Transforming Power Relationships: Leadership, Risk, and Hope

Read, James H. and Shapiro, Ian (May 2013) Transforming Power Relationships: Leadership, Risk, and Hope. Former Series > Working Paper Series > IHS Political Science Series 135


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Abstract: Chronic communal conflicts resemble the prisoner's dilemma. Both communities prefer peace to war. But neither trusts the other, viewing the other's gain as its own loss, so potentially shared interests often go unrealized. Achieving positive-sum outcomes from apparently zero-sum struggles requires a kind of risk-embracing leadership. To succeed leaders must: a) see power relations as potentially positive-sum; b) strengthen negotiating adversaries instead of weakening them; and c) demonstrate hope for a positive future and take great personal risks to achieve it. Such leadership is exemplified by Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk in the South African democratic transition. To illuminate the strategic dilemmas Mandela and de Klerk faced, we examine the work of Robert Axelrod, Thomas Schelling, and Josep Colomer, who highlight important dimensions of the problem but underplay the role of risk-embracing leadership. Finally we discuss leadership successes and failures in the Northern Ireland settlement and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.;

Item Type: IHS Series
Keywords: 'Zero-sum conflict' 'Variable-sum conflict' 'Prisoner's dilemma' 'South Africa' 'Israeli-Palestinian conflict' 'Northern Ireland Settlement' 'Power relations' 'Conflict' 'Cooperation' 'Risk-embracing leadership'
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2014 10:39
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 06:16
ISBN: 1605-8003

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