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Third Party Consultation: A Method for the Study and Resolution of Conflict

Ronald J. Fisher
The Journal of Conflict Resolution
Vol. 16, No. 1 (Mar., 1972), pp. 67-94
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/173277
Page Count: 28
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Third Party Consultation: A Method for the Study and Resolution of Conflict
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Abstract

Third party consultation is a general method for the study and resolution of social conflict. Several examples are reviewed and a descriptive model is developed. The method centers on the facilitative and diagnostic actions of an impartial social science consultant in helping antagonists analyze and constructively deal with the negative aspects of their conflict. The basic situation involves a small group of consultants and participants in flexible and informal discussions in a neutral setting. This particular third party role requires a certain identity. To reach the objectives, the consultant undertakes the functions of inducing mutual positive motivation, improving communication, diagnosing the conflict, and regulating the interaction. The functions are carried out through specific tactics and procedures, and all of these aspects are combined with supportive activities to yield an overall program of consultation. Some assumptions are considered, and some directions for future research to assess limitations and to develop the method's full potential are specified.

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