LFKK10273U Advanced Conflict Management

Volume 2013/2014
Erasmus Mundus - Agris Mundus

This course content is distributed at two distinctly different levels: A) the personal level, and B) the process level:

A) The emphasis on the personal level comes from the recognition that the natural resource management professions involve an inevitable component of conflict-laden decisionmaking. Often they act in conflicted situations be it as part of political decision making, public or private management or in relation to an involved, often antagonistic general public. The course presents current theory and an analytical framework on how to constructively manage complex and conflict laden public policy and planning situations - as seen from a public planning or private organization or stakeholder perspective. The course address the following specific themes: Culture, Institutions, Power, Capacity, Incentives, Cognition and a number of social psychological factors - all of importance for process design. The course provides theory, analytical tools and skills for the students. The students project work starts with an initial context assessment by use of the analytical framework. Guided by their assessment the students get a personal experience with selected theories and tools in order to develop appropriate strategies and design culturally sensitive processes for the specific situation at hand. To supplement this hands-on experience from project work a series of lectures presents an overview over the course theory, analytical frameworks and tools. Student seminars, group-exercises, discussions, role plays and individual work provide a basis for students personal development and reflection on own skills, capabilities and potentials with regard to conflict analysis and management.

B) The second level that this course operates on addresses culturally appropriate process design. The participants in this course will come from many different countries with many different political systems. It is not possible to teach them a universal approach to conflict management that will be equally successful in all of the countries in which they may be employed. The second major focus of the course is therefore to develop in the students the awareness of political culture and the ways in which that context must inform their efforts to design processes that can integrate complex scientific issues and sensitive social values is a way that leads to innovative outcomes in natural resource decision making. The course uses concrete cases from natural resource management in Euro-American as well as developing countries contexts. Through exercises and project work the students can try various tools and approaches to conflict assessment and development of management strategies. A series of broad principles will be a focal point of the course, but the students’ core learning task will be to apply those principles in a flexible and integrative fashion to a case of their choosing.

The course design and objectives have been constructed to response to the unique challenges and learning opportunity that a broadly international student population creates. The specific content will to some degree be adapted to the expressed learning needs and particular interests of the actual group of students.

Learning Outcome

The aim of the course is to develop the students personal conflict management and facilitation skills. A specific focus will be held on environmental conflict - as found in various cultural and socio-political contexts around the World. The aim is to learn how to assess such environmental conflict situations. Based on the assesment students will learn how to make strategies and design culturally sensitive processes for decision making and public involvement.

After completing the course, the students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate understanding of the best practices of natural resource conflict management, and relate those practices to their own personal communication, conflict style, and professional effectiveness (this extends the discussion of personal communication effectiveness begun in 400023 Conflict Management.)

2. Demonstrate comprehension of the complex nature of natural resource conflict management situations.

Competence and Skills
1. Enact essential conflict management practices, such as key skills of negotiators, facilitators, mediators, assessors, and evaluators.

2. Apply a conflict management process assessment and design framework to specific cases or situations (at least one of which the student will select).

3. Design comprehensive public processes that can address contentious environmental problems in the specific legal and cultural contexts in which they arise (typically the student’s country of origin.) The high degree of cultural sensitivity woven into this course also provides a foundation for students whose career interests are leading them toward international projects.

Course Literature includes chapters from:

O’Leary and Bingham eds. 2009: The collaborative public manager: New ideas for the twenty-first century.

Hajer and Wagenaar eds. 2003: Deliberative policy analysis: Understanding governance in the network society.

Course reading in the form of selected scientific articles and book chapters are used to extend certain theoretical points and illustrate country-specific dynamics.

Adding on to the base literature of the Conflict Management course (LFKK10265) O’Leary and Bingham present a series of conceptual essays and case studies about managing and leading as partners in pluralistic, multi-stakeholder situations. Hajer and Wagenaar’s book features essays and cases about discourse-based deliberative processes in public policy decision-making.

It is recommended to have knowledge, skills, and competences from or equalling the course "Conflict Management" (LFKK10265)
The course is composed of alternating lectures, exercises, and discussions - as well as an individual project report. The lectures give overview of theory/principles, examples of application in practice and make connections between different parts of conflict management. Exercises are made as well as written course assignments where theory and experiences are translated into practical analysis and advice. The individual project work gives hands-on experience with a specific real life case of own choice.
Please observe: the course is only offered every second year - 2012, 2014 and 2016 in block 4. It is an advanced course supported by competent teachers from USA who are experts in the field of environmental conflict, conflict resolution, process design and facilitation:

Prof. Steven Daniels from Utah State University, USA and/or Prof. Gregg Walker from Oregon State University, USA will co-teach the course with Jens Emborg.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Guidance
  • 4
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Practical exercises
  • 24
  • Preparation
  • 50
  • Project work
  • 86
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 min.
Written assignment
The final examination is based on a written project report and an oral examination

Description of Examination: The student is tested on the specific themes and topics related to the student’s individually prepared project report. Questions are broad and discussion oriented. The project report is evaluated in relation to the core areas of competence of the course. The oral examination may go beyond the content of the project to assess the student’s grasp of the overall course syllabus, with particular emphasis on its relevance to the student’s project.

Weight: Project report 60% Oral examination: 40%
Exam registration requirements
Active participation in class activities and discussion. Successful completion of 1) personal communication and conflict style self-assessment and 2) political culture assessment. Both assessments must be evaluated "passed" prior to final examination.
Only certain aids allowed

Some aid allowed at the oral examination in the form of own project report and personal notes

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
If 10 or fewer register for the reexamination the examination form will be oral.
Criteria for exam assesment
To obtain the grade of 12 the student must fullfil the Learning Outcome