Welcome to the
7th International Summer School on Business Mediation . ISBM 2016!

Working with top trainers from around the world. A unique experience for all. 

July 18 – 22. 2016 in Admont / Austria



“Transformation” was the central theme of the 7th International Summer School on Business Mediation, which has as a result of the recent developments in Europe gained an additional and topical relevance. What does transformation mean within the context of conflict management and mediation?

A stone cannot change on its own. In contrast, living systems, such as individuals, teams, organizations, or corporations are changing themselves all the time. But how profound are these changes? How do change processes, transitions, alterations, or transformations differ from each other? What role does conflict play in this context?

A popular metaphor that is used for transformation is the change of the caterpillar to the butterfly. Through its metamorphosis, the caterpillar obtains a new physical structure, experiences a new lifeform; in the perception of the environment, there are other factors that are of importance to this new form of life. We define transformation as a fundamental change in the way we see ourselves, our relationships with others, the environment, and society.

Transformation requires a departure from familiar thought and behavior patterns. For a sustainable change, it is not enough to ask the question “Are we doing things right?”. “Are we doing the right things?” - asking questions about purpose, goals, and meaning are essentially at the core of transformation.

Transformation needs others. Transformation alone, of its own accord, is not possible. It needs a shared space where these developments can become possible, a possibility space. Where can these spaces for development be found, especially in conflict situations?

When the term “transformation” is used, often the result of the change is more in focus and the process that was necessary for the transformation less. What uncertainties are associated with the transition from old to new ways of thinking? What ambivalences do we experience; how much tolerance for ambiguity do we have during these transitional phases?

As we had been able to observe over the last time in Europe, transformation does not seem possible in crisis situations. An emergency system takes control that secures the survival of the system. Whether essential questions with regard to living together in this world can be addressed is doubtful. Yet how can the transition from crisis to transformation succeed?

Within the framework of the 7th International Summer School on Business Mediation 2016, leading international speakers from 3 continents took the participants in search of some of the clues that revolve around the topic “transformation”. We experienced an exchange with representatives from the fields of neurobiology, medicine, philosophy, music, mediation, Buddhism, systemic structural constellations, law, and various schools of therapy to address questions such as:  

  • When did I experience moments in my life where my view of myself, of others, of society changed fundamentally? What were the triggers for this reorientation? Which internal search processes were initiated, and     what kind of behavior and/or attitude did this lead to? Who or what gave me support, orientation, and security during these phases of transition?
  • What changes can we observe in organizations at the moment? What does this mean for leadership? What approaches to leadership can support transformation on the individual and organizational level? Which new conceptions of organizations permit and strengthen transformation?
  • How do conflicts contribute to transformation? How do we support transformation in conflict management so that, for example, there is more than a clarifying of the conflict issues, but also an enabling of a change in the relationship between the conflict parties? What other dimensions of transformation can we experience in conflict situations?
  • What changes are we currently experiencing in society? Many people are worried; others see changes in civil society that give hope for a better future. How can we and how do we want to deal with these dynamics?


Under the heading of “Transformation”, there was plenty of space over the course of the five days for unique experiences and encounters. Experiments, constellations, movement and body work, music, massages, and outdoor activities etc. awaited the participants along with workshops and lectures with 12 years of tried and tested experiential learning.

We look forward to meet you again or for the first time!          

Mario Patera                             Ulrike Gamm