Negotiation teachers often scratch their heads looking for scenarios to engage students – something realistic, complex and with high enough stakes to motivate participants. Recently it came to me that we in the UK are sitting on a negotiation goldmine. The Brexit negotiations are certainly real, arguably the most complex we’ve ever undertaken and have…

The story of the blindfolded men who each approach an elephant from different angles (at the tusk it’s described as a spear, at the tail a rope, at the leg a tree etc.) is a good example of how multiple truths can exist depending on the perspective you take. Different views can often be the…

The parties left my office much later in the afternoon than I would have foreseen in the morning. As I was accompanying them to the exit, the package was already attending me on the front desk: It was the very typewriter I am now writing this blog on. As I was unpacking it, I was…

In 2011, a computer gained fame as a celebrity. Its name was Watson*, of IBM. This was right after taking part in a very popular Q&A show on American TV (Jeopardy), in which Watson, with its ability to understand our language using only information recorded in its memory, and working offline, managed to successfully overcome…

On the face of it clarity and certainty would always appear to be preferable to ambiguity, in order that people know where they stand and can plan and act accordingly. However, in a recent article Fintan O’Toole reflected on the position of Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations and concluded: “…stopping the violence meant creating…

Minor sport arbitration was heading towards rendering of an award which none of the parties would have been happy about. And then, arbitrator proposed a mediation window and asked the football coach: “OK, then… What do you really need? Surely not the small amount of money you are claiming?” After a moment of hesitation, claimant…

The U.K.’s decision to leave the EU and the voting in of the protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency has drawn both the UK and the USA into the Nash Trap. U.S. mathematician John Nash (the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’) postulated that Adam Smith’s declaration that ‘In competition, individual ambition serves the common good’…

Savvy litigators often tell their clients that “a bad settlement always beats a good litigation”. That may be partly because there is embarrassingly scant guidance in the literature, or even in the world’s law schools, on how lawyers can help their clients settle well rather than badly. I recently had the honor of writing the…

Students demonstrating cooperation

Morton Deutsch, the great social psychologist of common sense, explained the difference between competition and cooperation thus: “if you’re positively linked with another, then you sink or swim together; with negative linkage, if the other sinks, you swim, and if the other swims, you sink.”1)Cooperation and Competition. In M. Deutsch, P. T. Coleman, & E….

John and David Sturrock 1. Introduction Several years ago, while travelling back with my son David to Oxford where he was studying as an undergraduate, we discussed my work as a mediator and his study of economics, particularly the learning for us both from Game Theory. I (John) had been familiar with The Prisoners’ Dilemma…