In this lesson, we’ll discuss various options for crafting or adapting a conflict resolution method to fit the needs of a particular conflict.
The specific areas of focus include:
There are many variables that go into selecting the right method to address any particular conflict, such as the parties involved and the nature of the conflict itself.
While there are quite a few conflict resolution processes to choose from, each of them is organized around particular actions, in a particular sequence, with an end in mind.
In other words, each process has its own techniques, or tools used in the conflict resolution process. The processes are made up of steps, or individual parts within the larger process.
Because each process uses different techniques and steps, few conflict resolution processes fit any conflict model perfectly.
When you as an intervener really begin crafting the method or model that you’re going to use, you’ll realize that no two resolution processes will end up being completely identical.
This is why it’s important to be able to modify and adapt the process to fit the needs of the particular situation, and there are a number of things to take into consideration when you're deciding how to do that.
Some common factors to consider are:
While the techniques and steps of a process can all be modified or changed depending on these factors, it's important to remember that the core assumptions remain constant.
A core assumption is not a technique, but a fundamental approach to conflict resolution that underlies all processes.
These are concepts such as separating the people from the problems, and maintaining open communication. You want to ensure these core assumptions are part of any process you craft or adapt.
As you’ve learned, mediation is often the ideal method of conflict resolution to use when possible, and there are four different types of mediation you can choose from.
Depending on the situation, you might choose some elements from each of these styles to adapt and modify for your crafted approach.
a. Facilitative Mediation
Facilitative mediation is a common style of mediation in which the mediator does not offer any opinions or suggestions.
Taking a completely neutral stance, the mediator is simply there to facilitate the conversation, and move the parties towards a mutual agreement.
b. Transformative Mediation
Transformative mediation is based on transforming the relationships of the parties involved in the conflict.
The goal of this type of mediation is to examine the relationship issues at play, whether or not the parties end up reaching an agreement.
c. Evaluative Mediation
The evaluative model allows the mediator to offer some suggestions or opinions, if the parties would like that input.
Mediation-arbitration, or med-arb, is a style of mediation in which the mediator can actually switch roles.
If the parties are unable to come to a decision, the mediator can move out of the mediation role, and into the role of an arbitrator in order to make a decision, per the parties’ request.
Aside from mediation, there are several other forms of conflict resolution that you can choose from when adapting or crafting your process.
Arbitration is a process in which the parties agree to allow a neutral third party to make the final decision regarding the outcome of the conflict.
The third party could be a single arbitrator, or a tribunal comprising several arbiters making the decision together.
Conciliation involves an intervener meeting separately with each party, then moving back and forth between them in order to get concessions from each.
This is a particularly useful model if there's a geographical distance making it really difficult for the parties to meet together, or if the parties simply don't want to meet in the same room.
c. Shuttle Diplomacy
Shuttle diplomacy is similar to conciliation in that both involve the intervener shuttling back and forth between the parties to meet with them separately.
Shuttle diplomacy is quite often used in diplomatic situations, or political resolution processes that necessitate the intervener moving between the parties.
However, the difference between shuttle diplomacy and conciliation is that while shuttle diplomacy focuses on tangible issues (e.g. proposals, negotiations, agreements), conciliation brings some non-tangible issues (e.g. emotional factors) into the discussion as well.
There are a wide variety of conflict resolution processes, each with its own techniques and steps. As an intervener, you can choose from any of these models in order to craft a method that will fit the particular conflict and parties involved.
In this lesson, you learned that there are a variety of different conflict resolution processes, and each involves techniques, steps, and core assumptions. While techniques and steps vary by process, all processes involve the same core assumptions.
You now understand that when crafting or adapting a process, you as an intervener have a number of options. There are four mediation styles (facilitative mediation, transformative mediation, evaluative mediation, mediation-arbitration), as well as several other resolution methods (arbitration, conciliation, shuttle diplomacy) from which you can choose. All of these processes can be adapted depending on the specific needs of the conflict and the parties involved.Good luck!
Source: Adapted from Sophia tutorial by Marlene Johnson.
An organized set of actions performed in a particular sequence in pursuit of a given end.
As opposed to techniques, the fundamental approaches to dealing with conflict that underlie conflict resolution processes.
An individual part of a process.
An individual conflict resolution tool.