Mediation

Mediation is a process of third-party involvement in a dispute. A mediator cannot impose an outcome but rather assists the disputing parties in reaching their own agreement. Mediation can be used in a wide range of disputes, including labor disputes, public policy disputes, disagreements among nations, family disputes, and neighborhood and community quarrels. According to research, about 80% of dispute mediations lead to resolution.

A mediator must be able to command trust and confidence by building a rapport with the parties in the mediation process. Opponents must feel their interests are truly understood, because only then can a mediator reframe problems and float creative solutions.

As compared with other forms of dispute resolution, mediation can have an informal, improvisational feel. It can include some or all of the following mediation techniques for conflict resolution:

Planning: Before the process begins, the mediator helps the parties decide where they should meet and who should be present.

Joint discussion: After each side presents its opening remarks, the mediator and the disputants are free to ask questions with the goal of arriving at a better understanding of each party’s needs and concerns.

Caucuses: If emotions run high during a joint session, the mediator might split the two sides into separate rooms for private meetings, or caucuses.

Negotiation: At this point, it’s time to begin formulating ideas and proposals that meet each party’s core interests—familiar ground for any experienced negotiator. A mediator can lead the negotiation with all parties in the same room, or may engage in “shuttle diplomacy,” moving back and forth between the teams, gathering ideas, proposals, and counterproposals.

These and other techniques and strategies are discussed in articles available at PON.

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Negotiation research you can use: Bringing mediation into the technological era

PON Staff   •  09/30/2019   •  Filed in Mediation

Laptops, smartphones, databases, and project-management software have become common tools of the negotiation trade. Meanwhile, even as online dispute resolution has risen in popularity, the traditional practice of inperson mediation remains a largely technology-free zone, with smartphones often turned off and tucked away.

“The field of mediation has proved surprisingly resistant to technological influence, an island … Read More 

What is Divorce Mediation?

Katie Shonk   •  07/29/2019   •  Filed in Mediation

divorce mediation

A divorce can take years—and cost a small fortune—to resolve. The task of negotiating child and spousal support, dividing property and other possessions, and establishing child-custody arrangements can be overwhelming, especially when the principals are barely speaking to each other. In the worst-case scenario, separating spouses hire cutthroat lawyers to make rigid (and sometimes outrageous) … Read More 

Mandated Mediation: What to Expect

Katie Shonk   •  07/08/2019   •  Filed in Mediation

mandated mediation

More and more companies are inserting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) clauses in their contracts with customers and vendors—and even, in some cases, in agreements with their own employees. ADR clauses can be beneficial for all concerned if it means avoiding the cost, delay, and uncertainty of going to court. Mandated mediation, in particular, may offer … Read More 

Ask A Negotiation Expert: To Get Unstuck, Enlist A Mediator

PON Staff   •  05/31/2019   •  Filed in Mediation

Most businesspeople understand the value of using mediation to resolve conflicts, but did you know that professional mediators can help you reach agreement during the dealmaking phase? Stephen Goldberg, professor emeritus at Northwestern School of Law, describes how mediators can aid parties in creating value at the negotiating table.
Negotiation Briefings: Mediators are typically only called … Read More 

Managing Faultlines Group Negotiations

PON Staff   •  04/23/2018   •  Filed in Mediation

Group negotiations are a fact of managerial life, yet the outcomes of teamwork are highly unpredictable. Sometimes groups cohere, reaching novel solutions to nagging problems, and sometimes infighting causes them to collapse. How can you predict when conflict will emerge in groups, and what can you do to stop it?

Dora Lau of the Chinese University … Read More 

Arbitration vs Mediation: Using Teambuilding and ADR in Negotiation

PON Staff   •  04/18/2017   •  Filed in Mediation

During his years as George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, one of James A. Baker, III’s, goals was to encourage the free-market reforms that Communist Party of the Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had launched in the late 1980s. One day during his tenure, a high-level Bush administration official commented in the press that … Read More 

Mediation Used in Dispute Resolution Over Art Museums

Katie Shonk   •  03/09/2017   •  Filed in Mediation

Mediation Used in Dispute Resolution Over Art Museums

When partners are negotiating a new business deal, overconfidence can lead them to overlook the possibility that the business will fail or otherwise struggle. Wise negotiators envision not only the best-case scenario, but the worst-case scenario, and prepare for it before signing on the dotted line. … Read More 

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