Author Archives: Gary Harper, The Joy of Conflict Resolution

About Gary Harper, The Joy of Conflict Resolution

Gary Harper is the principal of Harper and Associates. He is a trainer, writer and facilitator who specializes in conflict resolution. Through his unique blend of experience as a personal injury lawyer, general manager, insurance regulator and retail store owner, he learned the value of clear communication and conflict resolution skills. Since 1991 he has trained and mediated in a wide variety of organizations - from health care to the film industry to many levels of government. He is a member of the instructional team of the Centre for Conflict Resolution at the Justice Institute of B. C. and recently authored The Joy of Conflict Resolution: Transforming Victims, Villains and Heroes in the Workplace and at Home.

Revenge or Justice?

Despite the benefit of having a PVR to fast-forward through commercials, I recently stumbled across a lawyer’s television ad based on revenge as a motivator. The ad opened with a miserable looking middle aged woman sitting on the couch. Her … Continue reading

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Would John Wayne Negotiate?

The clock ticks as high noon looms. Marshall Will Kane, abandoned by his townsfolk and facing overwhelming odds, ponders his next move. Does he board the noon train with his wife or does he stay and confront the man sworn … Continue reading

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Nik Lewis Apology: Take 2

In my most recent blog, I commented on an insincere apology by football star Nik Lewis, following a failed an inappropriate attempt at twitter humour. I differentiated between a partial and insincere apology, such as “I’m sorry if any of … Continue reading

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Insincere apology follows inappropriate OJ Simpson reference on twitter

In an earlier blog (I’m Sorry – does it calm the waters or fan the flames?) I differentiated between types of apologies. A partial and insincere apology, such as “I’m sorry if any of my actions offended anyone” can easily … Continue reading

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Mediation in the Movies

Ever since I began mediating in 1991, I wondered why there weren’t television shows or movies about mediators. As I began to understand the dynamics of conflict resolution, I realized why: “in story, nothing moves but for conflict” (Robert McKee … Continue reading

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The Thrilla Adjacent to the Amigdilla

I thought of my neuroscience friends and colleagues when I heard the following dialogue from The Big Bang Theory. The conversation between Amy and Penny occurs after they have visited their boyfriends and observed another woman flirting with the men. … Continue reading

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Ready? Set? Negotiate!

Two weeks ago, I was among the millions of disappointed, if not outraged fans who watched Monday Night Football. (I told my wife I was “researching” my blog – so I thought I had better follow through by drawing a … Continue reading

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Negotiation Lessons from the Barter Kings

One of my guilty television pleasures is the reality series Barter Kings. (Survivor and Storage Wars also fall into that category, though I draw the line at Big Brother and The Bachelor.) Barter Kings features Antonio and Steve – co-owners … Continue reading

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Escape from Victimhood: Fostering Accountability in Conflict

In conflict, we feel victimized. This is natural and normal. In most cases, the discomfort associated with this feeling motivates us to act. Some people, however, feed on the attention they receive (usually in the form of sympathy) and on … Continue reading

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The Time and Place for Apologies

The following is an excerpt from my book, The Joy of Conflict Resolution. I decided to include this topic because I had seen so many situations in which “I’m sorry” simply fanned the flames instead of defusing a confrontation. Genuine … Continue reading

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