Managing the Cost of Conflict
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.
Outwitting Cognitive Dissonance
We like to believe that we are rational beings who make rational decisions. Sometimes, we are. And sometimes, we are not.
Recipes for Success
I love the cookbook that Andrea and 1001 chefs wrote, Cooking Up a Deal: Negotiation Recipes for Success. It’s a wonderfully short and fun piece to assign for the last day of class.
Control Your Emotions Better by Labeling Them
If you want to control your emotions better during difficult conversations, do something counter-intuitive: Give up trying not to feel them. Instead, put a label on them. Recognizing and naming an emotion can have a powerful effect on quelling it. Psych professor Matthew Lieberman, author of Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, calls it “affect labeling.” You can use affect labeling to help yourself and others.
The Simplest Way to Negotiate
I have mediated over 1400 matters. Thus, I have seen parties approach negotiation in a myriad of ways; some appear to be “winging it” while others appear to have some sort of strategy in mind. The common thread appears to be “self-interest” or how can each party get the best deal possible. Yet, pursuing one’s own self-interest at the expense of the other party often leads to poor results for both parties.
Evaluating a Consensus Building Effort
I worry a lot about how to evaluate the success or failure of consensus building efforts in which I get involved. When I try to convince someone in a position of responsibility to commit to consensus building, I need to tell them how they'll be able to gauge the results.
Bush and Folger on Reclaiming Mediation’s Future
Dusty and Vicky Rhoades, Dan Simon
One of the many things that Baruch Bush and Joe Folger have contributed to the mediation community is the stimulus to engage in difficult conversation about how we support participants in conflict. What informs our practice? What does it mean when I say that I’m committed to participant self-determination? Baruch and Joe’s recent article on Reclaiming Mediation’s Future and their challenge to return to “an original vision of the mediation field” has certainly stimulated conversation and strong reaction.
Advocacy in Mediation
Advocacy is recommendation of a cause. Advocacy presupposes a difference of opinion or a conflict and the need to clarify the ‘knot’, get to understand the root cause and then acknowledge consequences. Mediation advocacy pre-supposes support by the mediator for resolution and projection of a cause by the counsel/ party.
What Is A Humanistic Approach to Mediation? An Overview
Mark S. Umbreit, Ted Lewis
A humanistic approach to mediation developed in parallel to the transformative approach to mediation in the 1990's. While fully harmonizing with transformative mediation, a humanistic approach brings several additional emphases that can deepen the work of mediators in both dispute resolution and restorative justice work. The 'human-element' is highlighted by giving greater attention to several humanizing capacities in mediation.
More Online Mediation Needed Before We Can Measure Effectiveness
The author suggests that a larger number of cases must be mediated online before determining the effectiveness of any online methodology. The author draws similarities between the advantages and disadvantages often cited for online education and online mediation and contends that what we’ve learned in education can readily carry over to mediation.
Unbroken Circles for Schools - Book Review
Ken Johnson, Barb Caffrey
"Unbroken Circles for Schools" is an excellent nonfiction read about conflict, social justice, and restorative justice. Mr. Johnson's premise is that our criminal justice system is doing juvenile offenders a grave disservice. Rather than sending juvenile offenders into the prison system (where they mostly learn only to re-offend), we need to teach the principles of restorative justice instead -- and where else should these principles be taught but in the schools?
Beyond “Being Difficult”!
Recently I read an article about two lawyers assaulting each other during a deposition being conducted in the courthouse. Two attorneys were arrested and charged with simple assault on Wednesday after they got into a heated dispute that turned into a fist fight at the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack, authorities and witnesses said.
Getting to Yes – With Yourself -- Book Review
William Ury, John Sturrock
“In the morning when I look at myself in the mirror, I like to remind myself that I am seeing the person who is probably going to give me the most trouble that day, the opponent who will be the biggest obstacle to me getting what I truly want.”
When Did Asking Questions Become a Sign of Weakness?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably also reacted poorly to a co-worker or an individual you manage. A quote by Edgar Schein recently jumped out at me when he said, “We are biased toward telling instead of asking because we live in a pragmatic, problem-solving culture in which knowing things and telling others what we know is valued.” We don’t have to look too far or hard to see what Schein is saying. Our bosses tell us what to do, our family and friends tell us what they would do in our particular situation, and each “expert” has an answer for us at the tip of their tongue.
