DEALING WITH AN ANGRY PUBLIC: The Mutual Gains Approach To Resolving Disputes

by Lawrence Susskind, Patrick Field

Free Press | April 17, 1996 | Hardcover

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Some portion of the American public will react negatively to almost any new corporate initiative, as Disney discovered when it announced its plans to build an historical theme park in Virginia. Similarly, government efforts to change policy or shift budget priorities are invariably met with stiff resistance. In this enormously practical book, Lawrence Susskind and Patrick Field analyze scores of both private and public-sector cases, as well as crisis scenarios such as the Alaskan oil spill, the silicone breast implant controversy, and nuclear plant malfunction at Three Mile Island. They show how resistance to both public and private initiatives can be overcome by a mutual gains approach involving face-to-face negotiation, a strategy applied successfully by over fifteen hundred executives and officials who have attended Professor Susskind''s MIT-Harvard "Angry Public" seminars.

Susskind and Field outline the six key elements of this approach in order to help business and government leaders negotiate, rather than fight, with their critics. In the process, they show how to identify who the public is, whose concerns to address first, which people and organizations must be convinced of the legitimacy of action taken, and how to assess and respond to different types of anger effectively. Acknowledging the crucial role played by the media in shaping public perception and understanding, Susskind and Field suggest a way to develop media interaction which is consistent with the six mutual gains principles, and also discuss the type of leadership that corporate and government managers must provide in order to combine these ideas into a useful whole.

We all need to be concerned about a society in which the public''s concerns, fears and anger are not adequately addressed. When corporate and government agencies must spend crucial time and resources on rehashing and defending each decision they make, a frustrated and angry public contributes to the erosion of confidence in our basic institutions and undermines our competitiveness in the international marketplace. In this valuable book, Susskind and Field have produced a strong, clear framework which will help reduce these hidden costs for hundreds of executives, managers, elected and appointed officials, entrepreneurs, and the public relations, legal and other professionals who advise them.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 288 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1.06 in

Published: April 17, 1996

Publisher: Free Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0684823020

ISBN - 13: 9780684823027

Found in: Public Relations

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DEALING WITH AN ANGRY PUBLIC: The Mutual Gains Approach To Resolving Disputes

by Lawrence Susskind, Patrick Field

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 288 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1.06 in

Published: April 17, 1996

Publisher: Free Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0684823020

ISBN - 13: 9780684823027

Read from the Book

CHAPTER 1: Introduction There are many reasons for the public to be angry. Business and government leaders have covered up mistakes, concealed evidence of potential risks, made misleading statements, and often lied. Indeed, our leaders have fueled a rising tide of public distrust of both business and government by behaving in these ways. Consider the following: * After oil poured from the torn hull of the Exxon Valdez, the public found that Exxon had actually reneged on the promises it had made when it was given the right to build the Alaskan pipeline. There was no adequate emergency response plan in place in case of a spill. Clean-up equipment, what little there was, was buried under several feet of snow. To make matters worse, the state had apparently known about these deficiencies since the early 1980s, but had not rectified the situation. * Only after thousands of lawsuits had been file.d against Dow Corning did it come to light that the company had not only obtained, but had sponsored biological research indicating, as early as the 1960s, that the silicone used in breast implants might impair the immune system. All that time, the company claimed that silicone was biologically inert and wouldn''t hurt anyone. * Citizens speaking out at public meetings to discuss large-scale residential and industrial development projects, who oppose these projects on environmental and other grounds, have been slapped with libel suits by wealthy corporations trying to scare them into silen
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Table of Contents

