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Mediation as a Conflict Resolution Process

Mediation as a Conflict Resolution Process

Author: Sophia Tutorial
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Differentiate between forms of mediation.

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So how does the mediation process work? What does it look like? Well, I'm Marlene. And in this tutorial, I'd like to examine the mediation process with you.

So mediation. Mediation is a process where two parties come together in conflict to talk about and resolve the conflict. And there is a neutral third party in the room, the mediator. And this neutral party is there to manage the conversation and to help the parties collaborate, understand their issues, their needs, and come to a resolution.

Now the most common form of mediation is called facilitative mediation. And facilitative mediation is a style of mediation in which the mediator does not offer suggestions or opinions and guides the process toward an agreement between parties. So the mediator does not have any investment in the outcome.

The mediator is not there to give their opinion about what should happen or even to offer an idea about a resolution. The mediator is simply there to create a safe space and an atmosphere where the parties can identify their needs, talk about the issues, and reach an agreement that they both are comfortable with. The neutral, the mediator, is there to manage and facilitate that process.

Now although facilitated mediation is the most common form of mediation, there are some variants. And I'd like to discuss those with you as well. So I'm going to move this one over, facilitative mediation. And let's look at transformative mediation.

Transformative mediation is a style of mediation focused on changing the relationship between disputing parties, whether or not an agreement is reached or written. So like a facilitative mediation, the mediator is definitely a neutral, not sharing opinions, certainly not coming up with resolutions. But the whole overall approach is one of communication.

The idea behind transformative mediation is that the conflict is really a crisis in communication. So the mediator feels that they're helping the two parties here in conflict look at their interactions, their communication style, perhaps improve the way they're relating. And so if that happens, that is considered a success. And it may or may not end in an actual settlement or agreement. It could but it may not. So that is transformative mediation, crisis and communication.

There is now another form of mediation called evaluate mediation. Evaluate mediation or evaluative mediation is a style of mediation in which the mediator is allowed to offer suggestions or opinions for consideration or inclusion in an agreement. Now you'll notice this one differs quite a bit from facilitative and transformative. And that is because in this style of mediation, the mediator is offering opinions about what they think or offering suggestions about the resolution.

They're only doing this if the parties agree or would like this to happen. Perhaps this could be appropriate in a situation where the mediator might have some particular expertise or information in terms of resources, say, that the parties don't have and they would like to hear about that from the mediator. So that's one example of how this style of mediation could be appropriate in a particular context. So that is evaluative mediation.

There is one more kind of mediation that I want to discuss with you and that's called mediation/arbitration. And I have that right under this sheet. So mediation arbitration is a style of mediation in which the mediator has the authority to switch roles to that of an arbiter and decide an outcome if parties are unable to reach an agreement. So in this style, the mediator can actually step out of the neutral role and make a decision for the two parties if they're unable to come to that decision on their own. So that differs quite a bit from the facilitative style and the transformative mediation style. And it even goes beyond the evaluative style.

So in conclusion, we have four styles here. And I have them all listed here. We have the facilitative mediation style which is the most common style; transformative mediation; evaluative mediation; and then the mediation arbitration, which is sometimes referred to as med/arb. So thank you for being part of this tutorial. And I look forward to seeing you next time.

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Terms to Know
evaluative mediation

A style of mediation in which the mediator is allowed to offer suggestions or opinions for consideration or inclusion in an agreement.

facilitative mediation

A style of mediation in which the mediator does not offer suggestions or opinions and guides the process towards an agreement between parties.

mediation

A form of conflict resolution in which a neutral third party helps disputing parties to communicate effectively in order to alter their relationship, reach an agreement, or both.

mediation-arbitration

A style of mediation in which the mediator has the authority to switch roles to that of an arbiter and decide an outcome if parties are unable to reach an agreement.

transformative mediation

A style of mediation focused on changing the relationship between disputing parties, whether or not an agreement is reached or written.