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Mary Parker Follett Award

The Mary Parker Follett Award is presented to an individual who has shown a passion and willingness to take risks in tackling a contemporary problem or opportunity in the field of dispute resolution; has used innovative and experimental techniques; and draws upon the talents and ideas of all persons involved.  Throughout history, disputes had been conceived as win-lose propositions. When two parties face each other in court, out of court, or on the battlefield, there have always been winners and losers. Even in the ADR processes of arbitration and mediation, the two sides often come at the situation from the perspective of maximizing their gains and minimizing those of the other side.

A creative thinker in the early 20th century proposed a better way of resolving disputes. Her name was Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933), a Quaker social worker and pioneer in the areas of informal education and community building. She was a proponent of interest-based conflict resolution and published her ideas in two books The New State (1918) and Creative Experience (1924).  During the mid-1920s, Follett shifted her focus from community group processes to the field of business. Business leaders sought her advice on how to manage their enterprises and she became a featured speaker at national and international business conferences. Her talks were collected and published posthumously in the influential book Dynamic Administration which further advanced her arguments for an interest-based focus on conflict resolution. Follett was one of the first people to apply psychological insight and social science findings to the study of industrial organization and conflict. 

Admirers of Ms. Follett’s work have kept her ideas alive. The Mary Parker Follett Network, for example, actively “fosters the exchange of information about, and ideas inspired by MPF” with annual conferences; and mediator Albie Davis, an ACR member, has brought Ms. Follett to life by her presentation in costume via “An Evening with Mary Parker Follett.” (Available at 

Thirty years after Follett’s passing, two social scientists[1] in 1965 wrote a textbook, A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations: An Analysis of a Social Interactive System, contrasting interest-based and traditional collective bargaining. The virtual dominance of traditional collective bargaining, at that time, would not give way to interest-based bargaining.  Sixteen years later, the authors[2] of Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreements without Giving In, found greater acceptance by applying their ideas to a broader range of disputes. The authors of both books benefited from the pioneering work of Mary Parker Follett. 

This was prepared, in part, by Jerry Barrett, Ed.D, a 2015 recipient of the MPF Award, and author of several books on interest-based bargaining.

[1] Walton and McKersie

[2] Fisher and Ury


2017 Recipient:  

Daniel Rainy is a leading alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and online dispute resolution (ODR) educator and practitioner.  He is currently active as a teacher of graduate university courses in mediation, negotiation, conflict theory, international dispute resolution, and ODR.  He brings an interest in the impact of information and communication technology on all forms of conflict engagement to his work.  He was one of the instructors for the first university ODR course (at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst), and he has developed graduate level ODR courses for several universities, in addition to skills-based ODR training for dispute resolution centers and professional associations.  As a consultant, he has worked with clients in the the development of ODR resources, intercultural negotiation skills, Ombudsman programs, and organizational conflict engagement programs.


Daniel is currently a Fellow of the  National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, a member of the Board of Directors for the  InternetBar.Org (an NGO dedicated to the use of technology to enhance access to justice), the co-founder of PeaceTones (an access to justice program bringing opportunities to artists in conflict and post conflict areas),  Co-Chair of the Ombudsman Committee of the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, a member of the Advisory Board for Modria, a for-profit

Online Dispute Resolution company, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the  Northern Virginia Mediation Service.


He is a member of the editorial board for Conflict Resolution Quarterly, and he is one of the Editors-in-Chief of the International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution.  He is an author/editor of the award-winning book, Online Dispute Resolution Theory and Practice, and numerous other book chapters and articles about ODR and ADR.

Past Recipients:

Lorig Charkoudian
2015 Jerome Barrett
2014 Floyd D. Weatherspoon 
2013 Colin Rule
2012 Tammy Lenski
2011 Kirsten Bailey Atkinson
2010 Ethan Katsh
2009 Janet Rifkin
2006 Gail Bingham, President of RESOLVE
2005 John R. Helie, founder of ConflictNet and
2003 Chris Carlson, Executive Director, Policy Consensus Initiative
2001 Rachel Wohl, Executive Director, Maryland Judiciary's Mediation & Conflict Resolution Office

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