Not all mediation techniques are created equal –


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“mediation?” Bobby asked as Molly, his 21-year-old wife, cleaned the table. “What exactly is”mediation“?

Molly shrugged her shoulders silently. Not sure. She had heard the term given at the Honda dealership where she was working. She almost said to herself, “There is something about settling disputes without going to court.”

Molly was partially right. Mediation is a method by which two or more parties can settle disputes without resorting to expensive – and often time-consuming – courtrooms. Not all negotiation processes are created equal. While searching for a middleman, the couple is on the verge of divorce, and they quickly discover just how far the inequality has gone.

Review mediation best practices

Write on Mediate.comJennifer Shack has condensed a report on the most effective techniques. “To find the methodologies that perform best, the mediators and researchers collaborated to review common practices, conduct interviews with practitioners, and assess the results,” said Shack.

The American Bar Association (ABA) division of the Dispute Resolution Task Force recently A report was released In fifty studies that investigated the techniques and actions of the mediator. The study environment made it difficult to reach definitive conclusions about the best type of mediation.

Several classes of techniques have been found to have the potential to increase the likelihood of compromise and improve perceptions of mediation. Each focuses on the parties involved by eliciting their thoughts or building a relationship.

The task force has organized it into several conceptual categories:

  • The format of the agenda, or other “process” patterns and procedures
  • Take advantage of pre-mediation pools
  • Work pools during mediation
  • Mediator methods and procedures

When viewed as a whole, the studies were all over the map regarding the outcomes and failed to provide clear guidelines as to which of them had the desired outcomes. However, five were identified as having the potential to have a positive effect. These include:

  • Use pre-mediation groups that focus on building trust
  • Ask for opponents’ views or solutions

Broker Tips

Despite seeing trends in the study that indicated the potential of new technologies and procedures, the task force failed to see sufficient evidence of “best practices”. There is already enough data to indicate that some methods will not be harmful and potentially beneficial.

What then

The staff suggested that the steps be archived and made available online. Mediators can then develop programs, define common terminology, and develop intermediate action procedures. The goal is to implement standardization and coherence across the practices of the broker so that results can be easily compared.

As with any other discipline, additional reviews may lead to more significant results with calculated results that benefit the client.

It will take the collaboration of researchers, trainers, practitioners, and program administrators to make mediation a meaningful tool in the mediator’s arsenal.


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