Mediation Ghana 08 - Wageningen UR

Mediation Ghana 08 - Wageningen UR

Mediation in Multi stakeholder Processes

Adapted from Dorien Brunt

Kumasi, Ghana 2008

Mediation definition

Mediation is a specific form of conflict resolution

where the mediator as an independent third party

helps the parties find a solution that is based on

mutual interest.

Characteristics of Mediation

1. The restoration of disrupted communication

between parties.

2.Interest based facilitation rather than arbitration

Rules of Mediation

Everything that is discussed in the mediation between parties

is and remains confidential, even if the mediation fails.

The mediator is neutral and has – if the parties cannot find a

solution – no power to make a decision

The parties are completely free to leave the mediation if they

see no improvement in the situation.

Stages of Mediation Intake stage

Create a good atmosphere: welcome the negotiation

partners and underline shared interests.

The parties commit themselves to the negotiation

process and to rules such as:



Elaborate work procedures and check mandates

Intake reaching process agreement

Rules of conduct for a conducive atmosphere (To

prevent domination, role conflict, low participation,

poor follow through assignments, failure to start on


Feasible process objectives (diagnosis, improved

relationships, mutual understanding, generating

inclusive solution)

Stages of Mediation Exploration stage

This serves to make the parties able to negotiate with

each other. The parties are asked:

what caused a rift between them,

why they themselves cannot resolve the conflict and

whether they are willing to resolve it together.

The emphasis is on making the communication between

parties effective.

Stages of Mediation Negotiations

The parties are encouraged to think about:

what they want,

what the wishes of the other side are,

what they can offer to each other, and

what they need from each other.

Focus on interests rather than positions

Position =

Your preferred


Something you have

already decided upon

Interest =

The need underlying

your position

What caused you to

so decide

Why Negotiations become Positional

We assume we have the right and only answer to

the problem

We assume a “fixed pie”

We assume that incompatible positions =

incompatible interests

We assume: “I shouldn’t have to solve the others’


Conflict – Positions and interests





Negotiating from Interests

Treat positions as “openers” and search for interests

behind positions

Identify the parties’ interest – e.g. ask why they hold

certain positions. Note: all people share basic interests.

Discuss interests:

Explain own interests and try to understand the other

parties’ interest, by restating the other’s interest

Search for common ground and mutual interests

Clarify the “real problem”

Reframe the problem as satisfying as many interests

as possible

Focus on desired solution, not on past events.

Questions to Uncover Interests

“Help me understand why this is really important to


“What concerns do you have?”

“What’s the real problem?”

“What would be wrong with…?”

“What about this…?”

“What are your fears concerning this?”

“What exactly do you want from me?”

Mediation stage – come to agreement

Come to agreement & make last concessions.

Check feasibility, pay offs and risks. Are the various

needs fulfilled, predefined evaluation criteria met? If

not, get back to the exploration phase.

Check gradient of agreement. If the differences are

too big, skip the agreement.

Make concrete action plans (elaborate who, what,

where, when and how)

Gradients of agreement

Enthusiastic > Block

1. Endorsement: I like it

2. Endorsement with a minor point of contention: Basically I

like it

3. Agreement with reservations: I can live with it

4. Abstain: I have no opinion

5. Stand aside: I do not like this but do not want to uphold the


6. Formal disagreement but willing to follow the majority

7. Formal disagreement with request to be absolved of

responsibility for implementation

8. Block: I veto this proposal

Skills and Instruments

What are

“ does and don’ts”

for a mediator?

Skills and Instruments




Skills and Instruments

Ask Questions: What, when, who. (Be careful with why !)

React on nonverbal communication

Disarming sentences,underline shared interest

Ground rules not to interrupt or pressure individuals to talk

Descriptive speech, I statements and active listening

Switch by summarising, ask people to summarise each other

Respect. Problem oriented rather than to persuade people to

change opinions

Issues, new ideas and suggestions are open for debate

Constructive proposals Ask what people do want, not what

they don’t want!

Skills and Instruments


From negative to positive

“you said you don’t like that there are so many conflicts. I

understand that you would like to find a constructive


From ‘their fold’ to ‘our problem’

“You have the feeling that they don’t tell you the truth, so you

are looking for ways to openly communicate with each


From complain to vision

“You said nobody takes responsibility. So you wish that

everybody is motivated?”

Language that…



Open questions

Showing empathy

Positive body language



Closed questions


Negative body language

Mediation in Multistakeholder Processes

So far for the theory, let’s now try to use mediation


Mediation in practice – group work

Three groups: each group works out a case in a role

play. Think of a few complains/arguments that you

expect from the key stakeholders involved in a

conflict in your MSP. Write these down.

Mediation for deescalation of conflict


Facilitator: to learn constructive communication for deescalation.

Group: to apply the rules of conduct.


It is very difficult to explore the issue without heightening emotions.

It is crucial to think of effective rules of conduct and process goals


Select a facilitator and an observer for the facilitator.

10 min. Role play. Facilitator practises communication strategies.

Observe whether facilitator deliberately applies the points of

constructive communication.

Observe the effect on the people.

10 min. Feedback about effectiveness mediation strategy.

Remember to listen carefully!!

© Wageningen UR

Thank you

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