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Selecting a Method or Crafting Your Own

Selecting a Method or Crafting Your Own

Author: marlene johnson

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will know how to adapt given conflict resolution processes to address a particular conflict

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Video Transcription

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There are many variables that go into selecting the right method to address any particular conflict. There are the parties involved. There's the conflict itself. So how do you select a process or adapt a process?

Well, I'm Marlene. And today, I'd like to talk about that with you. So there are quite a few conflict resolution processes. And of course, each process is organized around particular actions, in a particular sequence, with an end in mind.

And each process has its own techniques. And a technique, of course, is a particular tool in the conflict resolution process. And the processes are made up of steps. And a step is an individual part of the process.

And every process has, perhaps, different steps or different techniques. In fact, few conflict resolution processes fit any model perfectly. And any two resolutions are never going to be totally identical, when you sit down and really begin to craft the method or the model that you're going to use.

So it is important to be able to modify and adapt the process. And there are a number of things to take into consideration when you're deciding how to do that. Cultural differences is one. Very important to consider if you're dealing with parties from different cultures.

The complexity of the conflict. Are there multiple parties involved? Are their time and distance issues? So how long has the conflict been going on? All of these are factors to weigh when you are deciding how to adapt the process.

Now, we've talked about the process itself. The techniques of the steps can all be modified or changed. But it's important to remember that the core assumptions remain constant.

Now, a core assumption is not a technique, but it's the fundamental approach to conflict resolution that underlies all processes. Things like you're going to separate the people from the problems, it's a core assumption. There's going to be open communication. Those are a couple of examples of course assumptions that underlie all processes.

So there are number of processes. I mentioned that earlier. Let's take a look at those and look at what each of them have to offer.

OK, I've listed the processes here. And I want to note that these first four-- facilitative, transformative, evaluative, and med-arb-- let me draw a line here-- all these are different kinds of mediation. So I'll write mediation here.

So you have some choices around mediation. Facilitative mediation, of course, is a style of mediation, very common style, where the mediator does not offer any opinions or suggestions. They are complete neutral. They're there to facilitate the conversation and move the parties towards a mutual agreement. That is facilitative mediation.

Transformative mediation is really based on transforming the relationships. The goal is to really look at the relationship issues here, whether or not the parties reach agreement. And evaluative. The evaluative model will allow the mediator to offer some suggestions or opinions. If the parties want this, that is allowed in the evaluative model.

Then we have med-arb. And this is a style of mediation where the mediator can actually switch roles. Move out of the mediation role into the role of an arbitrator and make a decision, should the parties just be unable to come to a decision and should the parties want that as an option. So we have four different styles of mediation here that you could choose from. Once again, you might choose some elements from each of these to adapt and modify for any particular conflict where you're crafting a particular approach.

Now, in addition to these four mediation models, we have arbitration. And of course, arbitration is where you have a third party, a neutral party actually making the decision, deciding for the parties, the outcome. And this is something, of course, that the parties would agree on. And the arbitrator would be neutral. It could be one person or you could have a tribunal where you have several arbiters together making that decision.

Conciliation. Conciliation is where the intervener will meet separately with each party and shuttle back and forth between the parties, move back and forth between the parties, trying to get concessions from each party. And this is particularly a good model to use if there's distance or it makes it really difficult for the parties to meet the same room, or if they just don't want to meet in the same room.

Shuttle diplomacy is another form of conflict resolution, it's another process. And it might seem a lot like conciliation, because the term shuttle is to shuttle back and forth between parties, to meet with them separately. Quite often you'll see this in diplomatic situations, political resolution processes, where the intervener will go back and forth.

Now, the difference here is that in shuttle diplomacy, the focus really is on tangible issues-- proposals, negotiations, agreements-- whereas in conciliation, some of the non-tangible issues are also brought into play, some of emotional factors here are discussed as well. So here you have a wide variety of processes, each have their own techniques, tools that they use, steps. And you can choose, the intervener can choose from any of these models to craft a method that fits for any particular conflict in any particular parties. So thank you for joining me for this tutorial. And I look forward to next time.

Terms to Know
Core Assumptions

As opposed to techniques, the fundamental approaches to dealing with conflict that underlie conflict resolution processes.


An organized set of actions performed in a particular sequence in pursuit of a given end.


An individual part of a process.


An individual conflict resolution tool.