Escalation and Fruit Bats

“One of our correspondents Victor suggested the recent Dylan Evans case at the University of Cork in Ireland is best understood as a form of conflict escalation. I thought it worth setting this out by way of illustration of how conflict so often escalates out of control to the detriment of all the parties involved …” (more)

[Creativeconflictwisdom’s Blog, 3 December]

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25 Responses to “Escalation and Fruit Bats”

  1. Doppelganger Says:

    Did you ever notice the striking similarities between (anonymous) CreativeConflictWisdom and Dylan Evans? If I was a little more sceptical then I would think it was another of Dylan’s many cyberpathic personalities.

  2. Absolutely not true and Dylan Evans and I are nothing like each other. Look at the background of the site’s author and his location in the US and UK. Only been to Cork twice in my life. And if you read my postings carefully you will see that I have not taken sides simply been trying to achieve a higher level solution, that respects all sides interests: complainant, UCC and Dylan Evans

  3. PS I have met Dylan Evans only once in my life as my original posting mentions. As the escalation posting makes clear my advice to him and all th other parties would have been very different from what they actually did. Please do me the courtesy of actually reading what I said.

  4. CreativeConflictWisdom is being unfairly and inaccurately accused here.
    His/her blog is a great asset in creative conflict management issues and is evidence based– read it–it is very valuable.

    Dylan has set up many sock puppet and fake sites to promote his case and to try to identify people for future predatory litigation in the opinion of many web commentators, they also point out that he is facing prison time and massive civil penalties for his gross violations of confidentiality.
    These allegations are all over the web today , I do not know if they are valid. or not.

    IMO CreativeConflictWisdom has nothing to do with this matter, it is a valid, sane and informative site

  5. Doppelganger Says:

    Yes, CreativeConflictWisdom – but why do you have an Irish WordPress template, occupy the same Timezone as Evans and take your holidays on the same days? So much for an “anonymous” blog created on the same date as all the other masquerades Evans put up.

  6. @Doppleganger: last time I looked the UK where I set up my WordPress account was on the same time zone as Ireland, though I live in the US most of the time and so the time zone for counting hits by days is a pain in the butt. I have no idea about Word Press formats, I just picked the one I liked best, though it may have been an Irish friend who finally pushed me into blogging and sent me the format. I don’t remember. As I am retired, every day is a holiday for me, so if Dylan Evans has holidays, I am on holiday too. :)

    But seriously: take a look at my blog. Look at the range of what I am interested in and the stances I take. Do you seriously think it is written by Dylan Evans? Give me a break. One of the few things that really irritate me are conspiracy theorists with low attention spans. Actually read my blog and maybe you will have less positional thinking on conflict. Who knows? History in my experience runs more on cock ups than conspiracies.

  7. PS And if you know how to reset the time zone in Word Press, please let me know. Thanks.

  8. PPS Actually I just cracked it. Thanks @ Doppleganger for prodding me into fixing the time zone issue.

  9. PPS And I just ran the numbers: out of 250 posts, 4 were on the Dylan Evans case, and 2 of those were merely posting news articles from other sources. So the other 246 postings….

    And someone called Doppleganger accusing others of masquerading: droll

  10. Doppelganger Says:

    Interesting things one might find in web caches – One of CreativeConflictWisdom’s first ever blog posts (20 May 2010) was about Dylan Evans, but it was deleted:

    Intervening in a Current Conflict
    20 May 2010 by creativeconflictwisdom
    On the one hand we have Dr. Evans: a formidably talented individual, a polymath, who has followed interesting academic rabbits across disciplinary boundaries. An explorer of the placebo effect with interesting implications for the efficacy of high cost medications. Systematizer of work on human emotion to better educate the public on the rationality/emotion interaction. And most recently, inventor of a way to measure risk intelligence, with important implications for our financial institutions that is arousing much interest there, as measured by participation rates in his research survey.
    http://creativeconflictwisdom.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/intervening-in-a-current-conflict

  11. @Doppleganger: oh my the smoking gun! Conspiracy theory proved?

    If you have now read and even paid attention to my blog (which I somehow doubt) you will see how much I strive for some sort of but usually unattainable third force balance. This is not exactly Dylan Evans approach. He is more provocative.

