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Reader’s Review

John Baker

Negotiating at an Uneven Table: Developing Moral Courage in Resolving Our Conflicts Second Edition
By Phyllis Beck Kritek
378 pp. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002
Paperback Edition: (US) $30.00

Phyllis Beck Kritek’s Negotiating at an Uneven Table, Second Edition is a book that is a must read for every negotiator. In this reviewer’s opinion, it is a volume that belongs on even the most limited negotiations bookshelf as a reference of the first rank. It’s topic is "…negotiating conflicts in situations where some participants are at a disadvantage that others do not acknowledge" (p. xiii). Far more, it is a book about options, myths and moral courage in which its author challenges established certainties and proffers an invitation to her readers to engage in a dialogue on a broad range of issues.

Dr. Kritek holds a Ph.D., serves as Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch (USA) and has been a visiting scholar or consultant in seven countries. With all the credits and skills these accomplishments herald, however, she makes clear that, as a nurse, she is a member of "one of the most gender structured, systematically exploited, and oppressed occupational groups in the United States" (p. 22).

She tells us that she has negotiated from both sides of the table and as we read her accounts of encounters with members of entrenched power groups, we see that she well understands conflict negotiations from personal experience. Conflict negotiations, as the author makes clear, have within them both opportunities lost and great potentials in new directions.

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