What about guaranteed outcomes?

It is highly controversial to suggest or to claim that you, as a mediator, can guarantee an agreement to a dispute before or during the mediation process.  The ethics of mediation require that the parties determine the outcome of the dispute rather than the mediator, and that the mediator not favor or disfavor any particular outcome.  Thus it is assumed that to guarantee an agreement would be to hamper the parties’ self-determination and threaten his or her own neutrality.

Taking these considerations into account, I respectfully disagree.  I believe that a mediator can attempt and intend to reach an agreement with the parties, so long as the mediator does not have any favor or disfavor for the content of that agreement or the completeness of that agreement.  In other words, if a partial agreement on a few of the terms of the dispute counts as an agreement, and if the mediator is completely neutral as to the content of the agreement, than it does not compromise party self-determination nor mediator neutrality to guarantee an agreement prior to the start of mediation.

My reasoning for examining this question is as follows: potential mediation clients look for mediation for a specific purpose, and that purpose is usually to reach an agreement on a specific issue.  The ability to facilitate an agreement is the service that mediators are providing to their customers.  Like any other service occupation, the job is valued on the service it provides, i.e., there is no inherent worth in the service – it only gains value in the eyes of the consumer who either gain value or lose value from it.

 

 

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