Bringing Court ADR Programs into the Courtroom
As the RSI foreclosure mediation team continues to incubate foreclosure mediation in Illinois, we have explored a variety of ways to reach out and connect with homeowners who could benefit from our programs’ services. One approach has been to establish our programs’ presence at the courthouses where homeowners are attempting to navigate the foreclosure process. Going to court can be an overwhelming or intimidating prospect for homeowners facing foreclosure.
The Slippery Slope
Everyone enters into a negotiation with the intent to be honest. But- ay- that is the “rub”. One party’s (“Jane”) definition of “honesty” may be different than the other party’s (“Mary”). Why? Research has shown that one’s honesty will vary with the environment.
Ironically, Bush and Folger are Evaluative
There is room in our field for a broad spectrum of mediation approaches. We should celebrate innovation and a greater diversity, rather than disparage the methods of others. This article rebuts Bush and Folger’s article: Reclaiming Mediation’s Future: Getting Over the Intoxication of Expertise, Re-Focusing on Party Self-Determination. Their article attempts to redefine mediation in their own image. I push back at their attempt to elbow out any mediator that does not adhere to their transformative philosophy. No single approach has cornered the market on mediation, nor should it. Our collective approach to mediation should not be shackled by rigid doctrines; it should be varied and flexible, adapting to the desires of the parties we serve. This is real Self-Determination.
Conflict and Psychological Development: “Six Stages of Conflict Reasoning”
In the 1960’s the psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987) listed six stages of moral development. Kohlberg says these stages can’t be jumped, you have to go through them in order. And they are universal, they apply no matter what culture you’re in. With a little thought we can link these to conflict and conflict resolution. Kohlberg’s stages don’t only tell us about a person’s moral reasoning, they also tell us what kind of conflict they get into and how we can help them to deal with it.
Good Practice Framework
“Universities should include mediation in their framework for handling student complaints,” says the IOAHE – and so say all of us at CMP! The formal process is long, complex and saps everyone’s time and energy; most students with complaints about staff behaviours and attitude would prefer to talk it out, in our experience.
Applied Decision Theory
Richard Birke, a law professor at Willamette University, gave a talk at the ABA Dispute Resolution conference expressing frustration with the term "Alternative Dispute Resolution." The term is too limiting to describe the many ways that the skills of negotiation, mediation, and other forms of conflict resolution can be applied in practice.
Torch Bearers in Mediation
Goals, predictions, vision statement. Frame it in any manner, what stakeholders are looking for is the fulfilment of the promise of mediation.
ADR is on the Rise in Employment Cases
While there is a long history of utilizing arbitration in the labor union context, the majority of employment disputes have historically been litigated in federal court.
And What is Your Biggest Achievement in Mediation?
The MBB was founded in 2006 in order to promote mediation not only in the USA but also worldwide. Its main task is expressed in the following motto: “The only lasting peace is the one built by the disputants themselves.”
Family Mediation In The Digital Age
Twenty-first century technology will continue to impact family life and mediation. The family mediator’s awareness of the possible positive and inflammatory influences of the internet, may be instrumental in effectively identifying and resolving the modern family’s disputes. Social media, cyber abuse, the child’s computer voice, the use of a forensic computer expert and the futuristic divorce are factors to be considered in the practice of family mediation.
Always Expect the Unexpected
As an attorney and mediator for many years, I have learned the most
important lesson for mediation: always expect the unexpected. Whether the
parties send formal, lengthy briefs, replete with numerous citations to both facts and legal authorities, or whether they simply show up at the mandated start time, there are always surprises. A good mediator must be ready to handle any situation that arises, with patience, flexibility and a good sense of humor.
Good Practice Framework
Universities should include mediation in their framework for handling student complaints! The formal process is long, complex and saps everyone’s time and energy; most students with complaints about staff behaviours and attitude would prefer to talk it out, in our experience.
The Integrity of ADR Processes and the Risks of Blurred Boundaries
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.
The Medici Effect of Mediation
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.
