Book Review

Getting to Resolution: Turning Conflict Into Collaboration


Reviewed by Ann S. Keim
Superintendent, Pequea Valley
School District, Kinzers, Pa.

 

This book was written with several objectives in mind: to change our thinking about conflict, provide a model for resolution, foster a culture of resolution and agreement and enable us to take personal responsibility for dealing with conflict and diversity.

Author Stewart Levine succeeds in each goal. As a Temple University law instructor and lawyer for 12 years, he became increasingly disenchanted with traditional legal practice, so he founded an organization to promote mediation and conflict management in many top U.S. companies.

Disagreements have a way of spiraling out of control. What begins as a mere difference of opinion can escalate into a major feud. Levine thinks that "getting to yes" is only one-half the battle, and he presents a more enlightened way of viewing conflict as an opportunity for growth.

Getting to Resolution is filled with practical advice, case studies and exercises that prompt self-inquiry and reflection. Levine’s method provides concrete steps for change and a new perspective that can lead to successful agreements. His explanation of "conversational competence," for example, presents a model for engaging in honest discussions.

is filled with practical advice, case studies and exercises that prompt self-inquiry and reflection. Levine’s method provides concrete steps for change and a new perspective that can lead to successful agreements. His explanation of "conversational competence," for example, presents a model for engaging in honest discussions.

Seven chapters describe his step-by-step method for resolving conflict, and the book ends with suggestions for practicing resolution in our everyday life.

(Getting to Resolution: Turning Conflict Into Collaboration, by Stewart Levine, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc., San Francisco, Calif., 1998, 225 pp. with index, $17.95 hardcover.)