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.

See full description

Leaving millions on the table

PON Staff   •  05/15/2013   •  Filed in Mediation

It’s hard to imagine a situation in which negotiating counterparts would choose to sacrifice hundreds of millions of dollars rather than reach agreement. But this is the choice that New York City and its teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), made in January when they declared impasse on a new teacher evaluation system.

Back … Read More 

Social Perceptions at the Crossroads: Why Sex (Still) Impacts the Perception and Evaluation of Other Status-Linked Identities

PON Staff   •  05/07/2013   •  Filed in Mediation, Videos

On November 1, 2012, Professor Kerri Johnson from the University of California, Los Angeles, delivered a talk at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her lecture, entitled “Social Perceptions at the Crossroads: Why Sex (Still) Impacts the Perception and Evaluation of Other Status-Linked Identities,” was part of a year-long research seminar co-sponsored by the Program on Negotiation … Read More 

Dear Negotiation Coach: “Should we leave external advisers out of the room?”

PON Staff   •  03/15/2013   •  Filed in Mediation

Q: My company is involved in a contentious and high-stakes intellectual-property dispute with a longtime competitor in our industry. We have been engaged in mediation for several months, thus far without success. In each session, there are dozens of people on each side, perhaps reflecting the high stakes and complex issues of law and technology … Read More 

Negotiator toolbox: Using e-mediation to resolve disputes.

PON Staff   •  03/15/2013   •  Filed in Mediation

The problem: You want to hire a mediator to help you resolve a conflict that you’re having with an individual or a company, but for various reasons, meeting face-to-face would be difficult. Perhaps you and the other party are located in different geographic areas. Maybe your dispute originated in an online transaction and you’ve never … Read More 

Think Like a Mediator

PON Staff   •  03/12/2013   •  Filed in Mediation

To set the stage for a productive discussion, open a difficult conversation with the Third Story, advise the authors of Difficult Conversations. The Third Story is one an impartial observer, such as a mediator, would tell; it’s a version of events both sides can agree on. “The key is learning to describe the gap – … Read More 

Taking Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Too Far

PON Staff   •  02/27/2013   •  Filed in Mediation

More and more companies are inserting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) clauses in their contracts with customers and vendors, and even in agreements with their own employees. ADR processes such as mediation and arbitration can be beneficial for all concerned if they help avoid the cost, delay, and uncertainty of going to court. Mediation, in particular, … Read More 

Mediation, Arbitration, and the Promise of Privacy

PON Staff   •  10/22/2012   •  Filed in Mediation

Negotiators often choose to resolve their conflicts through mediation, arbitration, and other alternative dispute resolution methods because of the privacy these methods promise. Unlike the public nature of litigation, mediation and arbitration typically give parties the freedom to hash out sensitive issues without the fear that their discussions and agreement will become public knowledge. Two … Read More 

Equal Time in Mediation

PON Staff   •  05/18/2012   •  Filed in Mediation

Some scientists have long tried to identify the key drivers of success in resolving disputes. Several factors have been proposed: individualized contact that goes beyond the superficial, equal status among parties, commitment to a common goal, and institutional support. Studies have shown that when such conditions are met, parties’ attitudes toward one another often improve.

Other … Read More 

Would you like us to inform you when new posts become available?

We hate spam as much as you do. You have our promise not to sell or share your email address — ever! Please read our privacy policy.