it is two situations 300 words each, here are the 12 stages 1. Establish a relationship with the disputing parties
2. Select a strategy to guide mediation
3. Collect and analyze background information
4. Design a detailed plan for mediation
5. Build trust and cooperation
6. Begin mediation
7. Define issues and set an agenda
8. Uncover hidden interests of the disputing parties
9. Generate options for settlement
10. Assess options for settlement
11. Final bargaining
12. Achieve a formal settlement
The Twelve Stages of Conflict Resolution
Foremost among the twelve stages is establishing a relationship. This stage is critical
because it is the foundation upon which trust is built. Trust engenders credibility and optimism in
finding a common understanding. Collecting and analyzing background information is
imperative in determining the mind-set of the opposing parties. Gender, age, race, education and
other socioeconomic factors are essential in profiling or sketching the major participants. Once
this profile is established, then it becomes possible to determine how to deal with the presence of
strong emotions, inappropriate stereotyping, misperceptions, and clarifying communication.
Once trust and cooperation are present, the initial fear associated with a combative or defensive
mind-set is reduced or eliminated. An opportunity is created to define the issues and set an
agenda. This stage is extremely important since it brings the opposing parties together by having
them come to a mutual decision–the first step toward resolving the conflict between them.
Building upon this initial success the mediator calls for the parties to generate options for
settlement. At this point the parties may choose to return to their original positions and offer
modest options or minor concessions. However, a skilled mediator will remind them of the need
for multiple options and that an earnest effort will benefit both sides in an equitable resolution.
The final bargaining stage calls for both parties to reach a settlement either through small
222 Chapter 12
accommodations, major concessions, or formalizing a process by which a substantive agreement
may be achieved.
Mediators may be called into action by either of the disputing parties, by referral from
concerned parties other than the disputants, or by governmental mandate. According to recent
studies the rejection of mediators and the mediation process have been as high as fifty percent.
Why this enormous refusal? Perhaps the mediation process is not well known or not fully
understood. Or possibly disputants have an over-reliance upon litigation as a means of resolving
difficult issues. In any event, the likelihood of rejecting mediation remains extremely high.
The criminal justice
system, taking its lead from industry and government, has taken
advantage of the benefits provided by the mediation approach. Court
officials have implemented
mediators in the process of resolving family disputes such as divorce proceedings and child
custody battles. Corrections officials have utilized mediators to bring an end to lawsuits initiated
by inmates rather than endure the negative public relations fallout and costs associated with a
protracted court battle. However, from both a law enforcement and corrections perspective, most
mediators are summoned as the result of an imminent threat to life or property such as hostage or
barricade situations. These (mediators) crisis negotiators are required to make contact with
individuals, determine their demands, resolve tense and hostile standoffs, and preserve life.
Individuals involved in these situations fall into four groups: individuals taken by surprise during
the commission of a crime, professionals, mentally unstable persons, and terrorists/religious
Most hostage situations arise from a rapid response by law enforcement officers to either
a robbery in progress call or an alarm call. In either event the result is the same, innocent clerk
and/or bystanders held captive by the shocked and frequently unsophisticated perpetrator. The
suspect is agitated and unpredictable and the hostage(s) is usually in the same mental state, which
places everyone involved at great risk. Not a typical conflict situation faced by most mediators,
but one that is all too common for criminal justice practitioners.
Professionals become involved in these situations also by accident or as a means to
broker a deal for a more lenient sentence
by the court. However, these individuals are calmer and
more predictable but more astute in their dealings with law enforcement officers than the
Mentally unstable individuals frequently take hostages or barricade themselves in an
attempt to commit suicide but use officers to complete the act. Referred to by law enforcement
professionals as “suicide by cop,” this method allows the individual to accomplish the goal
without personally pulling the trigger. While not as agitated as the robber taken by surprise, the
mentally unstable perpetrator is still unpredictable and presents a threat to hostages.
The greatest threat to hostage safety is posed by the fourth group, the terrorist/religious
zealot. A member of this group is committed to a political cause or a religious ideal. As a result
of this commitment, this person is not only not afraid to die, but expects to die and earn salvation
as a reward for having made a glorious political or religious statement. Most dramatically
illustrated on September 11, 2001, by the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City,
this type of individual is almost impossible to stop. Fortunately this type of individual is rarely
Conflict Resolution and Other Special Forms of Communication 223
Since most mediators are not faced with the type of situations discussed above, law
enforcement and correction officials need to designate certain members of their organizations to
handle these events. Training is the essential element in establishing a sound foundation for crisis
negotiation by criminal justice practitioners. Untrained or poorly prepared personnel, no matter
how well intentioned, may irreparably damage the negotiation process.