Mediation is a tool to work out a solution in conflict situations with the participation of affected persons. This tool is in particular suitable for ensuring the implementation of decisions and possibly solving particularly high-conflict situations. High-conflict situations can arise in particular in infrastructure measures such as developing networks.
Within the dialogue processes, mediation is characterized by a very high rate of participation as the participants take centre stage and the mediator only provides the organizational framework and makes the dialogue process possible. This process is particularly suitable for solving short-term crises and bringing the actors back “on board”.
The mediator thereby acts as an intermediary between the parties to the conflict. The mediator remains neutral in the problem-solving process and facilitates the process without also making decisions. For this reason, the mediator should be an independent third party who is assigned externally.
1.Find and select relevant actors
Firstly, all the persons or organizations involved in the conflict must be identified. The actors who will participate in the process will then be chosen. Care must be taken to ensure that indeed all the relevant actors are taken into account. This can be brought about with a stakeholder analysis.
2. Dealing with the conflict
All the interests, backgrounds and causes of the conflict are considered. The role of the mediator as an independent third party is important here, as the stakeholders trust the process more in this way and disclose the true reasons for the conflict. It is also important to assess the intensity of the conflict here in order so that hardened positions of the parties to the conflict can be softened up again.
3. Determine the potential for conflict resolution
The parties to the conflict gather proposals for a solution that are assessed in a joint process. A solution should be chosen that can be agreed on by all participants. In most cases not all the demands can be complied with entirely. Accepting the fact that not all needs can be met must come from both the parties to the conflict as well as the mediator themselves.
4. Agreeing on a solution
The solution chosen should be reduced to writing and signed by the parties to the conflict.
Once an agreement has been reached, another meeting should be held giving the participants an opportunity to provide feedback on the implementation. This serves to ensure that the agreement is adhered to and that implementation problems are worked out.
- Phase 2 – Agenda Setting
- Communication: Communicate the central ideas
- Capability to implement: Define negotiation corridors
- Phase 3 – Formulating and decision-making
- Communication: Establish dialogue; resolve lines of conflict
- Capability to implement: Bring reform opponents and proponents together; explore consensus
- Phase 4 – Implementation
- Communication: Facilitate communication between the participants
- Capability to implement: Take the needs of all the relevant stakeholders into account; ensure implementation
Sturm, Robert „Gezielter Griff in den Berater-Werkzeugkoffer. Die Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten von Mediation und Moderation.“ TAO Infodienst 20 2003.
Teubert, Benjamin „Mitarbeiter der Verwaltung als Mediatoren in Verwaltungsverfahren?, Eine Untersuchung am Beispiel der Arbeit von Raumordnungs- und Landesplanungsbehörden“ Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft. 2011.
Bundesverband Mediation Spektrum der Mediation No. 42 2011. Accessible: www.bmev.de/index.php (Downloaded 18.03.2013).
Sellnow, Reinhard. Mediation, Wegweiser Bürgergesellschaft, Stiftung MITARBEIT 2011. www.buergergesellschaft.de/politische-teilhabe/modelle-und-methoden-der-buergerbeteiligung/konflikte-bearbeiten-standpunkte-integrieren/mediation/106162/ (Downloaded 18.03.2013).