Conflict Systems Articles
Like many conflict resolution or ADR professionals who start as a mediator, it doesn’t take long before a mediator doing workplace cases in one organization begins to wonder about the organization’s culture, communication, or leadership skills. “If only the organization had better practices, the mediation (or coaching or training or group facilitation) wouldn’t be needed”, many have thought.
Conflict is a common occurrence in society. It arises everywhere, among different types of parties, in different parts of the world, and for different reasons. If conflict is not addressed properly it can escalate and degenerate leaving serious consequences in its wake. This article explores the true costs of conflict, methods to address conflict, and how to prevent conflicts from escalating in the first place.
We like to believe that we are rational beings who make rational decisions. Sometimes, we are. And sometimes, we are not.
In an era of the vanishing trial, mediation advocacy is gradually replacing trial advocacy as the key litigator's skill. From a mediator with nearly 30 years mediation experience, here is a concise best practice list for the mediation advocate.
(4/15/15)Michael Mcilwrath, Jeremy Lack
“Shaping the Future of Dispute Resolution & Improving Access to Appropriate Justice." The goal of the Global Pound Conference (“GPC”) Series is to improve access to justice around the world by generating actionable data from stakeholders in the dispute prevention and resolution fields to facilitate greater access to appropriate dispute resolution (“ADR”) processes worldwide. Please join our efforts!
(4/14/15)Marvin E. Johnson
Historically, the three main dispute resolution methods used in the United States have been violence, avoidance, and litigation. Today, there are a variety of additional processes that can be used to foster the resolution of disputes. Many of these processes began gaining popularity in the early 1970s as a result of frustration with the varied human and financial costs associated with litigation.
As the Danish mediator Tina Monberg has pointed out in The Butterfly Effect, chaos theory sits at many intersections: conflict and consensus; litigation and negotiation; problem and solution; public policy and private process, art and science, servant leadership and personal leadership, and others. Mediation is both a practice and a theory, cutting across negotiation and justice, practicality and academia, needs and demands.
Roaming around on the internet the other day, I stumbled across an interesting article on LiveScience.com about the effect of temperature on our psyches. Entitled, “5 Weird Ways Cold Weather Affects Your Psyche”, the author Laura Geggel discusses different studies showing that we react differently depending upon whether a room is hot or cold. While the March 11, 2015 article discusses 5 “weird ways”, three of them are pertinent to negotiations.
(4/06/15)Alan E. Gross
Bush and Folger recently contributed an article to this “Mediation Futures Project” series that advocates strongly for “Refocusing on Party Self-Determination” but also suggests that mediators should conform to orthodox Transformative Mediation practices. This partial rejoinder, while acknowledging the important contribution of the TM focus on self-determination to mediation practice, also recognizes the value of other mediation practices.
Diversity matters! For mediation to develop in fresh and vibrant ways, we need to think and act creatively. Some of the best ideas come from making connections – for example, between mediation, sciences, and the arts – and through using these connections in practice. Bernie Mayer's article in the Mediation Futures series struck chords with me, with its references to complexity science, chaos, and the importance of adapting the ways we mediate to meet diverse needs, instead of expecting participants to fit in with the particular way we choose to mediate.
We, like all professionals, focus most of our attention on making and using tools. We have jobs to do, expectations to meet, and tools are extensions of our selves. They imply a strategy for proceeding, a source of confidence that we really can make an impact on a reality that badly needs it. The negotiation literature, especially the teaching and research literature, is dominated by a focus on tools. Tools are thus essential, and also dangerous.
Preparation for the future of mediation needs to focus on who will be using mediation and how. The audience in 20 years will have different expectations than the audience of today.
Notwithstanding rules, admonitions and the fervent desire for efficient resolution of disputes, our current system of litigation creates incentives to drive up the costs of litigation. So how do we change these incentives?
Many times a mediator has analogized mediation confidentiality to the television ad, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" to explain the sacrosanct nature of mediation confidentiality. But, are mediations really confidential? This article was reposted to ensure mediators are fully aware of this important topic.
I attended an interesting presentation on agreement writing and other mediation issues for advocates. One presenter talked in terms of moves, strategies, bluffs and get-away-with’s. The other talked in terms of good practice and ethical standards. Though the first mediator never advocated unethical conduct, the second struck me as a professional whose values and ethical standards were at the forefront of his practice.
Positive mediation outcomes are fairly common, which you might think is down to the magic of mediation. But there are several implicit reasons why mediation outcomes are high, which aren’t generally to do with the quality of the mediator! I want people to understand the reality of mediation and what it can achieve, and not to be taken in by the rhetoric you’ll find on some websites.
I have never been a great fan of mediator’s proposals. I took the view that the mediator’s job, done well, was to help the parties to come to a solution themselves. Party autonomy and all that. Achieving a satisfactory outcome, I thought, shouldn’t require a specific suggestion by the mediator.
El siguiente es un artículo colectivo, producto de los aportes, comentarios y reflexiones que se realizaron en el foro de Cyberweek 2014.
You are in a committed relationship. You and your significant other desire to live together but are not ready for or interested in marriage. You decide to rent or purchase a property together, or to move into a place one of you currently rents or owns. You are in good company, joining over eight million cohabiting couples in the United States.
From one perspective, conflict in a start-up should not be different from conflict in any other similarly sized organization. And to be sure, some of the same factors that cause conflict in any organization – whether it is a family business or a partnership or a non-profit – can contribute to conflict in a start-up. Yet start-ups also have some unique challenges, and I’ve seen some rather bad advice targeted to them.
Well-known dispute resolution professional Ken Feinberg speaks on high profile dispute resolution and its relation to mediation.
Mediation is commonly measured in terms of settlement rate (i.e. did the parties agree?) and you’ll see figures like ’80% settlement rate’ bandied about. In our view this is not the only measure of success. There are many more! Think about which measures matter to you – the parties, the mediators, and your organisation.
Prof. Kim Lovegrove and distinguished lawyers look at Mediation as a dispute resolution process, its advantages, and disadvantages.
Little did I know that I was on NHL.com’s email list. I guess having a son wild about all things hockey must have had something to do with it. So you can imagine my surprise on Saturday morning when I woke up to an email from NHL.com informing me of the new arbitration clause it was adding.
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The traditional view is that a mediator is a neutral, third party who helps two or more conflicting parties cooperatively resolve their differences. Interestingly enough, this belief is analogous to the Cartesian-Newtonian epistemological position that holds that one can be an independent observer of an objective world, in science or in daily life. However, I am skeptical about this position, both epistemologically and clinically. What remains an open question is whether a mediator can actually ever be a 'neutral third.'