A method of resolving a dispute in which the disputants present their cases to an impartial third party, who then makes a decision on their behalf. This decision is usually binding. Arbitration differs from mediation, in which a third party simply assists the disputants in developing their own solution.
Any of a variety of methods used to gather information related to a given conflict. An assessment is usually conducted by a third party neutral, and seeks to develop a comprehensive understanding of the situation in order to develop specific recommendations to help resolve the dispute. In addition to basic information about the origins, history, and substance of the dispute, an assessment may include an analysis of stakeholders’ positions, values, aims, issues, interests and needs.
The active engagement of people with diverse interests working together to achieve mutually satisfying outcomes. Collaborative processes seek to foster improved communication, joint fact-finding and problem solving, improved relationships, and more acceptable, and more enduring decision outcomes.
Conflict is present when two or more parties perceive that their interests are incompatible, express hostile attitudes, or pursue their interests through actions that seek to damage or undermine the other parties.
A group decision making process in which the group seeks to satisfy the concerns of all participating members. Consensus does not mean unanimity – it is the willingness of a group to support a given decision or recommendation, even if the decision is not wholly satisfactory.
A principle holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferential treatment of particular parties or interests. Also referred to as independence or neutrality, impartiality is a fundamental principle in all mediation processes.
Mediation is a voluntary collaborative process where individuals who have a conflict with one another, with help from impartial mediator(s), identify issues, develop options, consider alternatives, and seek to develop a consensual agreement.
An independent and impartial third party who facilitates communications, promotes understanding, focuses the parties on their interests and seeks creative solutions to problems that enable the parties to reach their own agreements.
A form of decision-making by which two or more parties talk with one another in an effort to settle a matter of mutual concern or resolve a conflict. Negotiation can be relatively cooperative, as when both sides seek a solution that is mutually beneficial (commonly called principled or interest-based), or it can be confrontational (commonly called win-lose or adversarial) bargaining, when each side seeks to prevail over the other.
Someone who is not directly involved in the conflict, but who becomes involved in an effort to help the disputants work out a solution. Examples of third parties may include mediators, arbitrators, conciliators, facilitators, or any other interested but neutral parties.
The expressed opinions, requests, or demands of individual stakeholders in a dispute. In a mediation process, positions are often distinguished from interests, which are deeper underlying concerns, values, or principles.