About Me

Hi.  I’m Jim Bryant and I’m one of the originators of drama theory (called ‘DT’ for short).

We created DT over 20 years ago as a framework to help people make sense of real-life situations involving many parties with different interests.  It’s since been used by professionals to support decision making in many fields, but can equally help individuals think through what to do in everyday situations.  We think it has great potential to be used even more extensively.

In this Blog I’ll tell you about some of these applications so you can see how you might use DT yourself.  I’ll also tell you about current developments and of course will welcome  your comments on taking the work forward.  However in some of the earlier posts I’ll provide some of the background history so you can see where we are coming from.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Jim

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6 thoughts on “About Me

    1. I much appreciate your interest in my new book. Thanks also for giving me the opportunity of clarifying the distinction between DT1, the original version of the theory and DT2 the revised version that Nigel Howard introduced in the last year of his life. You are quite correct to say that DT2 recognises only 3 dilemmas, but that does not make it a ‘lite’ version of the concepts; it captures all the paradoxes of conflict and cooperation that are found in DT1 but in a more precise and efficient manner. Some of the dilemmas suggested by the DT1 formulation could be true in their presence but false in their relevance; others effectively involved ‘double counting’. So DT2 recognises jut three dilemmas: Persuasion, Rejection and Trust, albeit the first two of these are sometimes described as being in one of two modes (making therefore 5 distinct ‘dilemmas’). The other difference is that in DT2 we look at dilemmas associated with each option, whereas in DT1 we must compare ‘scenarios’ (i.e. sets of option choices) which can often be very difficult. As long as one retains a sense of the whole confrontation – which the options board captures – then this piece wise approach is more manageable.
      One of my motivations in writing the present book was indeed to showcase DT2 as I had already covered DT1 in my earlier text ‘The Six Dilemmas of Collaboration’ (Published by John Wiley). So if you obtain my new book you are not getting half the story, but the full picture!

  1. Expressing dilemmas in DT2 as only three, although mathematically true, may be problematical, I prefer to use five.

    Firstly using a Threat dilemma subsumes the trust and co-operation dilemmas into a single one. Although technically true, the co-operation dilemma is useful. If Albert doesn’t trust Betty, it sometimes has to be pointed out to Betty that this is a problem for her as well as a problem for Albert. Also a way out of a co-operation dilemma is to make the person who doesn’t trust you powerless, in which case – who cares if you are not trusted? If Albert can’t do anything about it, why should Betty care if he distrusts her? This way out isn’t available for the Trust dilemma.

    The Threat and Rejection are the other dilemmas compounded into a Rejection dilemma. I can see why this has been done, but the distinction is sometimes useful when structuring the problem, especially when something happening is closer to the classic threat dilemma. I.e. I think of something to do as a threat, and the other person doesn’t believe the threat

    That leave the Persuasion dilemma. There are two forms,
    i) when the action is a threat – something you wouldn’t be doing except to influence the other party.
    ii) when the action is something the party wants to do anyway.
    Aren’t these dealt with in the same way?So who cares what type they are?

    1. The five dilemmas which Mike uses are: Persuasion, Trust, Co-operation, Threat and Rejection (i.e. but not the Positioning Dilemma of DT1). I’m not sure whether he defines each of these as in DT1, but assuming that he does then I’m not persuaded (!) by his arguments to retain them all: instead I would rather work with the DT2 formulation.

      One of the principal aims of this blog is to encourage people new to the concepts of DT to engage with its approach and to apply them in new fields. While it is possible that this may involve some ‘customising’ of the framework to suit local circumstances I feel that it would be unhelpful and confusing to unpick what is a quite well-established and well-founded body of theory. Accordingly within this blog – as within my recent book – I shall be working with DT2 (rarely with DT1) as it has been presented and used by myself and other practitioners and researchers, and I encourage other contributors to do likewise (or to relate their own ‘versions’ to the standard formulations)

  2. Sorry, I have not made myself clear. I am working with (with the MoD) using this DT2 three dilemma formulation, trying to use DT2 maths, not DT1 maths. I find it convenient, as in the post above, to use the co-operation dilemma for reasons I have mentioned, and to split the Rejection Dilemma into Rejection and Threat. It isn’t DT1

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