Making impossible happen – mediation

publication date 24.03.2007

Making impossible happen – mediation

When we cannot cope with disputes, being unable to resolve them, we have a problem. Communication between the disputing parties deteriorates, emotions are taken to the extremes, there is an atmosphere of conflict – regardless of wheter it happens in the workplace or in private. Mediation is a well-tested method of resolving conflicts in a cultivated manner.

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On hearing the word conflict many get the goose pimples. We mostly try hard to avoid conflicts, just a small minority of people seek them. However, a conflict cannot be erased from our lives; it is a logical phenomenon occurring in contacts among unique individuals. When, in the future, the human society has clones all thinking and acting in one direction, they will lose conflicts. What a pity …. for it is one of the features of a conflict that it also works as the seeds of progress. Progress cannot do without conflict. 

The problem comes into being when we do not manage disputes, being unable to resolve them. Communication between the disputing parties grows worse, extreme emotions begin to appear, there is an escalating atmosphere of conflict, and –regardless of whether in the workplace or in private – the aggression then shows not only in words, but also in conduct and actions of the aggrieved people. 

We try to seek relief with our friends, relatives, sometimes even with a psychologist and, in the worst case, with a lawyer. As a result, we have got a range of different pieces of advice as to how to proceed in a particular conflict situation. Although they are often well-meant, yet at times they may be contradictory. This is because each mentor or advisor has a different personality, different experience in life and, therefore, a different view of the dispute. A fundamental problem of each dispute rests in the fact that its core is specific just to the parties involved. Which is why any advice given from the experience of someone else or from general ethical or legal standards, no matter how well-meant it may be, is always bound to be a mere outside intervention.

Nevertheless, abroad there is a well-proven method of a quick and cultivated resolution of conflicts and disputes  -  mediation. In some foreign countries, mediation has even been incorporated into their legal systems. ( You may remember the American movie The Disclosure … …). In the Czech Republic, so far, mediation is only being utilized in the sphere of criminal law. Yet it can do much more in the sphere of common civil disputes. By way of extrajudicial proceedings, it can resolve three out of four seemingly irresolvable disputes. Involvment of the third neutral party is of the essence: a skilled mediator conducts bargaining of the disputing parties in order to broker a mutually beneficial agreement.

Miroslav Hájek

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