Litigation as Violence
Litigation is an important part of the dispute resolution system and it is quite legitimate for people to use it in appropriate cases. Litigation (including negotiation and mediation conducted during litigation) often functions appropriately without causing undue violence or other harm. People usually don’t pay as much attention when things work properly and this may be the case with litigation most of the time. But too often, unnecessary injury is a by-product.
Moving from the Shadows into the Sunlight
Perhaps my biggest learning on my own journey to healing and recovery is that I have a choice at any moment, to continue to stand in a shadow of my own creation, or to change my attitude so I can move into light, trust, faith and optimism. Your attitude makes the difference.
This is kind of a chicken and egg situation. Which came first, the possibility of reconciliation or choosing to use the Collaborative process?
Courts are Limited When it Comes to Problem Solving
Michael A. Zeytoonian
Recently I represented a party in a dispute over some business equipment. This case would have been better resolved by the parties either directly communicating with each other or communicating and negotiating with each other through their lawyers. But before that could be done, one party opted to file a complaint in federal court and as a result, we were engaged in court proceedings.
Reaching Agreement on the Nile
Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan recently signed a Declaration of Principles aimed at resolving an increasingly contentious dispute over Ethiopia’s ongoing effort to build the $4.6 billion-dollar hydroelectric power plant project called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Africa’s largest. The Declaration does not seek to resolve the larger question of how the overall waters of the Nile will be shared. The fact that the Declaration was signed is an important accomplishment. I want to look closely, though, at the ten principles spelled out in the Declaration because I’m worried that some may be difficult to implement.
Juries of Their Peers
When I was in fourth grade, a few millennia ago, our teacher established a system so we could settle a lot of our own disputes. General mischief-maker, Walter, was elected judge, a decision that completely confounded our teacher, and the class was the jury. We explained our choice of Walter as judge by saying that judges always behave well, and if Walter were judge, he would have to behave better than usual. It was completely logical to us, but I’ll bet the teacher would never have seen that possibility and would have continued to discipline Walter rather than offer opportunity.
The Priming Effect of Temperature
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.
That's Not How it Happened! Let Me Tell You the True Story
Stephanie West Allen
How can two or more people sincerely, earnestly, and confidently have such widely divergent versions of events? As mediators, we often have heard stories from parties in which the facts are conflicting and yet no one seems to be deliberately deceiving.
Bodies at Work: Moving Toward Alchemy
The single most neglected truism in mediation, whether virtual or in person, is that it does not happen without bodies. We do not mediate with beings in other realms (unless we attach a very different meaning to mediation than is contemplated in this collection of articles on the future of our craft). Thus involving those with current corporeal substance, we mobilize to engage and reach toward understanding while literally standing our ground.
National Divorce Survey Yields Surprising Insights
Divorce is as popular as ever in America, with over 50% of first marriages and 70% of second marriages ending prematurely. In addition to traditional litigation couples are increasingly turning to mediation and the “do it yourself” pro se divorce process in the quest to have “successful” divorces as measured by satisfactory settlements, minimal relationship damage and reasonable cost.
Party-Directed Mediation. Another Step Towards Non-Directive Mediation
The contribution of two models is presented in this article, Party-Directed Mediation (PDM) and Negotiated Performance Appraisal (NPA) to deal with peer mediation and hierarchical mediation, respectively. Both models are especially useful for dealing with deep seated interpersonal conflict. Originally, they were used as organizational mediation models.
Gratitude For The Law
This year in the UK we are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter”. Interestingly, and less well-known, this deal was mediated.
Federal Court Case Update, Filings and Firings
Following is the start of a new series on the JAMS ADR Blog, featuring short synopses of recent case rulings related to arbitration or ADR. We’re excited to share this information as we know this is an area that will be of interest to our readers and those in the legal industry.
Where Have All The Idealists Gone? Long Time Passing, Part II
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Over the years, a common theme heard among litigators after a grueling case where one side loses is that there must be a better way to manage disputes. In the mid -1970s, legal scholars from around the nation came together to review ways to make the legal process more user-friendly and accessible. They concluded, among other things, that a multi-door courthouse with processes that were designed to fit the forum to the dispute might be worth considering.