Ethics of Neutrality vs.
Posted in General Neutrality and the Mediator The essence of effective mediation requires that the process is maintained and protected by the mediator and this requires absolute neutrality from the mediator, but moreover it requires that all parties within the process perceive that neutrality.
There cannot be effective mediation if either party feels that the mediator has provided judgement or favour towards either side. The importance of neutrality In fact where there may be material consequences as a result of the mediation process, any perceived lack of neutrality acts as a barrier to the communication process and may impede engagement in the process.
Herein lies the difficulty, neutrality is perceptive and cannot be measured, as it has not been truly defined. According to the journal of law and social enquiry, there does not exist a finite definition nor tool for measurement.
Any studies that do exist rely on mediator reports, participant feedback and the successful outcome of agreement.
According to Cobb and Rifkin 1 mediators define neutrality using the concepts of justice, power and ideology. During interviews with fifteen mediators involved in community mediation each sited a time when each of the three concepts came into play.
One sited mediation between a parent and child where the mediator ensured justice through encouragement of the daughter to fully express views, the second where a severe power imbalance existed and the mediator took one party to private session to encourage them to fully explain their needs, and a third where the mediator was ideologically at odds with an institution involved.
During each of the three processes the mediators actively checked their own neutrality so as to preserve the process, and each sites having to actively not act in preference for one client despite obvious imbalances between the two parties.
Moore 2 further tells us that impartiality and neutrality signify that the mediator can separate his or her opinion from the outcome of the dispute, from the desires of the disputants and can focus on the ways to help them make their own decisions without unduly favouring one of them.
The final test of this is the acceptance of the disputants of the outcome, as acceptance is likely to be less if one side feels the mediator was partial to the opposing party.
Impartiality in Mediation The notion of impartiality impacts on neutrality, as for effective mediation to take place the mediator must either discount his own views, opinions and ideologies or separate them from the process of mediation.
For the mediator to separate bias, induced by personal values, then he must first identify the potential for bias, or lack of neutrality prior to mediation. This may become clear to the mediator during the pre-mediation meeting and allow the mediator time to employ strategies to separate the process from either himself or the conflicting parties.
To some extent the mediator must recognise that a portion of partiality may be subconscious and so in effect the mediator must resolve subconscious issues whilst consciously displaying neutrality. Cobb and Rifkin tell us that 14 out of 15 mediators interviewed cited impartiality as neutrality with some stating that co-mediation or working in a mediation team helped guard against bias, whereby one practitioner could identify bias unseen in another.
Partiality versus neutrality Another interesting tactic that a mediator may need to employ may appear as partiality rather than neutrality.
This can occur where a significant power imbalance exists between conflicting parties, where the mediator recognises one side as potentially coercing the other into accepting a resolution which may serve the purpose of the stronger side. In this instance the mediator may act as an advocate of one side during the mediation.
This is neutrality through practicing equidistance and requires the mediator to create some distance from one side and proximity to the other. However this may also mean that equality and equidistance does not arise from equal time being given to each disputant. This practice can be considered controversial but is covered within the ethical standards of The Society for Professional Dispute Resolution 3.
There is therefore a difficulty for the mediator as the two practices do not easily coexist.Articles The Effects that Mediator Styles Impose on Neutrality and Impartiality Requirements of Mediation By SusAN NAUss EXON* Introduction MEDIATOR STYLES-sometimes referred to as mediation mod- els-are terms used to describe a neutral's approach or conduct dur-.
And, based on the semantics of the differences between neutrality and impartiality, it is possible to justify certain mediator interventions or actions in the mediation process, which might strictly contradict the notion of neutrality but still sit within the concept of impartiality.
The terms 'neutral' and 'neutrality' commonly appear in discussions about proper conduct for mediators and in the standards of practice of many professional mediation organizations.
 Adopting a neutral stance, it is argued, helps mediators to establish trust, credibility, and timberdesignmag.com is commonly thought that if a mediator is unable to maintain a neutral stance, codes of ethics and.
Conflict and Mediation Process Words | 11 Pages. Conflict and mediation process Whenever conflicts surface in Africa, the first thing that the concerned parties go for is the fastest way of solving the conflict before it grows to uncontrollable proportions.
If the mediator attempts to assist the mediation process by helping the parties to come to an informed decision, then problems arise in the practice of neutrality and impartiality (Van Gramberg & . Neutrality as impartiality, which holds that the mediator should be free of bias and should set aside his or her opinions, feelings, and agendas.
Neutrality as equidistance, which focuses on the idea that mediators should try to give equal consideration to each side.