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What Is the Third Side?

What Is the Third Side?

Author: Julie Tietz
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At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand the concept of the Third Side as a model for conflict resolution

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I'm Julie Tietz, and welcome to Conflict Resolution-- Putting the Pieces Together. Today, we're going to talk about the conflict resolution approach call the third side. The Third Side was an approach, or is an approach to conflict resolution that was developed by the Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard University, and the Harvard Negotiation Project really looks at real-world conflicts and analyzes them to find better approaches and best practices in negotiation and conflict resolution and shares that through their teaching and research in writing.

And The Third Side looks at or takes into consideration outside parties' perspectives and needs. So we're looking at this in a different way than our typical party-party mediation. So when we're in a conflict resolution process or mediation, we are looking at the two parties in conflict, whereas The Third Side is an approach that really asks us to take into consideration others that are not directly involved and take in their perspective and what their needs are in terms of seeking a resolution to the conflict.

So again, the third side looks beyond those two parties in the conflict and really wants to take on a larger perspective of the surrounding community and incorporate their interests and perspectives by those maybe affected in a conflict between the two parties, so bystanders, community members, friends, family members, those individuals. The Third side takes into consideration all of those parties that are not directly involved in the conflict. So where might we see the third side?

We might see that in international conflicts, in large or broader community conflicts, in public policy disputes, and family conflicts as well. So when we are looking at an international conflict, there might be two states at war, but really, it involves other surrounding states in the global community, because we are so interconnected that everybody is affected by this conflict in one way or another. And so we really want to take into consideration perspectives of others when we are trying to or attempting to negotiate some sort of agreement, resolution, or possible steps towards solutions in these types of conflicts.

Let's look at our key points on The Third Side. It's an approach that was developed by the Global Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard University, and it asks us to approach conflict by looking around us rather than just looking at the individuals involved directly in the conflict, but to take a larger perspective of the surrounding community. And take into consideration those indirect parties, so the bystanders, community members, family members, friends. And this is different than our typical mediation process or conflict resolution process that focuses on the perspectives of the direct parties involved.

Here's your key term for The Third Side. Feel free to pause and look at it closer. Thanks for taking the time out to view this. I hope that you learned something. I can't wait to catch you again next time.

Terms to Know
Third Side

An approach to conflict resolution developed by the Harvard Negotiation Project, which takes into account the perspectives and interests of those affected by a conflict as well as the conflict's parties.