These combined concerns influenced the primary author's decision to create a graduate course
elective titled The Reflective Practitioner:Consulting,Conflict,and Change in Organizational Set-
tings. One of the course creator's primary goals was to provide his students with exposure to real
world CR practice via personal interviews with seasoned, successful practitioners representing a vari-
ety of CR disciplines. In securing such an educational opportunity, the primary author/course creator
contacted practitioners who have developed reputations for effective CR practice and extended an
invitation for them to share their CR journeys with the students. The ultimate goal of the course was
to provide the graduate students with a more realistic understanding of some of the actual challenges
and requirements of practitioners in conducting diverse CR interventions, coupled with the abundant
rewards practitioners derived from their work.
To ensure a comprehensive view of what successful work in the CR field requires, the primary
author originally developed a set of 10 interview questions designed to highlight the roles and func-
tions of the nine interviewees. The questions solicited feedback about what led the interviewees into
the CR line of work, what they found to be most meaningful in their practice, what major challenges
they have faced, key lessons learned, and what particular CR skills, attributes or characteristics they
believed contributed to their success. Another key area of focus was how the practition ers utilized
Donald Schön's (1983) “reflection-in-action”principles. After reviewing transcripts of the responses
to the questions and observing the profound impact of the interviews on the students, the primary
author was motivated to share some of the findings with a wider audience of people in different
stages of their CR careers. To accomplish this, he enlisted critical assistance from the two co-authors,
who contributed greatly with the logistics, research and writing of the report.
Following evaluation of the initial interview data and receiving advice from other experts in the
CR field, the authors elected to conduct a second round of interviews with the original interviewees
to probe deeper into their insights and experiences. They believed this would enhance the breadth of
the responses and appeal to a wider audience of CR practitioners.
It is the hope of the authors that this report will benefit individuals aspiring to work in the CR
field and also serve CR practitioners who ordinarily do not get to share insights, concerns and ana-
lyses with other CR professionals due to the solitary nature of the work. For the purpose of brevity,
the responses to all of the questions are not included in the following text.
Our report is unique in several ways. We consciously selected and interviewed a variety of CR
specialists who practice mediation, but who also conduct other types of CR interventions. Our contri-
bution also differs in that we did not focus on a particular aspect of our field, such as the transforming
effect on our specialists, or on one specific expertise. Our questions were wide-ranging to lend
insights to students and others about how CR practitioners view their work, what motivates them,
and what drives the choices they make. Above all, our hope was that this glimpse into the “hearts
and minds”of professionals in our field would advance our understanding of some factors that influ-
ence success among CR practitioners.
When constructing the list of possible interviewees, the primary author wanted variety among domes-
tic and international workers; among those whose primary jobs were in government, higher education
or private consulting businesses; and among the types of conflict work practiced. He also sought
respondents who have worked in the field for at least 10 years and are viewed as highly successful in
their work. The final list comprised nine interviewees, including three professors who are also active
practitioners, three organizational ombudspersons (ombuds) at major state universities or within a
346 KATZ ET AL.