Newsweek: Use ‘both/and’ method to address differences in beliefs and values

New book from Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis offers positive outcomes

An increasingly divided political environment and navigating life in the post-pandemic era is spurning confirmation bias and tension among friends, colleagues and romantic partners.


Marianne Lewis, PhD, dean of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business.

And although an "either/or" approach — picking one side and defending it — might feel natural to defend differences in personal beliefs and values, “over time it can be limited at best and detrimental at worst,” according to Marianne Lewis, PhD, dean of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, via an excerpt of her new book — “Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems” — posted in Newsweek.

Lewis, along with co-author Wendy K. Smith, Emma Smith Morris Professor of Management and co-director of the University of Delaware's Lerner Women’s Leadership Initiative, wrote in Newsweek that there is a productive way to achieve more effective discussions: both/and thinking.

“Both/and thinking involves valuing, rather than vilifying differences; embracing rather than dismissing conflicts,” Lewis and Smith wrote. “While not easy, our research shows that embracing both/and thinking results in more creative, lasting solutions and more satisfied people.”

Lewis and Smith’s research found four sets of tools for both/and thinking that can be used to embrace differences: "appreciate differences," "find commons goals," "reign in emotions" and "it’s an ongoing balancing act."

Read more from Newsweek.

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