Mediation Essays




Essays on Mediation: Introduction

Ian Macduff

Chapter 1        ‘Mediation: Elephant or Heffalump?’

Kevin Avruch

Chapter 2     Remembrance of Pleasures Past: Reflections of a Practitioner

Howard Gadlin

Chapter 3     The Future of Mediation Worldwide: Legal and Cultural Variations in the Uptake of or Resistance to Mediation

Carrie Menkel-Meadow

Chapter 4     Two Failed Mediations and the Lessons Learnt from Them

Michael Hwang

Chapter 5     Challenging the Status Quo

John Sturrock QC

Chapter 6     Elder Mediation: Context, Opportunities and Challenges

Dale Bagshaw

Chapter 7     Munich, Majors and Mediation

Peter Wallensteen

Chapter 8     Collaborative Dispute Resolution Assistance for Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Host Communities

Christopher Moore

Chapter 9        The Roles of Culture: Muslim Country Leaders, NGOs, and European Small-Country Leaders as International Mediators in Southeast Asia

Bruce E. Barnes

Chapter 10   Rocks On The Road: Inside the Pandora’s Box of Culture

Peter S. Adler

Chapter 11   Social Mediation Forms in France

J.-P. Bonafé-Schmitt

Chapter 12   Embedding Mediation and Dispute Resolution into Statutory Civil Law: The Example of Germany

Thomas Trenczek & Serge Loode

Chapter 13   The HOW and the WHAT: Precise Conflict Resolution in Complex Processes through the Example of the Mediation, “Zukunft Landwehrkanal Berlin” (Future Landwehrkanal Berlin)

Beate Voskamp & Stefan Kessen

Chapter 14   Digital Conflict and Digital Justice

Ethan Katsh & Orna Rabinovich-Einy

Chapter 15   Leaving Disputants to their Own Devices: The Vulnerable Potential of Mobile Access to Justice

Ian Macduff

Chapter 16   The Alchemy of Mediation: Aesthetic Wisdom for a Fragmented Age

Nadja Alexander & Michelle LeBaron


Mediation Essay

When the parties to a conflict are unable to come to a resolution by themselves, the intervention of a third party is a possible means of breaking the deadlock and producing and acceptable solution. Mediators can play different roles. They can serve as hosts, observers, facilitators, formulators, educators, manipulators, or advocates. Mediators might be chosen for their reputation, skills, knowledge or resources. Mediators have their own motivations for participating in the negotiation process and sometimes come with their own agenda. Despite their biases, it is generally believed that mediators should be neutral to any of the conflicting parties. Their participation as intermediaries is based on the trust of all the conflicting parties. A mediator's participation can be terminated at any point during the negotiation process. Douglas E. Noll presents four pillars of mediation theory. I will not concentrate on the article itself simply because everyone has an opinion and theory of mediation. What I will focus on is conflict goals, levels of conflict escalation, mediation styles and finally outcomes of mediation.

Goal ambiguity is also a problem for third parties who enter a conflict to "help." If they do not understand what their own goals are for involvement, they can easily do more harm than good. Third party intermediaries must clearly understand what the parties want them to do, what they themselves want to do, and how both of these goals relate to what is actually possible. While the third party's goals also may change over time, if they see that their initial goal to help the parties deal with the conflict more effectively cannot be achieved, they should be sure to withdraw from the conflict before they do more harm than good. One of the factors that contribute to such confusion is that goals change over time as the situation changes. Sometimes goals get clearer and more narrowly defined; at other times they get broader. When conflicts escalate, the parties' goals can change from an initial goal to get one's own way to a later goal of depriving the other or hurting the other. When the goal becomes damaging the opponent, rather than helping oneself, conflicts tend to get destructive. (Pruitt and Rubin)

Escalation occurs when a group is faced with aggression, or when one side perceives the other as the cause for loss or unfulfilled aspirations. Whether conflicts are internal or external, responses to such situations most often lead to actions, which exacerbate tensions and result in violence. Simply summarized, escalation in association with mediation is grown individuals acting like 3 year-olds when someone does not get their way. Five transformations occur in conflict escalation. Contending strategies shift from light to heavy tactics. What starts as a small conflict over a specific issue grows into a large, engrossing...

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