An informal intervention consists of friends or family members facilitating the intervention directly or indirectly (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Formal intervention consists of a more formal approach to resolving conflict between individuals. This includes, but not limited to, paid counselors, mediators, legal intervention, judges or group facilitators (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Some formal types of third party intervention are arbitration, adjudication and mediation. In arbitration and adjudication, the decision of the outcome is based on an outsider, the judge, jury or arbitrator (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007).
However, in mediation, the outcome is based on the party’s management of their own conflict (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Similar to arbitration, adjudication is the process by which a decision is made, because parties cannot resolve their own conflict, through an outside source. Adjudication process involves a judge or jury (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Adjunction can be initiated without mutual consent of the other party (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Lawyers or other representing party negotiate with each other, while the conflict parties do not communicate to one another (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007).
Adjudication has advantages as well as disadvantages. A positive aspect of adjunction is it provides rules that emphasize fairness (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Each party has a right to speak and explain their positions (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). This works well when parties cannot prepare or present their case before a judge or jury (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Clients can benefit from the use of these professionals when it comes to legal procedures and court proceedings. There are some limitations and disadvantages with adjudication.
This type of system has been misused and imposed upon causing considerable delays (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). It is quite lengthy and expensive and parties, after committing to adjudication, realize it’s hard to deviate from it (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Finally, adjunction is “adversarial and operates on a win-loose set of conflict assumptions that encourages escalation tactics” (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Lawyers and other representing parties are speaking for each side of the conflict. Adjudication is similar to arbitration. However, arbitration does not include a judge and jury.
In voluntary arbitration, a neutral third party reviews relevant issues in a conflict and renders a decision in favor of one of the parties (National Arbitration Forum, 2008). Arbitration has some benefits. Arbitrators are available fairly quickly, it is lower cost than court, it is faster, and when an arbitrator has training in a special field, they offer a creative approach to resolutions (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Arbitration can be utilized in a wide range of content areas including contract disputes, medical malpractice, and domestic relations (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007).
Lastly, arbitration decisions are legally enforceable (National Arbitration Forum, 2008). Arbitration has some disadvantages. In an arbitration2 decision, there is a win-loose, not a win-win concept (Burgess, Burgess, 1998). Arbitration suggests that the parties cannot resolve conflict and have to look to an outside source. In arbitration2, it is adversarial and there is no approach to finding interests of both sides, rejecting a collaboration effort (Burgess, Burgess, 1998).
Mediation is the process in which a neutral party assists in negotiation between parties to reach an agreement or resolve. Mediators3 bring both parties together helping them to discover the content issues instead of positions, and help develop ideas so that the interests of both parties are met (Burgess, Burgess, 1998). Unlike adjudication and arbitration, a mediator is not to render any decision, instead their role is to facilitate communication between the conflict parties (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Also, unlike adjudication and arbitration, mediation is a collaborative effort in conflict.
Initially communication is between the parties and the mediator, then as the process unfolds, the conflict parties are communicating with each other to reach an agreement (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Mediation is more effective when each party has equal power (Moore, 1996). This adds to the overall collaboration of the process. There is mutual involvement in the process of mediation. This allows for a shared effort in the resolution (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). The outcome is positive for both sides and the desire to escalate the conflict is lessened.
The final agreements represent the ideas, collaboration and the solutions of the parties are likely to be creative and of a combined effort (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Mediation allows for both parties to find the underlying interests (Wilmot, Hocker, 2007). Mediation fosters an environment where parties can come together and examine topic, relational, identity and process issues that need to be resolved. Because the conflicting parties are allowed to have open communication, along with a neutral mediator, conflicting parties can be empowered by the collaboration of a mediation process.