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NCMR Vol. 9, No. 3 in Press

Negotiation and Conflict Management Research
© The International Association for Conflict Management (IACM) and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Michael A. Gross, Editor-in-Chief
Colorado State University

NCMR Volume 9, Issue 3
August 2016
Now Online

Special Issue:  Sustainability and Environmental Conflict

Guest Editors:  Michael L. Elliott and Sanda Kaufman


Enhancing Environmental Quality and Sustainability through Negotiation and Conflict Management: Research into Systems, Dynamics, and Practices

Michael L. Elliott1 and Sanda Kaufman2

1 – School of City and Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, U.S.A.
2 – Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH, U.S.A.


In a world of rapid population growth, urbanization, and climate change, sustainability and environmental integrity are increasingly central concerns. The frequent recurrence of conflict within these arenas, coupled to the difficulty in determining their impact on social–ecological systems, challenges governance at all levels of society. Negotiation-based conflict management provides a promising response to these challenges. This guest editor’s article examines: (a) the emergence and conduct of environmental and public policy (EPP) conflict management as a distinctive practice over the past 40 years; (b) the interplay between theories of environmental decision-making and practices of EPP conflict management; (c) trends in research into EPP conflict management systems, the dynamics of interventions into these systems to resolve conflict, and the efficacy and impact of EPP conflict management practices; and (d) the contributions of the articles contained in this special issue to this literature and future directions in the field.

Establishing a “Community Forest”: Insights from the Collaborative Process in Migdal HaEmek, Israel

Dalit Gasul1 and Deborah F. Shmueli2

1 – Department of Tourism and Hotel Management, Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, Emek Hayarden, Israel
2 – Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel


The basic principal in the establishment of “community forests” is the involvement of the proximate communities in its management and maintenance. The Balfour Forest, enveloping the Israeli town of Migdal HaEmek, was ignored by the local community who viewed it as a potentially dangerous no-man’s land. The Jewish National Fund (JNF), Israel’s forestry agency, initiated a process to engage the Migdal HaEmek community in developing and taking responsibility for the forest and serve as a model for the development of community forests in Israel. Between 2008 and 2009, the collaborative structure was designed and established, and community activists identified, recruited, and empowered to create a team of “forest trustees” whose activities continue to impact ties among the community and the forest. This article evaluates the process dynamics, outcomes, and impacts and examines their implications for intergovernmental relations, community empowerment, and environmental and development issues.

Taking Action to Reduce Waste: Quantifying Impacts of Model Use in a Multiorganizational Sustainability Negotiation

Ellen Czaika1 and Noelle E. Selin2

1 – Institute for Data, Systems and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A.
2 – Institute for Data, Systems and Society and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A.


We use a role-play simulation to examine how using quantitative models influences the process and outcome of sustainability negotiations. Our experimental approach involved 74 teams of five parties negotiating the details of a pilot test to compost and/or recycle used paper coffee cups. Approximately half of these negotiation teams were given a quantitative model—a life cycle assessment (LCA). We measured both negotiating outcomes and process variables, in particular identifying favorable agreements— the mutually exclusive set of agreements that either minimized carbon dioxide emissions or maximized the parties’ collective earned value. We found that most teams used a quantitative model; nearly half of those co-created their own while negotiating. In our sample, teams that used a model, even those co-creating the model while negotiating, reached agreement more quickly than teams not using a model. Teams that co-created the LCA reached a higher number of favorable agreements. We observed two dominant manners of model use: using the model to test alternatives while developing an agreement and verifying that a tentative agreement would sufficiently reduce carbon dioxide emissions. We conclude that using a quantitative model during a sustainability negotiation can help to increase the chances of obtaining a favorable agreement without lengthening the negotiation duration.

Consensus Building for Long-term Sustainability in the Non-North American Context: Reflecting on a Stakeholder Process in Japan

Masahiro Matsuura1 and Kenshi Baba2

1 – Graduate School of Governance Studies, Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan
2 – Faculty of Environmental Studies, Tokyo City University, Tokyo, Japan


Practitioners of consensus building are stepping into a relatively new arena of practice: sustainability issues in the non-North American context. This article explores challenges in such settings, which we illustrate, with a case in Japan regarding the promotion of wood biomass usage through stakeholder dialogue in a small island community. Reflection from the experience reveals two challenges that are likely to occur in similar contexts: drawing the attention of stakeholders to the long-term risks to sustainability and dealing with personal relationships in a high-power distance culture. We find that in our case and more generally stakeholders’ problem recognition related to risk must be nurtured through learning opportunities and scenario exercises in the early stages of consensus building processes. The hierarchical nature of interpersonal communication in several Asian countries, where senior participants enjoy more power in negotiation, also requires careful design of processes, particularly when long-term issues are at stake.


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