Mark L Perlmutter
T C 357 • Manag Hum Diff Advers World-W
M 330pm-630pm CRD 007B
Managing Human Differences in an Adversarial World
(formerly, “Why We Lie.”)
TC357 Unique #42840
People are easy to get along with until two or more of us get together. From boudoir to boardroom, from war room to courtroom, managing human differences is an omnipresent and enduring challenge. Too often when dealing with conflicting beliefs, wants, and aspirations, humans default to adversarialism—in law, international relations, business, politics, and even religion. So pervasive is the aggressive mindset, according to Deborah Tannen, that American society has become the “Argument culture.@ Yet, as we’ve seen in the recent presidential election, even the best cooperative intentions can be obliterated by the argument culture; sometimes we must fight fire with fire to avoid being consumed. This course will help you make the choice of whether to cooperate or to compete and improve your ability to do both.
Because managing human differences is multifaceted, we=ll delve into psychology, communication, game theory, logic, complexity and chaos for insights on the operation, costs and benefits of the strategies we pursue in dealing with our differences.
To address our Aargument culture,@ it=s not enough to advise others on what they must do: we, ourselves, must do better. For that reason, while it is valuable and perhaps most comfortable to engage in detached exploration, you will not be allowed to stop there. You will be challenged not only to engage your intellect, but to explore your whole self as you relate to the readings and to your classmates. Through immersion in games, exercises, and discussions, you will experience the principles about which you will be reading.
There is nothing more critical to managing differences than your ability to communicate, both orally and in writing. For that reason, we=ll have two individual oral presentations and one group presentation. You=ll learn how to communicate more powerfully than you=ve previously imagined, and, if need be, to overcome the natural anxiety that accompanies oral presentations.
This class will be limited to 15 students and, if there=s full enrollment, will be divided into groups of three students. Some of your graded work will be a group product. What better way to explore human differences than to participate in group activities in which you must take advantage of your diversity without letting it become a hindrance?
This course will also require that you have the courage to be honest and emotionally vulnerable. If you can=t do that, this is not the course for you. Please discuss any personal reservations with the professor before enrolling.
This course is approved as a substantial writing component course.
Course Packet, available at the Coop.
Writing with Style, 2d ed., John Trimble, available at the Coop.
Why Lawyers (and the rest of us) Lie and Engage in Other Repugnant Behavior, Mark Perlmutter, available for $15 in class.
Weekly assignments and class preparation. I try to tailor this course to each class’s particular needs and progress. Therefore, each week by Wednesday at midnight, I’ll email you information about the coming week’s class. Sometimes I may add to the assignments listed in the syllabus and sometimes I may subtract from the listed assignments. Please be sure to check your email each week for these assignment/preparation updates.
I hope you will find my description of the course requirements to be clear, sensible, and humane. They are designed to make clear my expectations, to encourage your best work in all aspects of the course, to avoid destructive competition among class members, and to promote a mutually supportive learning environment.
Class attendance and participation. Because the most important lessons of this course will arise from your actual experience in class, if you miss more than two classes you will presumptively fail. The only exceptions will be where all of your absences are both approved and made up. Approval will be given only if the reasons for absences rise to the level of your illness or death of loved ones, or for interscholastic competitions. If you have a question as to whether an excuse for an absence you’re planning will be approved, contact me in advance. Moreover, you must attend the first class and attend an individual meeting with the professor during the first week of classes. The purpose of this meeting is for me to get a sense of how to tune the course to the particular interests and needs of the class members. I will evaluate class participation on the quality, not the quantity of participation. Being very present is more important than being very vocal.
Oral Presentations. You will make two, short, individual oral presentations as well as one group presentation. The individual presentations will focus on persuasion. In the first individual presentation, we=ll zero in on your analysis and personal credibility. The objective of the second will be emotional impact. The group presentation will afford an opportunity to explore your courage.
Written Assignments. Before each class begins (except for the first class), you will need to turn in a written critical reaction to one of the readings for that class, and a one to two sentence comment on each of the others that tells me how you expect what you learned from that reading to make a difference in your behavior or in how you see the world. On the one to two sentence comments, please respond to the prompt, “What you [the professor] hoped I’d get out of this reading was ….” Your longer critical reactions should be double spaced, 12 point font, and may not exceed one page. For the first class, please see the one-page essay assignment below. In addition, I=m requiring a short, 3B5 page, midterm research paper. This paper should start out at least six or seven pages and be edited down. Each paper must be written individually and edited by your group. Each small group will receive the grade of its weakest paper. I will also require a final research paper of 13B17 pages in length. It, too, should start out longer and be edited down. The midterm paper should be incorporated into the final paper.
You will receive an A if your work in each of the categories below is satisfactory in my sole discretion. For the work to be satisfactory, it must represent your best efforts and comply with the grading criteria that I’ll tell you about with each assignment. I will critique each assignment. For each area in which your work is not satisfactory, your grade may drop at least one letter grade, depending the weighting of the category and the extent of the deficiency.
