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Synergy in Mediation and Arbitration

How do the relative advantages of mediation and arbitration, create a synergy in a combined strategy?

Note: the key word is SYNERGY, so focus on this, and not on summarizing the articles.


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Interesting articles! Please read the articles again, to refresh your memory. They are very informative. One approach is to look at some of the suggested strategies and advantages of combined strategies which lead to synergy, which you can then draw on for your final copy. This is the approach this response takes.

Let's take a closer look.


1. How do the relative advantages of mediation and arbitration, create a synergy in a combined strategy?

Let's get some definitions out of the way first.

Mediation is a procedure whereby a third party assists disputants in achieving a voluntary settlement (i.e., the mediator cannot impose a settlement on the disputants). Interest arbitration (or, more simply, arbitration) is a procedure whereby a third party holds a hearing, at which time the disputants state their positions on the issues, call witnesses, and offer supporting evidence for their respective positions (Ross & Conlon, 2000). Combined strategies also exist. For instance, mediation-arbitration (med-arb) consists of two phases: (1) mediation, followed by (2) arbitration, if mediation fails to secure an agreement by a predetermined deadline. The same third party serves as both mediator and arbitrator (Kagel, 1976, as cited in Ross & Conlon, 2000).

And, a fairly new combined strategy is arb-med that consists of three phases:

"In phase one, the third party holds an arbitration hearing. At the end of this phase, the third party makes a decision, which is placed in a sealed envelope and is not revealed to the parties. The second phase consists of mediation. The sealed envelope containing the third party's decision is displayed prominently during the mediation phase. Only if mediation fails to produce a voluntary agreement by a specified deadline do the parties enter the third phase, called the ruling phase. Here, the third party removes the ruling from the envelope and reveals the binding ruling to the disputants (Cobbledick, 1992; Sander, 1993, as cited in Ross & Conlon, 2000). To ensure that the envelope contains the original ruling and not a later ruling (e.g., a ruling created after the mediation phase), the third party can ask a disputant from each side to sign the envelope across the seal at the beginning of mediation" (Ross & Conlon, 2000).

According to Ross and Conlon (2000) and others, combining the two processes of mediation and arbitration in different sequences has added benefit through creating synergy. In general, synergy (pronounced SIN-ur-jee, from Greek sunergia, meaning "cooperation," and also sunergos, meaning "working together") is the combined working together of two or more parts of a system so that the combined effect is greater than the sum of the efforts of the parts (,,sid9_gci214544,00.html). This occurs in the combined strategy of mediation and arbitration. In a cooperative interaction between two or more parties (often between two parties) involved in the combined mediation and arbitration process, it creates an enhanced combined effect - or a synergistic effect. Synergistic arrangements ...

Solution Summary

Through examples from the attached articles, this solution explains how the relative advantages of mediation and arbitration creates a synergy in a combined strategy.