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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 scientists1 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 authors2 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.
1Walton and McKersie
2Fisher and Ury

2019 Recipient:  Joseph (Josh) Stulberg

The Mary Parker Follett Award is presented to an individual who:

  1. Has shown a passion and willingness to take risks in tackling a contemporary problem or opportunity in the field of dispute resolution
  2. Has used innovative and experimental techniques and
  3. Draws upon the talents and ideas of all persons involved

Joseph “Josh” Stulberg embodies all these attributes.

Josh has been active in the ADR field as a “pioneer,” practitioner, scholar, teacher, trainer and mentor since 1973 when he left his job at legal services to serve as the founder of the American Arbitration Association’s Community Dispute Services in Rochester, New York.  The Center was created as a means of addressing the Rochester Public School Integration reorganization crisis.  It was the first dispute resolution center in NY and only the third in the country.  Under Josh’s leadership, the Center flourished, tackling difficult civil and criminal matters and working to improve racial tensions.  As one of the earliest adopters of mediation as a means to address contemporary problems, Josh paved the way for the explosion of interest in and development of mediation in the courts and beyond.  He has never lost sight though of the important underlying core which makes mediation a distinct process – namely the self-determination of the parties and the appropriate role of the mediator in not dictating a result.   

Josh’s work as a mediator is extensive.  He has mediated disputes of national significance involving Native American land claims, environmental controversies, and state budget negotiations; he has facilitated significant public planning processes among governmental leaders, NGOs, unions, and citizen groups in emerging democratic societies in Central and Eastern Europe.

Regarded as one of the nation’s pre-eminent mediator trainers, and the only individual to participate in conducting mediator training for the U.S. Attorney General’s original Neighborhood Justice Center programs in Atlanta, Kansas City, and Los Angeles, Professor Stulberg has trained more than 9,500 people in 45 states to serve in court, agency-based, or community-based dispute resolution programs. He developed and conducted the prototype 40-hour mediator training programs for the supreme courts of Florida and Michigan; designed and implemented the first peer-mediation program in New York City public schools; teamed with Partners for Democratic Change to deliver dispute resolution training to governmental and NGO leaders in Central and Eastern Europe; and has taught courses on mediation theory and practice at multiple U.S. law schools and for university students in Western, Central, and Eastern Europe.

After his stint with the Rochester Community Dispute Service, Josh directed Wayne State University’s interdisciplinary Master of Arts in Industrial Relations Program and then created and co-directed the university’s Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution program.  He then became a professor of law and director of advanced studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, where he led the formation of the country’s first LL.M. Program in Dispute Resolution.  From 1998 until this year when he retired, he has been the Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University.

Professor Stulberg has published more than 60 articles in professional journals on theoretical, policy, and practice issues in dispute resolution, including his seminal piece The Theory and Practice of Mediation: A Reply to Professor Susskind written in 1981 and still widely cited today.  He also has co-authored a book on mediation strategy and theory, The Middle Voice (2d ed. 2013) (with Lela Love) and a law school textbook, Mediation Theory and Practice (3d ed. 2013) (with Jim Alfini and Sharon Press).

Active in professional organizations, he was co-chair of the editorial board of the ABA’s Dispute Resolution Magazine, the quarterly publication of its 4,500-member Dispute Resolution Section, from 2012-2017. He served on the Advisory Committee on Dispute Resolution to the Supreme Court of Ohio (1999-2011); chaired the national Task Force of the Association for Conflict Resolution that analyzed the Arbitration Fairness Act (2009); and was the reporter for the Joint Committee on the Model Standards of Conduct Mediators (2002-05).

One of only 18 international scholars awarded a 2012 Ikerbasque Research Fellowship by the Basque Foundation for Science, Professor Stulberg was in residence at the University of Deusto Law School during the 2012-13 academic year pursuing a comparative study of legal frameworks for implementing mediation processes to resolve cross-border commercial disputes. Among other professional honors, he is the recipient of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators and The Ohio State University Faculty Award for Excellence in Community-Based Scholarship (2003).

He has served – and developed – this field for over 30 years.  His insight, commitment, integrity, innovation, and mastery of collaboration (in the best sense of the word) make him the ideal recipient of the Mary Parker Follett Award.  

Past Recipients:
2017     Daniel Rainy
2016     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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10/21/2020 » 10/23/2020
2020 ACR Virtual Conference

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