As soon as the news of the Ukrainian invasion emerged in late February, I felt the urgent need to address in writing what had been unthinkable only days earlier but which has now changed Europe for good. At the same time, I felt a massive sense of despair and helplessness which rendered me mute. Weeks…

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard (PON) sends to subscribers a daily blogpost of interesting negotiation thoughts and analyses. It regularly visits the negotiation styles of world leaders with the idea that ‘by studying the negotiation styles of famous leaders, we can identify what to emulate and what to abandon’. Unsurprisingly it has shone a…

Given the confidential nature of mediation, it is a rare set of circumstances that allow us to catch a glimpse into the mediator’s craft. The current review of the professional standards governing Australia’s accredited mediators provides one such opportunity, The review seeks, to the extent permissible, to uncover what practitioners are actually doing, including the…

Values drive practice

(I first wrote about mediation’s values 12 years ago at the tail end of a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Mediation Studies.(1) Two years of study had convinced me that it is our values, rather than the techniques we learn, that tell us what to do and say when when mediating. The intervening years haven’t…

The word “manipulation” has a bad name. It is usually used to denote devious and underhand behaviour. If we say that someone is being manipulative or that someone is a manipulative person then we are usually disapproving. Mediators are manipulators, and master mediators are master manipulators. I respond here to Rick Weiler’s recent post, in…

“Hi, I’m Rick. I’m your mediator for today. I can’t decide what happens in this dumb dispute or how you resolve issues. My job is just to help people who are incapable of resolving conflict, like yourselves, find areas that you can agree on. That means I get to control what appears in the messages,…

(This post is being republished due to technical issues when it was first published.) “I see contemporary patterns of disputing as an adaptive (but not necessarily optimal) response to a set of changing conditions. There have been great changes in the social production of injuries as a result of, among other things, the increased power…

In one of my recent cases, the question of impartiality appeared in quite an irregular way. It happened when I entered the mediation room where both parties were seated together with their lawyers. They were drinking coffee and making small talk. To my surprise, one of the lawyers looked quite familiar. Just for a moment,…