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Mediate.com

Define “Mediation” in Seven Words, Anyone?

by F. Peter Phillips
September 2011

Business Conflict Blog by Peter Phillips

F. Peter  Phillips

The irrepresible Michael Leathes is a collector of quotes. Little does he know that one of the early walks I had with him produced a quote of his own that I have always kept pinned on the corkboard of my mind: “It costs no more to think big than to think small.”

In a characteristically provocative and entertaining article, “Stop Shoveling Smoke!“, Leathes challenges our tolerance of vagueness in defining our own field. Why, he asks, is there no broadly accepted definition of the term “mediation”? Oddly for one so deeply steeped in cross-cultural subtleties, Leathes firmly believes not only that there is a universally applicable definition of “mediation,” but that it can be defined in seven words:
“Consensus facilitated by a trusted neutral person.”

Lots of good concepts there, though the “by” and the “a” seem to take up a bit of space. In the comments section of Mediate.Com, where the article is posted, some folks note that it really is the facilitation of ”negotiation” rather than “consensus,” while others question if it is mediation even when consensus is not achieved.

But I put it to my loyal readers: A cross-culturally acceptable and intellectually rigorous definition of mediation, seven words or less. Anyone? Anyone?

Biography


F. Peter Phillips is a commercial arbitrator and mediator with substantial experience providing consultation on the management of business disputes to companies around the globe.

A cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College and a magna cum laude graduate of New York Law School, Mr. Phillips served for nearly ten years as Senior Vice President of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR Institute). During that time, he earned a reputation as an author, teacher, industry liaison, and systems designer for the avoidance, management and resolution of complex and sophisticated business conflicts.

In 2008, Mr. Phillips formed Business Conflict Management LLC (BCM) in order to offer his direct services as a neutral and a consultant. Through BCM, Mr. Phillips also continues his career as a highly sought-after public speaker, facilitator and instructor.



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Website: www.BusinessConflictManagement.com

Additional articles by F. Peter Phillips

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