The three conditions: Solving complex problems through self-governing agreements

Volker C. Franke, Kennesaw State University
Eric Wolterstorff, LLC
Cody W. Wehlan, Kennesaw State University


Grounded in peacebuilding and negotiation literature, we propose a Three Conditions Model that promotes collaborative engagement and can help advance sustainable solutions to complex problems - domestic and international - through self-governing agreements based on the following three conditions: (1) inclusion of, (2) common understanding among, and (3) trust between all prime actors. Collectively, these conditions make the management of complex problems, and of the conflicts arising from them, more effective and sustainable. Using the coronavirus pandemic as an example, we briefly illustrate the nature of complex problems and self-governing agreements, address the inclusion-trust dilemma that mars many negotiations and assess the utility of each condition to address the coronavirus response in the United States more effectively.