We tend to think mediation services are all alike, but in fact, mediators follow different approaches depending on the type of conflict they are dealing with.
In mediation, a neutral third-party mediator encourages both sides to present their views and helps them devise a mutually acceptable agreement. Ideally, mediation services allow parties to air their grievances and work toward a solution at minimal cost.
But mediators should acknowledge the complicating power dynamics that are likely to be present during mediation. In particular, mediators could carefully explain the mediation context and its goals and procedures, as well as any alternatives, to parties when talks begin.
Keep in mind, however, that your interests and those offering the mediation services may not be identical. The mediator’s sole interest is to help the parties achieve a settlement. This is also your interest, of course—but only if the settlement is preferable to your no-settlement alternatives, such as a trial or termination of your relationship with the other party.
What if you can’t meet in person, though? Perhaps you and the other party are located in different geographic areas. Maybe your dispute originated in an online transaction, and you’ve never even met. Or perhaps one of you feels threatened or intimidated by the other and is reluctant to meet in person. In the late 1990s, various start-ups began offering e-mediation or online mediation services to organizations and the general public.
Studies of online mediation services have found it to be an effective means of resolving disputes.
When parties involved in a serious conflict want to avoid a court battle, there are types of mediation can be an effective alternative. In mediation, a trained mediator tries to help the parties find common ground using principles of collaborative, mutual-gains negotiation. We tend to think mediation processes are all alike, but in fact, mediators … Read More
The exchange between the United States and the Taliban of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, represented the first public prisoner exchange of a US soldier in the thirteen year US involvement in Afghanistan. The background of the deal including how Private First Class Bergdahl (promoted twice to Sergeant … Read More
Suppose 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. That’s where online mediation comes in.
… Read More
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 meeting face-to-face would be difficult. Perhaps you and the other party are located in different geographic areas, or social-distancing guidelines are keeping you apart. Maybe your dispute originated in an online transaction … Read More
A 62-year-old salesman believes he has convincing evidence that his boss passed him over for a promotion because of his age. What options does he have? He could let the matter drop and perhaps look for another job. He could file an employment-discrimination lawsuit. Or, if his company offers mediation services, he could have the … Read More
PON offers fellowship grants to students at Harvard University, MIT, Tufts University and other Boston-area schools who are doing internships or undertaking summer research projects in negotiation and dispute resolution in partnership with public, nonprofit or academic organizations. The Summer Fellowship Program’s emphasis is on advancing the links between scholarship and practice in negotiation and … Read More
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School is pleased to present:
Reflections of a Mediator:
in an Age of Conflict
Dr. Johnston Barkat
United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
12:15 – 1:30PM
Pound Hall 100
Harvard Law School campus
Free and open to the public. A non-pizza lunch will be provided.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Johnston Barkat is the Assistant Secretary-General heading … Read More