My grading philosophy is based on what will make you successful in life rather than on an objective evaluation of how your work compares to others or some other standard of excellence. The reason for this grading system is that success in life is rarely based on being naturally good at any one skill, but rather, your overall competence. Competence depends on (1) accurately assessing your own skills and passions; (2) finding work that takes advantage of those attributes; (3) finding work that either (i) motivates you to learn to overcome your weaknesses, (ii) doesn=t require skills in your areas of weakness, or (iii) allows you to rely on others to supply those skills; (4) hard work; and (5) pursuing mastery of whatever you do.
Here’s a rough percentage weighting I allocate to each graded activity:
Class participation 15
Individual oral presentations 20
Group oral presentation 10
Weekly reading reactions 15
Midterm paper 15
Final paper 25
There will be no “curve” on any area of evaluation; everyone has the opportunity to do satisfactory work and receive an “A.”
Writing Center: I strongly encourage you to use the Undergraduate Writing Center, FAC 211, 471-6222: http://uwc.utexas.edu/home). The Undergraduate Writing Center offers free, individualized, expert help with writing for any UT undergraduate, by appointment or on a drop-in basis. Whether you are writing a lab report, a resume, a term paper, a statement for an application, or your own poetry, UWC consultants will be happy to work with you. Their services are not just for writing with "problems." Getting feedback from an informed audience is a normal part of a successful writing project. Consultants help students develop strategies to improve their writing. The assistance they provide is intended to foster independence. Each student determines how to use the consultant's advice. The consultants are trained to help you work on your writing in ways that preserve the integrity of your work.
Contact Info and Office Hours:
Office: Heartland Plaza
1717 W. 6th Street, Suite 375, Austin, 78703 (Across from El Arroyo)
Free Parking in the “Third Base” building just west of Heartland Plaza
Office hours: the hour immediately before class. Please arrange for another place to meet if you’d prefer not to schlep to my office. I’m fond of the Starbucks on 24th and San Antonio.
There will be at least one class meeting at my home at which I’ll provide dinner:
3009 West Avenue, Austin, 78705 (Between Guadalupe and Lamar and between 30th and 31st streets)
About the Professor
Mark Perlmutter is a certified civil trial lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke in Austin, Texas, and an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law and in UT’s Plan II Honors Program. His private practice focuses on professional negligence, business disputes, class actions and serious injury cases, as well as mediation. He has lectured extensively for the State Bar of Texas, University of Houston, University of Texas, and South Texas law schools, helped write the Texas Lawyers Creed, and is a former President of the Travis County Bar and Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas. He served as chair of the State Bar of Texas Professionalism Committee, co-produced Lifetime Television=s Scared Silent, a movie based on one of his cases, and is currently serving on the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee. Honored as a legal innovator by The Texas Lawyer and as a ASuperlawyer@ by Texas Monthly Magazine, Perlmutter continues to speak on his book, Why Lawyers (and the rest of us) Lie and Engage in Other Repugnant Behavior. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in communication from Northwestern University and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law. He’s taught at the University of Texas Law School for eight years and this is his fourth year in Plan II. Last year he was recognized for his work in Plan II with a teaching award from the Liberal Arts Council.
(To be discussed in our first class.)
$ Honesty (not only being truthful but taking care to be accurate and to create accurate impressions)
$ Authenticity (presenting our true selves and values)
$ Autonomy (making choices we prefer for our own reasons)
$ Mastery (seeking not only competence but achieving extraordinary success at difficult tasks)
$ Diversity (appreciating the value of differing traits and perspectives)
$ Community (achieving a sense of connectedness, shared destiny, and yes, love)
$ Self-Esteem (feeling positively about ourselves)
$ Integrity (congruence between what we believe, what we say, and what we do)
$ Shared goals
$ Openness to criticism (delivered with love)
Roles and Responsibilities
(To be discussed in our first class.)
Treat one another with mutual respect
Don’t take things just personally
Be here and put in the effort
Support the Course Values
Make space for the expression of “negative” emotions
Come with an open mind
Respect and celebrate differences
Be an active listener
Come to class prepared
Don’t leave someone hanging out on a limb
Be willing to take risks
Creates a positive learning environment, guided by, and consistent with, Course Values.
Provides feedback to optimize learning.
Evaluates student performance.
Creates clear expectations.
Integrates real world applications
Doesn’t let things get bogged down
Meets each student at that person’s individual level.
Preliminary Assignments and Class Schedule
Prior to the first class (Week 1, August 31):
Read Bohls, “Chemistry,” in the packet. Find http://www.exploratorium.edu/complexity/java/lorenz.html the ALorenz Butterfly,@ and do the exercise; Read Gleick, Chaos, (in the packet), p. 11-31; watch the movie AHouse of Sand and Fog,@ or ARun Lola, Run.@ Also, go to www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm, (Humanmetrics Jung Typology test), take the test, record your results (including your numerical scores) on a sheet with your name on it, and bring those results to class. Begin reading Trimble, Writing with Style and plan to have completed it by the third week of class. Finally, write a one-page, double-spaced essay on something you care about. Be sure to state your thesis and support it. (No one-sentence comments or critical reactions are required for this first class.)
