Broad Field was an ambitious national project headed by Convenor's Christopher Honeyman, and generously funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Its purpose was to create robust cross-fertilization across the many, and all too separate, domains and specialties that together make up "conflict resolution." The second phase became known as the "Canon of Negotiation" project, and Broad Field concluded in 2006 with The Negotiator's Fieldbook, published by the American Bar Association. The Fieldbook is now widely regarded as the most thorough reference work available on negotiation.
- Half of the following issue of Negotiation Journal (Intro, free in PDF: Intractable Conflict From The Bottom Up);
- Four articles in the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution (free below in PDF: vol. 5, No. 2), exploring the often surprising regional variations in what is nominally a national-scale (or larger) movement. These are
- Moveable Feasts: an introduction, by Christopher Honeyman
- Boundaries to Practice (the unique conflict management culture of New York City and its environs), by Christopher Honeyman and Lela Love;
- The Odds on Leviathan (Washington, DC's culture of conflict management), by Christopher Honeyman and Carrie Menkel-Meadow;
- Competition in Cooperation-Building (San Diego's conflict management culture), by Ellen Waldman and Christopher Honeyman.
- "Skill is Not Enough: Seeking Connectedness and Authority in Mediation", by Christopher Honeyman, Bee Chen Goh and Loretta Kelly. This Negotiation Journal (October 2004) article compared mediation experience in Chinese, Australian Aboriginal, and Western settings, and argued that across sharply different cultures, parties demand two things from a mediator beyond the skills the mediation field has tried to teach.
- The Penn State Law Review published 19 articles in 2003 (most of them, in Vol. 108, No. 1) on the theme of the symposium the project held in collaboration with Penn State's Dickinson School of Law earlier in 2003, examining the threat of capitulation to the routine --- i.e. the risk that without a conscious strategy, conflict resolution work may become "routinized." All articles from the special issue are available on Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw.
- Conflict Resolution Quarterly published ten articles (nine in its Summer, 2003 issue, and one in the Spring issue) on the results of the project's collaboration with the University of New Mexico Law School.
Conflict resolution is expected by many people to act as a field, i.e. as an integrated body of work whose contributors draw from each other’s contributions and innovations. But it does not yet act this way. Instead, a number of factors have hampered the development of a truly integrated field of activity, and now threaten to reduce the field to a patchwork of competing assumptions and values. On the one hand these include proliferating specialties and rising practitioner caseloads; on the other are typical academic structures, along with the sheer number of disciplines involved, each of which believes it "owns" the field more than others do. If this were allowed to continue unchecked, the dynamism of conflict resolution’s last twenty years could easily be lost, with disconnected, impoverished and routinized working environments a probable result.
"Broad Field" used a variety of techniques to influence a critical mass of opinion leaders to incorporate discoveries from a wide range of domains into their own work, and to inspire others in their disparate areas to do likewise. The project convened interdisciplinary discussions on topics that are seen as "cutting-edge"; designed written and other outputs from these discussions that showcased the results of collaboration across disciplines and practice fields; and used these outputs in turn to develop interest in longer-term and more intensive mutual engagement, particularly research collaborations involving more than one discipline.
In the three-year lifespan of the Broad Field project, four successive topics were chosen for intensive investigation, each in collaboration with one or more academic partners. Each in turn produced a large quantum of new thinking and writing. They were:
1. The need for better feedback from practice experience into theory-building and research design. Partners with the project in this effort were the Dispute Resolution Consortium of the City University of New York and the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University. This effort began under the prior Theory to Practice project and is noted there, but is discussed in more detail under the Methods page. Published results included 19 articles in Negotiation Journal, Fall 2002 and Winter 2003, plus another 20 articles published as Proceedings.
2. The truncated and even arbitrary structures of negotiation training. The project’s partner here was the University of New Mexico School of Law. The published results included ten articles in Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Spring and Summer 2003.
3. Threats to the fields of negotiation and alternative dispute resolution arising from increasing routinization of both practice and teaching. The project’s partner was Penn State Dickinson School of Law; published results included 19 articles in the Penn State Law Review, Fall 2003 and subsequently.
4. The need for a truly interdisciplinary “canon of negotiation.” In this, the final and most ambitious phase, the project’s institutional partner was the Marquette University School of Law; published results included 25 articles in the Marquette Law Review, Spring 2004, followed by The Negotiator's Fieldbook (ABA 2006.)
Other work of the project:
- Organizing and holding "invitation only" multi-day national conferences on "cutting-edge" themes. Two examples:
- Penn State, 2003 conference examining the threat of "capitulation to the routine" --- i.e. the risk that without a conscious strategy, conflict resolution work now risks becoming "routinized."
- Albuquerque, 2002 conference challenging conflict resolution's somewhat arbitrary teaching models, by engaging experts from several older and highly varied fields that must train people to do difficult things (medicine, architecture, "very high" technology, and Navajo peacemaking) to highlight what works and what doesn’t in each domain, and to compare each to ours.
- Organizing and holding shorter sessions for such inquiries (one-evening "moveable feasts") on a wider selection of themes;
- Organizing conference presentations and articles on the results of these discussions, and planning further outputs, including special "tracks" for public conferences in a variety of domains on themes developed by the project;
- Forming new multidisciplinary research teams, and starting discussions with groups that showed promise of forming longer-term interdisciplinary research structures; and finally,
- Engaging an unprecedented number (80) of top-of-the-line scholars and practitioners for an initiative that pulled together many of the above themes: the field's first attempt at defining a canon of negotiation. This process is outlined in the Appendix to The Negotiator's Fieldbook.