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Strategic Choice in Mediation

NCJ Number
Negotiation Journal Volume: 2 Issue: 1 Dated: (January 1986) Pages: 41-56
P J D Carnevale
Date Published
16 pages
This paper (1) analyzes mediators' basic strategic choices and the circumstances that influence the selection of strategy and (2) presents a model of mediator strategic choice.
There are four fundamental strategies available to the mediator: integration, which involves finding a solution within the region of common ground between disputants; pressing, which involves reducing the set of nonagreement alternatives; compensation, which involves enhancing the set of agreement alternatives; and inaction, which involves letting the disputants handle the controversy themselves. Mediation tactics may serve more than one strategic objective. Some tactics are to separate the disputants, manipulate the agenda to manage the size of the conflict, control communications and images, use time constraints, inject humor, and balance the power between the disputants. The mediator's choice of strategy depends on the availability of a strategy, the strategy's perceived feasibility and necessity, the mediator's assessment of the costs and benefits of the strategy, and the mediator's incentives. The strategic choice model suggests that disputants should select mediators who value their aspirations. 21 references.


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