    As I recall that original posting did not meet my standards for balance, was something of an experiment on an issue I had tried to stop the escalation of, and was subsumed into the more process oriented June 10th posting.

    However much you try, thankfully you cannot make me into someone I am not.

    Of course infected by your conspiracy mindset, a bit of me thinks you are probably Dylan Evans having some fun.

  12. Doppelganger Says:

    Following this discussion “Creative Conflict Wisdom” has deleted all of his posts about Dylan Evans. Perhaps it was an embarrassing obsession, just as Evans gets disciplined again.

  13. @ Doppleganger/Digger. Now first of all, does this mean you no longer think I am Dylan Evans? If so an apology please. Or do you have no manners? Presumably if I were him, I would be right to be obsessed with my own case: not embarrassed at all.

    As I replied to your brother, Digger, I am fascinated by interest based bargaining, and the Evans case has been a fascinating illustration of the complete absence of it, resulting in the current situation which is almost certainly contrary to the interests of everyone involved. Once you obsess more about winning, you are usually doomed not to meet your own interests as you perfectly illustrate in this thread. And your listening skills probably need a bit of work too?

    And your own behavior comes close to obsessive, so remember Matthew 7v3. But my real frustration, is that I cannot get you to even begin to understand what interest bargaining is; so I assume you are a positional fundamentalist and I guess I have had my share of those in my time.

    For all my fascination, I also grow weary, as my colleagues do of not so bright students who don’t even read their homework assignment.

    So in your reply why don’t you address the reverse engineering/conspiracy points in the posting above? Or did you say something really unacceptable on Dec 3 that the moderator removed: how obsessive is that? :) Have a nice day.

  14. Dylan Evans has become the new Ward Churchill in academia
    His releasing strictly confidential documents on the Web has made him a pariah — but worse it will lead to the end of the Web as we have known it–Evans is like the UnaBomber ,whom he tried to idolized in the UK Telegraph.
    evans must have been be on the no fly list–now he is on many other lists

  15. Innocent until proved guilty, come on now Victor.

    I took a further look at our blog’s original posting on the Dylan Evans case. For the record it included this assessment of Michael Murphy at the start of the case:
    Then we have Michael Murphy President of University College Cork. A modernizer, no doubt wrestling with conservative forces. Trying to build a world-class university. Trying to attract external talent like Dr. Evans, and make Cork intellectually vibrant, cutting edge and a contributor to the economy of southern Ireland. Mindful of the need to create an inclusive culture. Wanting to ensure the campus is free from sexual harassment. No doubt troubled by the sexual abuse scandal that is rocking the Catholic Church. Presumably wanting to do the right thing.

    Hmmm…at least some attempt to see the issue from UCC perspective and if you read the rest of the piece with an open mind, you will see it is quite interest based and balanced, though of course far from perfect:
    http://creativeconflictwisdom.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/fruit-bat-gate-reframed/

    No mediator or conflict resolution professionlal is without their own interests, in my case, to achieve a good solution by meeting the interests of all parties without demonizing or disrespecting anyone.

    And if I were Michael Murphy right now, I might be wondering if following my June interest based approach might not have been in UCC’s interests. The President of the Irish High Court after basically agreed directionally with my ‘what if’ analysis. And settling at that stage might have saved UCC what someone estimates to have been 300,000 Euros in legal costs, that might have paid the wages of how many lecturers?

    As for the confidentiality issue, I would urge UCC to try an interest based approach for an economical change. As a former HR professional, I would not want to bat on their particular wicket. But we will see.

  16. Innocent until proven guilty? I think that the High Court upholding the verdict of sexual harassment against Dr Dylan Evans is “proven guilty” in most peoples books.

    I have no idea what this Octoroon Ball case (Ward Churchill) has to do with anything, but Dr noname Creative Conflict Wisdom does look like a plant stirring it up for Dylan Evans. Did you post your “June interest based approach” to Michael Murphy, and did he reply? But Dylan Evans managed to advertise your “approach” immediately:

  17. @THE and probably aka @ digger aka @ doppleganger. Is that an indirect admission that you were wrong to say I was Dylan Evans? Now I am just a plant? And by the way, who are we to know you are not a plant for UCC admin? Just kidding. I am not big on conspiracy theories. I take your points as genuine and address them. I am still interested to hear your take on this case not just the meta case about CCW.

