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Research & Practice

The Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (CNCR) is at the forefront of a movement that believes disputes can be settled by constructive negotiation and consensus-building and problem-solving approaches instead of by force or adversarial argument.

September, 2009


When it comes to wars between the states, there are significant incentives to try negotiation.  It is way past time to find a better way to manage these disputes argue CNCR co-directors Stamato and Jaffe.  The issue?  Our local leaders are warring over boundaries and water rights. 


The modern-day version of history looks like this:  While military threats between states are rarer and (somewhat) less serious, these matters assure volumimous, expensive, taxpayer-funded litigation that provide often ludicrous outcomes.  In the United States Supreme Court no less!  What's the better idea?  The governors of states or their representatives should sit down and speak, instead of wasting our money and resources posturing.  And, in effectively-designed and managed forums, reach solutions to problems in the public's interest.


To End and Prevent Wars Between States: Negotiate, Don’t Litigate
Linda Stamato and Sanford M. Jaffe


April 1, 2009


Planet in Peril: Environmental Changes and Global Security: The Impact of Climate and Environmental Changes on Global Resources and Global Conflict.


The program included a discussion of climate-related changes that have and are occurring across the globe, the impact of these changes on global resources and the potential for armed conflict among nations over an evolving competition for the arising scarcity of resources. Speakers included Tom Cioppa, Chairperson, Department of Political Science, Brookdale Community College; Alan Robock, Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University and Linda Stamato, Co-Director, Center for Negotiations and Conflict Resolution, Rutgers University.


Environmental Conflict and Global Security: Seeking Sustainable Solutions Through Collaboration
Linda Stamato


June 11, 2007

Why is Collaboration the Last Resort?
Linda Stamato & Sanford Jaffe

June 14, 2005

Health Leaders Seek Consensus Over Uninsured
In an effort to break the persistent impasse over health care coverage, and at a time when Congress has been torn by partisan battles, a nascent collaboration is taking place among 24 ideologically disparate leaders, representing the health care industry, corporations and unions, and conservative and liberal groups, a process that reached the front page of the New York Times. The group has been meeting secretly from October, 2004, to see if a consensus can be reached on proposals to provide coverage for the growing number of people who have no healthcare coverage. It intends to present its recommendations to Congress and to the Bush administration, and, several members have indicated that they would stick together to use their collective power to fight for the proposals the group generates. A collaboration to watch.....

Health Leaders Seek Consensus Over Uninsured
Robert Pear

February 21, 2005

Alaska Rural Health Facilitation
CNCR colleague and associate, Associate Professor Mark Aakhus, Rutgers Department of Communication, recently facilitated a strategic planning meeting for the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and the College of Rural Alaska Health Programs. The process, involving 23 participants involved in the delivery of rural health in Alaska, produced a document that will be presented to the Denali Commission, which is a federal-state partnership designed to provide critical utilities, infrastructure, and economic support throughout Alaska. This document will also serve as a comprehensive planning document to identify current and future funding for the Community Health Aide Program (CHAP).

Community Health Aides and Community Health Practitioners are non-physician providers responsible for health care in the remote villages of rural Alaska (

A key feature of the meeting, in terms of facilitation and collaboration, was the use of GroupSystems II ( Each meeting participant was given a laptop computer linked through a wireless network with GSII software. GSII software optimizes networked computers to support group collaboration, problem-solving, and decision-making. The software, for example, supports important group communication functions such as brainstorming, categorizing, voting, stakeholder analysis, and writing.

The software enables people in a face-to-face meeting to maximize their time together by combining writing and speaking. Within the first 20 minutes of the meeting, for example, the 23 participants produced over 100 ideas about solving training needs. The facilitator was also wirelessly linked and used a large projection screen to display results and text to the group. After brainstorming, the group, under the guidance of the facilitator, spent the next 1.5 hours using the system to synthesize and categorize those ideas into 7 plausible courses of action to address training needs. During the afternoon, the group prioritized the courses of action and broke into sub-groups to write detailed action plans using the writing support features. The action plans were then reviewed and edited by the entire group and specific budget parameters were determined. A final group report was created and given to each participant before the end of the day.

According to Professor Aakhus, "The meeting participants and meeting conveners were happy with the process and pleased with the meeting outcomes. They had accomplished some things they had never before accomplished and built new paths for further innovation and collaboration in delivering health care in rural Alaska."

Aakhus offers the following observations on the collaboration: "In 8 hours the group produced a final comprehensive planning document. The diffuse ideas of 23 people were transformed into a coherent set of specific, fundable action items embraced by the group. This form of facilitation overcomes many problems that grow out of traditional forms of facilitation even when the traditional forms are successful. For example, there are many matters that require sub-committees or extra turnaround time once a traditional meeting is over, such as finalizing details of plans and document production. These can be accomplished during the computer supported facilitated meeting. When the group leaves the facilitated meeting they collectively move ahead on carrying out their agreements rather sub-dividing to handle the unfinished business of the meeting."

For additional information, please contact:

Mark Aakhus, PhD

Feature Article

Resistance to Collaboration: A Proposal to the Hewlett Foundation
Sanford M. Jaffe

Joining Forces to Combat Multiple Myeloma
Anahad O'Connor

Unusual Alliance is Formed to Clean Up Mine Runoff
Felicity Barringer

Relevant Links

Policy Consensus Initiative
Policy Consensus Newsletters
National Policy Consensus Center

© 2008 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey