CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

THE MEDIATION OF CONFLICT

Context, Cognition, and Practice

Kenneth Kressel

Mediation may be defined as a process in which disputants attempt to resolve their differences with the assistance of a third party whom they find acceptable. The mediator’s objectives are typically to help the parties search for a mutually acceptable solution to their conflict and to counter tendencies toward competitive win-lose strategies and objectives. Mediators are most commonly single individuals, but they also can be twosomes, threesomes, or even larger groups.

Although mediation is a pervasive and fundamental human activity—try to imagine family life devoid of parents’ interceding in their children’s squabbles—in the past several decades, formal ...

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