    If you look carefully,’ the innocent until proved guilty’ refers to the confidentiality issue that @Victor was commenting on above. As for the High Court verdict you seem unable to absorb any of the High Court judge’s comments on proportionality or that he awarded costs to Dylan Evans.

    And yes I guess Evans does actually understand interest based bargaining, and my interest-based approach was not only posted in June and taken up by 9th Level Ireland as I recall so UCC must have seen it, but I also suggested it more directly and met with no response from UCC, at a cost of 300,000 Euros, better spent on other things in the current climate I would think. You see if you think positionally, spending 300,000 Euros doesn’t cross your radar screen; you have to ‘win’ at any cost.

    My approach on the Evans case is not a lot different process-wise to what I suggest on the West Bank, North Korea, Climate change, US political conflict. It is that the two sides actually look at what is in their interests and to hell with positional thinking, demonization or whatever. I suspect you find such an approach as psychologically threatening as a West Bank settler, but as I don’t know you, I may be wrong. And think about it. You may be wrong too. The knowledge that we can be wrong is a powerful check on imbalance.

  18. PS And if you drop your conspiracy frame for a moment, and the idea that ‘Dylan Evans is Voldemort’ as someone ironically put it, you might consider that Evan’s Twitter was him publicly signaling that he was prepared to have an interest based discussion with UCC along the lines of the ‘what ifs’ in my June posting. Professionally what I posted is called a one text: and is the start of shuttle diplomacy as my comments to the posting noted. The ‘what ifs ‘ are not take it or leave it ‘solutions’ but the start of a dialogue that UCC did not join. Thank you for illustrating so perfectly the positional thinking side in conflict that makes my job so hard.

  19. PPS @Digger aka @Doppleganger fyi your posting on Cork Student News suggests a lot of CCW postings (it was just a few as part of Spring cleaning to reduce duplication) have been taken down and this is not helping your credibility, but thank you for the traffic to my postings that your listing is now generating.

  20. For anyone interested in the difference between positional and interest based or integrative bargaining, you might like my recent post (which makes no mention of Dylan Evan or UCC) at
    http://creativeconflictwisdom.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/the-top-ten-differences-between-positional-and-interest-based-bargaining/

    This difference is at the heart of many alternative dispute resolution processes that are used as an alternative to a legal case in many US states.

  21. It would be shocking if anyone did genuinely believe that sexual harassment was something that universities could bargain and barter, rather than accepting that a woman’s right to a safe working environment.

    Don’t forget, there is no conflict – Dylan Evans was found guilty of sexual harassment, and the courts upheld that verdict: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=414495 and http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=414549

  22. My original posting absolutely suggested involving the original complainant in any discussion, Her interests were clearly part of what I was suggesting. I have personally (successfully I think) helped shape safe working environments for women in very intense, potentially violent situations and it was not by pretending that life is simple.

    But to think that the law never involves balancing freedoms, balancing interests is naive. That plea bargains never happen, that mediation (which was an option procedurally I assume in this case) is never appropriate in a case like this, would make the world a more dangerous place, for women as well as men.

    And answer me this: why did the President of the Irish High Court who took the case, award Dylan Evans full costs in the case? Why did he comment so strongly on ‘proportionality’? I will be interested to see the full judgement when it is published and am quite prepared to be mistaken.

    And you think there is no conflict over the confidentiality issue: guilty without investigation or evidence? Tell me why this is just?

  23. PS And we achieved a safe environment for women and racial minorities by very clear, explicit behavioral standards, crystal clarity on sanctions up to dismissal, a good, legally robust investigation procedure, complete alignment with the unions over the policy and approach, and really good sensitivity training of key personnel (supervisors, union officials, and management) to create a very different, inclusive culture. We also had mediation, reconciliation and other optional approaches for conflicts around what might be termed marginal behavior, but not for serious harassment of the gross misconduct level. I don’t know how close UCC approximates to this or maybe achieves the same in different ways?

  24. Dylan Evans, Person of the Year on the prestigious Weekly World News:

    http://weeklyworldnews.com/headlines/26028/person-of-the-year/

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