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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98953 Find in a Library
Title: Mediating Public Disputes - A Response to the Skeptics
Journal: Negotiation Journal  Volume:1  Issue:2  Dated:(April 1985)  Pages:117-120
Author(s): L E Susskind
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article identifies challenges to the effectiveness of public sector mediation of conflicts and answers these challenges by addressing such issues as the unequal power of disputants, ensuring successful mediation outcomes, and gaining compliance with mediation agreements.
Abstract: Those who doubt that mediation can be effectively used in public sector disputes reason that public officials and agencies will not compromise their statutorily defined authority, disputants usually have unequal power, outcomes do not serve the public interest, compliance with mediation agreements is not likely, and mediators are not skilled enough to manage public sector mediation. In answering the critics of public sector mediation, it should be clear to them that mediation is not an alternative to traditional decisionmaking by legislative, administrative, and judicial bodies; rather, it supplements such processes by adding an additional step in the administrative process, entered voluntarily by both parties. Regarding unequal power held by the disputants, the mediator can help equalize power in the mediation process without altering the fundamental balance of political power. Outcomes of public sector mediation are successful when they maximize the joint gains of the parties, and compliance can be encouraged by involving the parties in the construction of the agreement. Effective mediators in public sector mediation do not have one set of credentials or methods, but they tend to be skilled in managing the political contexts of such disputes.
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Conflict resolution; Mediation; Public agencies
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