At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand that much of the effectiveness of a conflict resolution process depends on the parties' feeling ownership and joint control of the process, and will be able to use techniques to build this feeling.
In conflict resolution, the parties need to feel like the process is theirs, and that they have control over the outcome. When two parties are in conflict, they're going to work together to come to a solution.
While it may seem unlikely that two conflicting parties will be able to work together, the first step in this process is to show them that they can work together because they are going to own this process. They are going to be creating it, working through it, and taking responsibility for the outcome.
In order to create this sense of ownership, you as the intervener will need to follow three major steps:
When the parties first come to the conflict resolution process, you are going to outline the process for them.
You want them to feel comfortable with this process, and how it works. You also want to get their input.
When both sides feel like they have said what they need to say, and that they've been heard, you'll move into a period of generating and evaluating options. These options will lead to the final formalized written agreement.
You can get the parties’ agreement by asking questions such as:
Of course, whatever they would like has to fit within the conflict resolution guidelines.
EXAMPLEOne party asks, “If we get really stuck, can you just decide for us, or give us some good ideas?” If this is a facilitative mediation, you as the mediator will not be able to do that. You will need to clarify your role here, and explain how you are going to be working with the parties.
EXAMPLEAnother party asks, “Is it okay if we ask each other questions during the time in the beginning when we are both speaking, or does it have to be totally uninterrupted?” You could reply, “That’s fine if you both agree to it. Party B, are you okay with that?” If they want to have the time not be completely uninterrupted, but would instead like to listen and ask questions during it, that’s their process. You take your cues from them.
Finally, it’s very important that you check in. This process check is something that you will do during the mediation in order to see how the parties feel things are going.
However, there's also a more formal process check. You can tell the parties that there is the option for a process check in which you meet separately with each of them in order to sense how comfortable they are, how well served they feel, and whether they have any input.
There also may be something a party wants to share with you without the other party present. That’s why this check-in is completely confidential; you can let them know that if they feel they'd like to check in with you at any particular time, they can do that.
Both formal and informal check-ins involve asking clarifying questions to make sure that the parties are participating as well as speaking and listening to one another during the mediation itself, and that you understand their needs.
Source: Adapted from Sophia tutorial by Marlene Johnson.