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

Boston Globe Highlights Kenneth Feinberg’s Visit to Prof. Robert Bordone’s Dispute System Design Course

PON Staff   •  12/08/2009   •  Filed in Business Negotiations, Daily, Dispute Resolution

On Tuesday, December 8, 2009, the Front Page of the Boston Globe featured an article on Kenneth Feinberg, President Obama’s “Pay Czar.” Feinberg was a guest lecturer at Professor Robert Bordone’s Dispute Systems Design Course.

To read the Boston Globe article online, click here.

For more information about the Dispute Systems Design Course and Prof. Bordone’s clinical … Read More 

Obama as mediator?

PON Staff   •  09/15/2009   •  Filed in Daily

Recently, a local incident grew into a national dispute that seemed ripe for mediation. After being locked out of his home and forcing his way in, Henry Louis Gates, an African-American Harvard University professor, had a confrontation with Cambridge, Massachusetts police sergeant James Crowley and was arrested for disorderly conduct. In a press conference, President … Read More 

Mnookin Calls for Mediation

PON Staff   •  07/24/2009   •  Filed in Daily

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Professor Robert H. Mnookin, Chair of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, responds to the national debate on the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Lewis Gates, Jr..

Mnookin calls for mediation to resolve the conflict between Prof. Gates and the arresting officer. Click here to read … Read More 

Negotiation Journal July issue focuses on mediation, multi-party negotiation, trade negotiations and curiosity

PON Staff   •  06/23/2009   •  Filed in Daily

As the use of mediation continues to grow, researchers continue to examine what makes mediators effective and what the impact of mediation is on parties in dispute. Four articles in the July 2009 issue of Negotiation Journal provide an in-depth view of mediation effectiveness, with some interesting findings.

In the first article, Stephen Goldberg, Margaret Shaw, … Read More 

Negotiating When Business and Family Collide

PON Staff   •  06/30/2008   •  Filed in Daily

Basic negotiation skills may seem easy to apply in business situations but what about when business and family collide?

For example, a 69-year-old CEO of a large financial firm that has been in his family for three generations is considering retirement. He has three children who may be interested in taking over the business in addition … Read More 

Rare video of a small-claims mediation

PON Staff   •  06/16/2008   •  Filed in Daily

Negotiation Pedagogy at the Program on Negotiation (NP@PON) produced a video of an actual landlord-tenant small claims mediation – from start to finish, including side-bar conversations – for its 2009 Mediation Pedagogy Conference. It is rare that an actual (as opposed to staged or acted) mediation is available for instructional purposes. Of the many different … 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.