In the first of a series of blogs on mediation, we look at the initial steps in the process.
What if the working relationship between two people in an organisation breaks down? Mediation can be a solution, and is one of the key services that PDA offers.
An organisation may ask for help when a working relationship is in difficulty, communication is stilted or has stopped entirely.
And many organisations now use mediation as part of their grievance process.
The mediator will tell the participants about the process, and then to invite them to voluntarily participate.
David Cripps, PDA's director leading our mediation services, says:
“This is very important. Each individual’s involvement in mediation needs to be voluntary. Mediation will not work if one side is forced into the process.”
The mediator will also find out about the conflict, and before proceeding, ensure that this is a situation that can be potentially helped through mediation.
If both parties agree to take part in the mediation, they will receive a confidentiality contract, and arrangements will be made to arrange the mediation day.
Expectations and approaches around mediation are all important. Mediation is commonly described in terms of conflict resolution, or resolving conflict. The other way of describing mediation is talk in terms of conflict engagement.
That’s the way it has been described by Professor Bernard Mayer, who practises, studies and writes about mediation.
David Cripps says: “I think Bernard Mayer’s ideas that mediation should be about engaging with the conflict are very important.”
If you only talk in terms of getting a resolution you might solely focus on achieving an outcome without properly addressing the underlying conflict: seeing what is about, what is driving it. This might then result in just a short term resolution rather than a lasting outcome.”