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Conflict Managment

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Conflict Management ­HRM624
Lesson 34
Focus 90 percent of your time on solutions and only 10 percent of your time on problems.
Anthony J D'Angelo, The College Blue Book
Gender equality movement is likely to enhance gender-based conflicts. Therefore understanding gender
based conflict and the processes of resolving those conflicts are becoming important. It will become even
more important in future, when the frequency of such conflicts arises. Mediation is one of the methods of
resolving conflicts.
This lesson deals with formal mediation, mainly mediation service and mediation law.
In this lesson we will study the stages of mediation
Mediation sessions are 1-2 hour long
Several caucus sessions followed by joint sessions to tie down agreements
In family disputes (divorce cases) less likelihood of caucus sessions-due to the need for instilling trust.
Stages of Mediation
Mediation is a highly fluid process; it is possible to conceptualize mediation as occurring in a series of
Following is the list of all the stages of mediation
1. Initial client contact
2. Introductory stage
3. Issues clarification and communication
4. Productive stage
5. Agreement consummation
6. Debriefing and referral
1. Initial client contact
Mediation begins when one or both disputants make contact with a mediation provider. Although clients
may be referred to mediation by a court or their lawyers, often one of the two disputants contacts the
mediator directly to inquire about services. The mediator must inform the person making contact of the
nature of the services etc. The mediator will frequently send informative brochures that provide specific
facts about mediation and demonstrate its advantages.
Although some disputants will be making contact with the mediator with the knowledge and consent of the
other disputant, others will be making contact independently. Trust is essential for success. Disputants are
generally hostile against each other. Under certain circumstances the other disputant may regard it as a
hostile invasion of his/her privacy, if the mediator tries to contact him.
2. Introduction
The purposes of the introductory stage of mediation are to break the ice and get comfortable, to introduce
and clarify the mediation process, to establish the ground rules and policies of mediation, to clarify and
establish the legal basis of mediation, and to begin to orient the disputants toward productivity in the
Mediators usually seat their clients around a conference table. The table may be round to eliminate symbolic
power distinctions between mediator and clients, emphasizing the critical role the disputants have in
fashioning the settlement. A competent mediator will balance the need of each client to talk about what is
the bone of contention that is escalating the conflict.
Conflict Management ­HRM624
After establishing a certain level of control the mediator set the stage to play active role. The mediator must
be well aware of what the mediation is all about. The mediators must also ensure that the client knows what
the mediation is. The mediator will typically also present contractual documents that participants must sign
in order to create a mediator-client relationship, protect the confidentiality of the mediation process, and so
Because disputants entering mediation have been unable to achieve a settlement of differences on their
own, it is typical for them to enter mediation caught up in a competitive conflict cycle. Mediators work
actively from the beginning to break the cycle of blame game of the disputants and to replace it with the
cycle of cooperation.
Numerous techniques are used to subtly reorient the disputants away from conceptualizing the conflict as a
win-lose contest and replacing it with the idea that the disputants have a joint problem to be solved
together. Another technique used by mediators to interrupt the competition cycle is to emphasize the
cooperative elements of the disputants' relationship and to deemphasize the competitive elements.
3. Issues clarification/communication:
Facilitative and evaluative mediators generally handle the issues clarification and communication stage quite
differently. An evaluative mediator's goal at this stage is to get a sense of the positions and aspirations of
each disputant. The evaluative mediator is apt to begin by asking each disputant to state the case, or to
describe the disagreement. The mediator will sometimes use information gained in the other side's
presentation in an effort to lower the expectations of each disputant.
Following the joint session, the evaluative mediator will typically meet each disputant separately to gain
further information about the disputant's real aspirations. The reason for this emphasis is that, in a
facilitative mediation, the primary goal at this stage is to facilitate the disputant's clarification of issues and
underlying interests with each other.
Each disputant speaks about the conflict; the facilitative mediator reframes and refocuses the
communication to defuse personal attacks directed at the other disputant and to clarify the interests, needs,
principles and values connoted by the speaker's statements. Active listening is a critical skill the mediator
uses to help the speakers.
