CHAPTER 32 - CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO Mediation Revisited Kenneth...

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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO Mediation Revisited Kenneth Kressel H 5 ediation may be defined as a process in which disputants attempt to resolve their differences with the assistance of an acceptable third party. The mediator's objectives are typically to help the parties search for a mutually acceptable solution to their conflict and to counter tendencies toward competitive win-lose strategies and objectives. Mediators are most commonly single individuals, but they also can be twosomes, threesomes, or even larger groups. M Although mediation is a pervasive and fundamental human activity—try to imagine family life devoid of parents' interceding in their children's squabbles— in the last two decades formal mediation has begun to play a role at all levels of society and in virtually every significant area of social conflict. Some of the most prominent examples are divorce mediation, peer mediation in the schools, community mediation, victim-offender mediation (to help deal with the psy- chological and practical aftermath of property crimes and minor assaults), medi- ation of public resource disputes, judicial mediation, mediation of disputes within organizations, and the increasing visibility for mediation in international conflicts between and within nations. Within the United States, the federal and state governments have become active sponsors of mediation programs, rang- ing from personnel and employment dispute to public conflicts in health care, economic development, governance, and the environment. Federal sponsorship of mediation and related programs has been characterized as "one of the most significant movements in U.S. law in the latter half of the 20th century" with 726 \f MEDIATION REVISITED 727 "profound effects on the way the federal government handles conflict" (Nabatchi, forthcoming). THEORY AND RESEARCH Use of mediation in its myriad forms far outstrips systematic research on the process. Nonetheless, with increased use has come widening understanding. Our knowledge of mediation as a social psychological process has three major sources: extrapolation from theories of conflict (for example, Deutsch, 1973; Fisher, Ury, and Patton, 1981), empirical research (for example, Kressel and Pruitt, 1989; Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 2004), and the in-depth "case wis- dom" of practitioners (Kolb, and others, 1994; Moore, 1996). In this chapter, my primary goal is to give a concise account of what this col- lective literature has to tell us about the factors influencing the use of mediation and what happens during the mediation process, particularly in terms of medi- ator behavior. Since I first summarized these matters for the initial edition of The Handbook of Conflict Resolution, the practice of mediation has continued to grow and research to flourish. Among the major developments has been the unprecedented expansion of mediation programs within the federal government, the appearance of comprehensive surveys of the effectiveness of mediation in...
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This note was uploaded on 01/26/2012 for the course COMM 150 taught by Professor Soper during the Spring '08 term at Campbell University .

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CHAPTER 32 - CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO Mediation Revisited Kenneth...

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