Convincing parties to take part in the process.
Votes at Conference: 14
I'll call or contact in a personal way the other party and try to interest him to show that the dispute can be resolved quickly if he cooperates. With cooperation from the party he or she can influence the outcome of the dispute, if not, I will submit to the court and he or she has no influence on the outcome. And perhaps the dispute is still unresolved
To get the parties to participate voluntarily is the most crucial factor in getting to a successful resolution. Thus, mediators must try their best to convince parties who are unwilling to co-operate to see their interests in attending a mediation process. Below are some arguments that can be used to convince an unwilling party to co-operate:
Highlight Benefits of Mediation: In Egypt, Mali, Rwanda and Indonesia we found that facilitators/mediators demonstrated the benefit of a mediation process, with lower costs, a quicker response and more sustainable relationships compared to formal systems.
Use the formal system for pressure: In Bangladesh and in Mali the formal system is used as pressure to convince parties to take part. It is embarrassing for a party if a conflict has to be solved through courts. Thus the threat of the formal system can be enough to encourage parties to take part in a mediation.
Highlight Costs/Risks of Formal Systems: In these same countries mediators advise parties who are unwilling to take part in a mediation of the risks and costs which are associated with a formal system, including financial costs, time involved, and the uncertainty of ‘winning’ the case. This is also an approach highlighted as effective by a workshop held by Praxis in Azerbaijan.
Highlight role & Independence: In Indonesia, Azerbaijan and Cambodia, mediators highlight both the fact that they are independent (not working ‘for’ either party), are volunteers (so not affected by power differences) and that they simply want to find a solution that both parties can agree to.
Repeat the invitation: Facilitators in Cambodia and Egypt will revisit parties several times before they accept that the invitation is declined.
Smart use of social pressure: In Cambodia facilitators sometimes approach a third party who can influence the unwilling person
Individual approaches: Lawyers from Praxis often approach the other party as individuals, reducing the formality and threat of taking part. This gives them an opportunity to explain the purpose of the process and their role, so that there is less perceived threat from the process.
Encourage them by explaining that it is in their long-term interest to mediate. That if it is in the husband’s interest to work things out with his wife in order to avoid a divorce, this is his opportunity to do so, or if there is a mutual decision to divorce, this can be discussed before heading to court.
Operations Manual for Commune Dispute Resolution Committee, UNDP Cambodia 2008, p. 30
Perloff, R. M. (2010) Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century, Communication Series. Communication Theory and Methodology; 4th Ed, New York Taylor & Francis Routledge
Allen, M. (1998) Comparing the effectiveness of one and two sided messages. In M. Allen, & R. W. Preiss (Eds), Persuasion: Advances through metaanalysis, pp.87-98. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press
O’Keefe, D. J. (1999) How to handle opposing arguments in persuasive messages: A metaanalytic review of the effects of one-sided and two-sided messages. In M. E. Roloff (Ed.), Communication Yearbook 22, pp209-249
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