Mediation is often portrayed as a useful vehicle for disputes between equals, where parties can be expected to speak for themselves and neither has significant power over the other. Critics, and even supporters, become more sceptical when it comes to less symmetrical situations. Complaints against professionals are one such category. The professional is seen to…

I find myself writing this blog from South Africa, at the annual conference of the International Association of Conflict Management – http://www.iacm-conflict.org/. It is a fantastic melting pot of ideas, bringing together a range of cultures and identities. Cultures, at first sight, seem to describe national and group identities: South African, American, French, Dutch, Tanzanian,…

This blog is inspired by a page from Monty Python’s ‘Big Red Book’ entitled ‘Why Accountancy is Not Boring.’ (Apologies to those who have not come across the Pythons’ rather English form of humour – for the original piece see http://arago4.tnw.utwente.nl/stonedead/publications/sketches/accountancy.html) Apologies too to accountants everywhere who, in the 1970’s, were probably as easy a…

Problems in group practices of medical group practices or commercial partnerships between lawyers, advisers, accountants, consultants are very common. My mediation practice consists for about 50% of group-mediations concerning cooperation-problems between partners in lawyer-firms, doctors-cooperations and other commercial partnerships. One of the major issues seems to be that clear communication about what is really the…

Plastered onto the rear fender of my next-door neighbor’s Honda is a bumper sticker that asks, “If you can’t change your mind, are you sure you still have one?” It’s a cheeky question perhaps, but nonetheless a relevant one. With an election year coming up in 2012, the American presidential campaign season is in full…