Mediators of all persuasions often act as organizers of information. Facilitative mediators will also make a
list of the issues that need to be resolved but will also typically list the deep seated interests, needs, values,
and principles with which the disputants agree.
4. Productive stage:
Third stage is the productive stage. In an evaluative mediation, it is in the productive stage that the
evaluation occurs. During caucus, the evaluative mediator expertly probes the situation, pointing out
weaknesses in the case of the disputant before him/her and suggesting strengths in the opponent's case that
the disputant might have missed or discounted.
In a facilitative mediation, the productive stage often involves a period of brainstorming for possible
options to address the list of interests that the disputants generated previously. Both facilitative and
evaluative mediators will write down any settlements that the disputants reach, either in an informal
memorandum of agreement or in a formal contract.
5. Agreement consummation:
Agreement consummation can occur inside or outside of the mediation. If the mediator has drafted a
formal contract, sometimes the disputants will execute this contract at a mediation session.
6. Debriefing and referral:
The last stage of mediation is debriefing and referral. This stage may occur before or after the agreement
consummation stage. The mediator and disputants review what has been decided in mediation and what
remains to be done. Mediation can back track to initial stage; the disputants may decide that they have
missed something.
Conflict Management ­HRM624
The process of mediation is typically non linear. The stages presented in any description of mediation are
not fixed in sequence.
What do mediators do?
Mediation is both science and art. Each mediator and mediation is different.
Facilitative tactics in mediation:
Even highly evaluative mediators have as a goal the facilitation of a negotiated settlement. For this reason,
nearly every mediator uses a number of facilitative tactics.
It is helpful to an understanding of mediator behavior to place facilitative mediator tactics in the following
1. Educating
2. Structuring the negotiation
3. Improving communication
4. Handling emotions
5. Maintaining disputant motivation
1. Educating
Mediators educate their clients in numerous ways. Much of this educational process occurs in the
introductory stage of mediation but continues through out the mediation process.
2. Improving communication
At all times, a competent mediator improves communication between the disputants. Effective
communication helps in achieving the goals of complete interest analysis, encouraging perception of
cooperation, building up mutual trust and performing effective conflict diagnosis.
3. Handling emotions
Mediation inevitably gives rise to strong emotion, and handling emotions is an important aspect of the
mediator's craft. In setting the stage for effective communication, emotional expression is tricky to handle.
The mediator reads in-between the lines, listen with the third ear and finds cause behind emotions. In this
process anger is important to understand. Active listening, avoiding name calling and staying positive are
important factors.
4. Maintaining disputant Motivation
The final group of facilitative mediator tactics relate to maintaining disputant motivation. Conflict is usually
an unpleasant experience, and mediation confers only limited protection from this unpleasantness.
Numerous tactics are used by mediators to maintain or improve disputant motivation.
5. Evaluative tactics in mediation:
Even evaluative mediators use many of the facilitative tactics. However there are techniques that are unique
to evaluative mediators e.g.
i. Instilling doubt
ii. Case evaluation tactics
iii. Caucusing
We learnt mediation process, the stages of mediation. We also learnt about tactics used in facilitative
mediation and evaluative mediation. If we understand these stages of mediation and the tactics used, we can
act like a good mediator or a good and well informed disputant.
Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO CONFLICT:Dispute, Legal Dispute, Call the police
  2. DISPUTE RESOLUTION 1:Positive affect in Negotiation, Alternative Dispute Resolution
  3. DISPUTE RESOLUTION II:Adjudication, Litigation, Mediation-Arbitration
  4. PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT CONFLICT I:Pedagogical development, Pressures against Innovation
  5. PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT CONFLICT II:Cultural beliefs about interpersonal conflict, Why strategies of change fail
  6. CONFLICT DIAGNOSIS:Who Needs to Know About Conflict Diagnosis?, Steps in Conflict Diagnosis
  7. RECURRENT THEMES IN CONFLICT DIAGNOSIS I:The Seven Steps of Social Behavior, Seven steps to diagnose conflict
  9. DESCRIBING THE CONFLICT I:Description of Conflict, Identifying Interpersonal Conflict
  10. DESCRIBING THE CONFLICT II:Step 1 for Conflict Diagnosis, interpersonal or intrapersonal
  11. SOURCES AND CAUSES OF CONFLICT I:Main Sources of Conflict, Discussing major sources of conflict
  13. INTEREST ANALYSIS I:Analyzing your interests, Analyzing the other disputant’s interests
  14. INTEREST ANALYSIS II:What are interests?, Tips for Interest Trees
  15. INTEREST ANALYSIS II:Principles and values, Basic Human Needs
  16. ASSESSING THE CHARACTER OF THE CONFLICT I, Premises of Deutsch’s Theory
  17. ASSESSING THE CHARACTER OF THE CONFLICT II:Techniques to transform competitive conflict into cooperative
  18. TRUST AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE I:What is Mistrust,Trust and business,Three levels of trust
  19. TRUST AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE II:Advantages of high trust level, Building of trust
  20. ASSESSING IMPEDIMENTS TO RESOLVE THE CONFLICT I:Motivation to seek vengeance, Mistrust
  21. ASSESSING THE IMPEDIMENTS TO RESOLVING THE CONFLICT II:Disempowered Disputant, Unpleasant Disputant
  22. ASSESSING THE NEGOTIATING STYLE I:Dual Concern Model, Dominating or competition style
  23. ASSESSING THE NEGOTIATING STYLE:Dual Concern Model, Tactics Used In Integrating
  24. ASSESSING POWER AMONG DISPUTANTS:Conflict and Power, Kinds of power in the Relationship Domain
  25. ASSESSING POWER AMONG DISPUTANTS II:Sources of Relationship Power, Context and Power
  26. POWER, CONFLICT, AND BATNA III:Role of Third Party in BATNA, Dealing with Power Imbalance
  27. STEREOTYPES, DIVERSITY, AND CONFLICT I:Stereotyping, Stereotyping in Interpersonal Conflict
  28. STEREOTYPES, DIVERSITY, AND CONFLICT:Categories of Diversity Issues, Seven Mental Processes to Prove Stereotypes
  29. STEREOTYPES, DIVERSITY AND CONFLICT III:Individual Difference and Social Category, Cultural differences in values
  30. MEDIATION I:When is mediation required, Processes Related to Mediation, Product of Mediation
  31. MEDIATION II:Important distinguishing factors, More Advantages and Disadvantages of Pure Mediation
  32. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION I:Efficiency Consideration, Conflict Management and Prevention
  33. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION II:Quality of Consent, Effects on the parties to mediation
  34. PROCESS OF MEDIATION:Stages of Mediation, Facilitative tactics in mediation
  35. LAW AND ETHICS OF MEDIATION I:Characteristics of mediation, Confidentiality
  36. LAW AND ETHICS OF MEDIATION II:Role of ethics in mediation, 8 Dimensions of Ethics in Mediation
  37. ARBITRATION I:Ways to Resolve Conflict, Advantages of Arbitration, Disadvantages of Arbitration
  38. ARBITRATION II:Varieties of Arbitration, Process of Arbitration, Contents of Arbitration Act
  39. NON BINDING EVALUATION:Disadvantage, Varieties of Non-binding Evaluation
  40. NON BINDING EVALUATION II:Varieties of Non-binding Evaluation, Advantages and disadvantages of Non-binding Evaluation
  41. MIXED AND MULTIMODAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION:Six System Design Principles, Extensions of Dispute Systems Design
  42. POWER TOOLS AND MAGIC KEYS I:Introduction, Necessity of conflict diagnosis, Using conflict diagnosis
  43. POWER TOOLS AND MAGIC KEYS II:Proposed Contents of a Clients’ Interview, Impediments to use facilitative mediation
  44. PANCHAYAT, LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM, AND ADR, Definitions of Panchayat, Definition of Jirga
  45. SUMMARY AND MESSAGE OF THE COURSE:Definitions of conflict, Negotiation, Meditation, Adjudication