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Environmental disputes: Competition for scarce resources and clashing of values


Negotiation is a joint decision-making process through which interdependent persons mutually decide how scare resources will be allocated. Mutual decision making is a necessary component of negotiation. If one party has complete authority over the other party, negotiation cannot occur. Whereas environmental disputes can occur even when only one party gets to make the decision, negotiations require that more than one party have decision-making power. Many conflicts arise not because of competing interests but because parties do not share the same conceptualization of the situation. This may occur because of divergent ideologies, values, or cognitive structures. Resolutions to environmental conflicts require an altered understanding of the situation, interests, values, and ideologies held by one or both people. Negotiations must also involve a range of feasible outcomes. If one person must choose between total victory or yielding completely, no bargaining can occur.


Book Chapter


Leigh Thompson, Richard Gonzalez

Date Published



Thompson, Leigh, and Richard Gonzalez. 1997. Environmental disputes: Competition for scarce resources and clashing of values.


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