Earlier today, I appeared on BBC World’s Business Edition to comment on Francois Hollande’s efforts to unite union and business interests in working to improve the lagging French economy. I provided the same advice that I often do to groups that are looking to leverage the more robust findings from social science in conflict resolution, specifically that rational arguments only get you so far and that real progress is often made when our emotions are pushing us toward progress, as opposed to working against us. Accordingly, it often is better to try to get the relationships working first, in the hopes that that opens minds for agreement on factual issues. As well, it is often helpful to emphasize super-ordinate goals, such as improving the economy as a whole in this case, as opposed to competitive goals such as hiring mandates. Lastly, hopefully Hollande, as a socialist who is fighting for business interests, can help muddy the group boundaries that can make conflicts more intractable, providing an example of someone who is indeed focused on shared goals.
Below is the segment, and my appearance is about 2 minutes into the video.
– Ravi Iyer