While often dismissed as disingenuous, irrational, or “Machiavellian,” game playing strategies and devices are a natural and necessary part of the negotiation and mediation of difficult issues and controversies. The behavior offers participants protection and provides a lubricant for collaboration which can allow difficult issues to be managed constructively and creatively. This interactive workshop will offer an inventory of common strategies and devices, their applications, benefits, risks, and ethical limits.
Game Playing in Negotiation and Mediation: Machiavelli’s Place At the Table
Robert Benjamin, M.S.W., J.D., has been a practicing mediator since 1979, working in most dispute contexts including: business/civil, family/divorce, employment, and health care. A lawyer and social worker by training, he practiced law for over 25 years and now teaches and presents professional negotiation, mediation, and conflict management seminars and training courses nationally and internationally. He is a standing Adjunct Professor at the Straus Institute for Conflict Resolution of the Pepperdine University School of Law, at Southern Methodist University’s Program on Conflict Resolution and in several other schools and universities. He is a past President of the Academy of Family Mediators, a Practitioner Member of the Association for Conflict Resolution, and the American Bar Association’s Section on Dispute Resolution. He is the author of numerous book contributions and articles, including “The Mediator As Trickster,” “Guerilla Negotiation,” and “The Beauty of Conflict,” and is a Senior Editor and regular columnist for Mediate.com.