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Dispute resolution (Law)


This article focuses on one particularly common problem: Sometimes people who understand the Core Concerns System, know how to use it, and intend to employ it in a particular negotiation, either fail to do so or fail to do so skillfully; when they review the negotiation, they regret not having used the Core Concerns System, and believe that using it would have produced a better process and outcome. When this occurs, it often results from deficits or faults in the negotiator's awareness.

It follows that a negotiator can enhance his ability to employ the Core Concerns System through improving his awareness skills. The article focuses on one good way to do this: a method of present-moment, non-judgmental awareness, commonly known as mindfulness. A person cultivates the ability to be mindful principally through forms of meditation that have been developed most extensively by followers of Buddhist philosophy and psychology, and which are now commonly employed in the West--in health care, psychology, business, athletics, law practice, and legal education. These forms of meditation also have become a focus of neuroscientific and other research. The article suggests that there is great potential for synergy--or mutual reinforcement--between mindfulness and the Core Concerns System: Mindfulness can help people use the Core Concerns System; and knowledge of the Core Concerns System can enhance the practice of mindfulness.

Part I describes how negative emotions can impede skillful negotiation. Part II explains the Core Concerns System and how it can help negotiators to identify some causes of negative emotions and promote positive emotions and thereby foster interest-based negotiations. Part III identifies a series of obstacles to effectively using the Core Concerns System. Part IV explains mindfulness and related tools of awareness and suggests how they can help overcome these obstacles to using the Core Concerns System. Part V explains the potential for reciprocity--how knowledge of the Core Concerns System can enhance a negotiator's mindfulness. The conclusion crystallizes the main points and endeavors to put them into a broader context.