$0.00 – $6.00
John Forester and David Stitzel
Three-person, three-issue, integrative, scoreable mediation among representatives of a homelessness task force and a neighborhood group, mediated by a planning department representative, over the terms of a proposed homeless shelter in their suburban town
G. Hutter, the representative of the Westville Homelessness Task Force, hopes to turn the old social service center into a shelter for Westville’s homeless. J. Wood represents Neighbors Together, a local neighborhood organization. Wood is worried about the shelter’s impact on the community: what will this do to property values? A. Goldsmith, a member of the Westville City Planning staff, has been asked by the Mayor to act as a mediator, to help Hutter and Wood come up with an agreement they can live with–before the City Council plunges ahead and decides on its own.
There are three issues to be negotiated. Participants have the opportunity to make use of their different interests, to trade across issues, and to achieve joint gains. However, not all agreements are optimal and there exists considerable scope for the parties to achieve far below what they could possibly receive.
In all, thirteen arguments are possible. Comparing agreements allows discussion of the following points:
- Differences between joint gains and compromises
- Tensions between creating and claiming value
- The centrality of trading, exploiting differences in relative priorities
- Issues of power and representation of affected parties
- Roles of third party helpers and questions about neutrality
- Mediating strategies when mediators have multiple goals
- Perceptions and realities of “even-handedness” and neutrality
- Sources of mediators’ bias
- Sources of mediators’ influence
- Activist vs. neutral mediator roles
This exercise was written specifically to explore non-neutral mediation strategies, but can be used to examine distributive and integrative negotiation strategies. Because the mediator’s performance is scored, this game allows us an evaluation of the neutral’s intervention strategies under conditions that call into question the mediator’s neutrality.
For all parties:
- Background Information: A Shelter for Westville?
Role Specific Confidential Information for:
- A. Goldsmith, Planning Director
- G. Hutter, Homelessness Task Force Representative
- J. Wood, Representative of Neighbors Together
- All of the above
- Teaching Note
- 2 key debriefing charts
Community dispute mediation; mediation; mediator bias
Homelessness in Niceville
Negotiated Development in Redstone
|Time required:||1-2 hours|
|Number of participants:||3|
|Neutral third party present:||Mediator|
|Teaching notes available:||Yes|