ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - January 2002


Issue Highlight — Teams Are Awesome!
-In Teams Are Awesome! -- We offer you the power, energy, and innovation that come out of teams working together to improve their work, their work environment, and, as often as not, themselves. They truly inspire awe. Here we present four teams selected at random from those who have entered AQP's Team Excellence Competition.

 In This Issue...
Fish Philosophy and Teamwork
Connected But Not Connecting
Thriving Through Teamwork
Ten Compelling Reasons Why Your Company Shouldn’t Downsize

Peter Block Column

Brief Cases

Return to NFC Index

    Pageturners        Book Reviews with a Twist

Resolving Identity-Based Conflict in Nations, Organizations, and Communities
By Jay Rothman

For the advanced Quality and Participation (Q&P) practitioner who works with conflict.

For the general Q&P practitioner audience.

In his work, Jay Rothman brings together two of the most passionate forces in human life—identity and conflict. Based on his experience, Rothman has developed a valuable framework to help those of us working at the confluence of these two streams to find our way. This book does a wonderful job of providing: context for the framework, an in-depth description of the framework, and specific examples at the organization, community, and national level.

Identity-based conflict stems from threats to or frustration over core identity issues such as dignity, safety, participation, efficacy, and control. It is often rooted in history, culture, and basic belief systems. Identity-based conflict is fundamentally different from conflict stemming from disputes over tangible resources or seemingly incompatible interests. Identity-based conflict is often misdiagnosed, misunderstood, and mistakenly treated as resource-based conflict. Unfortunately, approaches that are effective with resource-based conflict, such as clearly defining interests and identifying acceptable compromises, can actually deepen identity-based conflict and further entrench those involved. For practitioners, understanding these differences and being able to shape appropriate responses is critical because "Group identity conflicts are an increasingly important and identifiable class of conflict, with patterns and characteristics that run within and among all levels of social organization."

The primary audiences for this book are practitioners and others who actively work with conflict. Because of the deeply rooted nature of identity-based conflict, Rothman’s suggested approaches may not be for the novice practitioner. While the concept of identity-based conflict and the ARIA framework—antagonism, resonance, invention, and action—may be new ground, Q&P practitioners will discover many familiar touch points within this work. Many of the thinkers upon whom Rothman draws from, such as Lewin and Argyris, are central to the Q&P theory streams. The ARIA framework rests on the core values, such as interdependence, shared by many Q&P practitioners. And, the case studies describe the application of reflection and participation methods and tools in which many Q&P practitioners are fluent. In other words, the ARIA framework allows Q&P practitioners to take much of what we already know how to do, think about it in a new context, and use it to competently extend our practice into important new territory.

As I read this book I was continually struck by its relevancy to our current situation. Rothman’s ARIA framework is a valuable contribution for Q&P practitioners who are grappling with finding ways to effectively contribute to the work at hand. Rothman provides us with a framework so that "the work of peace can still continue at the human and functional levels" even in the midst of divisive conditions in the larger system.

Reviewed by Fredricka Joyner who may be reached via e-mail at .

Book Ratings:

***** = Pick it up today
  **** = Overnight it
*** = Snail mail it
** = At a library?

        * = Never mind

January 2002 News for a Change Homepage

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