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Wed, Jul 22, 2009

New Party-Directed Mediation book available online

Gregorio Billikopf from the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources division has released a major update to his previously published (2004) guide entitled Helping Others Resolve Differences: Empowering Stakeholders. The new 2009 edition, entitled Party-Directed Mediation: Helping Others Resolve Differences, is available for free download as pdfs or for purchase as a print version. It has been revised and renamed to focus on the specific form of mediation, dubbed “Party-Directed Mediation” that Billikopf believes holds great promise.

men at odds As he explains in the preface, “The approach is simple: (1) mediators listen to and coach each party separately in a pre-caucus(or pre-mediation) before bringing them together; and eventually, (2) when disputants do meet in a joint session, the contenders address each other rather than the third party. The burden of solving the conflict remains with those who are most likely to be able to do so: the contenders. Parties gain the skills that will permit them to solve future conflicts without a mediator. Furthermore, Party-Directed Mediation is designed to allow individuals to save face and preserve dignity to a greater extent than allowed by more traditional approaches. Some ethnicities and cultures place a great value on facework, and so Party-Directed Mediation is especially effective for resolving multicultural conflicts.”

Billikopf notes that his approach differs from more traditional mediation approaches that move parties quickly into joint session and that encourage the parties to speak to the mediator more than each other. He does acknowledge more recent methods that don’t emphasize this as much, indicating that “Perhaps the contribution of Party-Directed Mediation is the more explicit organization of mediation around the pre-caucus and subsequent joint session. Furthermore, while a few authors suggest parties face each other during the joint session, in Party-Directed Mediation the facilitator moves away from the contenders, underscoring the fact that a mediator is present to facilitate a conversation between the parties rather than to decide who is right.”

Also of interest is a new section focusing on Negotiated Performance Appraisals as a tool for managing and preventing workplace conflicts.

And finally, to support party skill development, the University of California site also hosts for download two audio training seminars consisting of a series of mp3 files, one on Empathic Listening Skills and the other on Interpersonal Negotiation Skills (see “Listening Skills” and “Negotiation Skills Audio” links at top center of book page).


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2009 07 22 | Filed under Conflict Resolution  

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