I. Managing Differing Wants
A. Cooperation and Competition
1. August 31, 2009: It’s About the Money
B . Negotiation
2. September 14: Hardball Negotiation
Read Schuler, A.J., AHardball Negotiations.@ Read all of Trimble, Writing with style. Skim Why Lawyers Lie, pp.lB78, and Stanger, AThe Shadow of the Past in the Evolution of Conflict and Cooperation.@ Skim the later readings sufficiently to help you decide on a paper topic and turn in a proposed thesis paragraph in class along with your first critical reactions and one–two sentence comments.
3. September 21: Mediation and Cooperative Negotiation
Waldrop, Complexity, pp. 241-297; Fisher & Ury, Getting to Yes, pp. 3B14; Perlmutter, ARewriting the Unwritten Rules of Procedure; Wright, Transformational Law...., all in the packet; Read ACompassionate Communication@ by Marshall Rosenberg,
http://www.nwcompass.org/compassionate_communication.html; Blitman & Maes, Visioning and Coaching Techniques in Mediation, pp. 20–23.
4. September 28: Consensus Decision Making
Packet: Doyle & Straus, How to Make Meetings Work, pp. 55B87, 124; Dating articles.
5. October 5: Analytics and Ethos (Presentations)
Read Perlmutter & Schuelke, AFoolproof Trial Strategy; Spence, Ch. 9, AOpening Them Up,@ pp. 135-152. Read Why Lawyers Lie..., Chapter 10, AIntegrity@; Read Chapter 11 from Rieke, Argumentation.... in packet; Spence, Ch. 4, AThe Incredible Power of Credibility,@ pp. 47B66, Ch. 10, “How to Deliver the Winning Argument,” pp. 153-177. You needn’t do reactions or comments to these articles, but understanding them will be essential to your success in your presentations. Come to class prepared to describe a situation in which you were successful. Also, using what you=ve learned in the readings, prepare a 3 minute argument on something you feel strongly about. This presentation will be graded.
6. October 12: Ethos (Presentations Cont’d); Listening
Read Keeva, AThe Healing Practice, and AThe Listening Practice,@pp. 97-124; Read Why Lawyers Lie... Chapter 8, AEmotions;@ Spence, Ch. 5, Listening; 67-73; Siegal, The Developing Mind, pp. 276B300; Watch the movie, ALars and the Real Girl;@
7. October 19: Emotional Appeals (Presentations)
Read Spence, Ch. 8 113-134, Ch. 11, 178B190; McKee, Storytelling that Moves People. Come to class prepared to tell a 3B5 minute story that inspires anger at an injustice; profound sadness about a tragedy; or the love and exhilaration that flows from a triumph of the human spirit. To do so, you will need to be able to determine the feeling you want to evoke, get in touch with that feeling from your own experience, and apply that feeling to the content. This presentation will be graded.
8. October 26: Emotional Appeals (Cont’d); Value Differences
Peck, The Different Drum, 186B208; Kane, pp. 294B350.
9. November 2: Bias, Prejudice and Intolerance (Location: 3009 West Av.)
Ditto and Lopez, AMotivated Skepticism: Use of Differential Decision Criteria for Preferred and Non-preferred Conclusions;@ Pronin, Gilovich, and Ross, AObjectivity in the Eye of the Beholder: Divergent Perceptions of Bias in Self Versus Others.@ Begin work on final group project—see Week 13.
10. November 9: Managing Aggressive Impulses
McCall, Nathan. Makes Me Wanna Holler, pp. 3B40, 412B416; Feldman, Noah, “Islam, Terror and the Second Nuclear Age,” from The New York Times; Ferguson, The War of the World, pp. 626B646; Siegal, The Developing Mind, pp. 239B275; Schwartz, The Mind and the Brain, pp. 1-20, 290B322; West, ALaw in Vichy and Today;@ Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, pp. 27B29, 50B52, 96B106.
III. Systems for Change
11. November 16: The Individual: Trust/integrity (May be rescheduled.)
Read Fukuyama, Trust, pp. 3B32; Noah, Defining Bullshit; Simon, The Integrity Dividend; Skim Callahan, The Cheating Culture 1B27, 259B295; Skim Tannen, The Argument Culture. pp. 3B26, 95B130, 218B225, 257B290; Appiah, Experiments in Ethics, pp. 33–72, all in the packet.
12. November 23: Spirituality, Relationships and Group Behavior
Read Why Lawyers Lie, Ch. 9; Spirituality Articles.
13. November 30: Courage and Closure
Watch and listen to Dr. Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream, http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm; Read Why Lawyers Lie, all of Part III, ACourage,@ pp. 159B203. Also, each group shall collaboratively develop and deliver a presentation, demonstration and/or exercise on courage. Your project must not be less than 8 minutes nor more than 10 minutes long. Time limits will be strictly enforced; rehearse to be sure you don’t exceed the time limit. You may use any media you wish but you are responsible for arranging for it and testing it before class. The criteria for grading will be the extent to which I feel inspired by what you present and the extent of your collaboration. Let me know if you have any special set-up needs as far as media
or the room furniture are concerned and I'll advise you how to effectuate it. Word to the wise: be sure to test any media or electronics in advance.