Contents Acknowledgments Chapter I. Introduction A New Way of Interacting with the Public Why We All Should Be Concerned About Angry Publics The Public Is Not Easily Appeased The Typical Approach to Public Relations Does Not Work A Different Approach Is Needed Chapter II. Why Is the Public Angry? What Is Anger? Why Are People Angry? Rational and Irrational Anger Typical Responses to an Angry Public Dealing with an Angry Public: The Conventional Wisdom Chapter III. The Mutual-Gains Approach The Mutual-Gains Approach: Six Principles The Old Plastics Factory Background Applying for a Waiver Further Study The Public Presentation A Disaster Threatens The Fallout Chapter IV. Accidents Will Happen Three Mile Island: To Tell or Not to Tell The First Day: March 28, 1979 The Second Day: March 29, 1979 The Third Day: March 30, 1979 The Final Days: March 31 and April 1, 1979 Telling the Truth: The Mutual-Gains Approach The Advantages of Disclosure Outweigh the Disadvantages Act in a Trustworthy Fashion Select a Capable Spokesperson Enlist Support on the Outside Government and Business Should, Can, and Do Cooperate The Exxon Valdez: When Paying Out Doesn''t Pay Off Cleaning Up A Modest Proposal Exxon''s Response Mitigation Efforts Compensation for Damages The Aftermath Doing It Differently: The Mutual-Gains Approach The Company''s Failure to Accept Responsibility The Company''s Failure to Establish Clear Lines of Communication The Company''s Failure to First Mitigate, Then Compensate (and
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From the Publisher

Some portion of the American public will react negatively to almost any new corporate initiative, as Disney discovered when it announced its plans to build an historical theme park in Virginia. Similarly, government efforts to change policy or shift budget priorities are invariably met with stiff resistance. In this enormously practical book, Lawrence Susskind and Patrick Field analyze scores of both private and public-sector cases, as well as crisis scenarios such as the Alaskan oil spill, the silicone breast implant controversy, and nuclear plant malfunction at Three Mile Island. They show how resistance to both public and private initiatives can be overcome by a mutual gains approach involving face-to-face negotiation, a strategy applied successfully by over fifteen hundred executives and officials who have attended Professor Susskind''s MIT-Harvard "Angry Public" seminars.

Susskind and Field outline the six key elements of this approach in order to help business and government leaders negotiate, rather than fight, with their critics. In the process, they show how to identify who the public is, whose concerns to address first, which people and organizations must be convinced of the legitimacy of action taken, and how to assess and respond to different types of anger effectively. Acknowledging the crucial role played by the media in shaping public perception and understanding, Susskind and Field suggest a way to develop media interaction which is consistent with the six mutual gains principles, and also discuss the type of leadership that corporate and government managers must provide in order to combine these ideas into a useful whole.

We all need to be concerned about a society in which the public''s concerns, fears and anger are not adequately addressed. When corporate and government agencies must spend crucial time and resources on rehashing and defending each decision they make, a frustrated and angry public contributes to the erosion of confidence in our basic institutions and undermines our competitiveness in the international marketplace. In this valuable book, Susskind and Field have produced a strong, clear framework which will help reduce these hidden costs for hundreds of executives, managers, elected and appointed officials, entrepreneurs, and the public relations, legal and other professionals who advise them.

About the Author

Lawrence E. Susskind is Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at MIT, President of the Consensus Building Institute, and one of America''s most experienced public dispute mediators.

From Our Editors

Dealing With an Angry Public: The Mutual Gains Approach to Resolving Disputes

Some portion of the American public will react negatively to almost any new corporate initiative, as Disney discovered when it announced its plans to build an historical theme park in Virginia. Similarly, government efforts to change policy or shift budget priorities are invariably met with stiff resistance. In this enormously practical book, Lawrence Susskind and Patrick Field analyze scores of both private and public-sector cases, as well as crisis scenarios such as the Alaskan oil spill, the silicone breat implant controversy, and nuclear plant malfunction at Three Mile Island. They show how resistance to both public and private initiatives can be overcome by a mutual gains approach involving face-to-face negotiation, a strategy applied successfully by over fifteen hundred executives and officials who have attended Professor Susskind's MIT-Harvard "Angry Public" seminars. Susskind and Field outline the six key elements of this approach in order to help business and government leade

Editorial Reviews

Frank E.A. SanderBussey Professor and Associate Dean, Harvard Law SchoolSets forth a powerful strategy for dealing with major public policy controversies. This book is the perfect antidote to an increasing tendency to polarize issues and escalate tensions.
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