not to offer solutions, but to facilitate communication between the opponents and for them to come up with their own ways of resolving their problems.Even if direct communication between them is not possible, the author as a third party tries to communicate the views and concerns of the other party and to encourage direct negotiation.


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