Mediators do not have laws and regulations to prove their legitimacy as judges do. Instead, they must depend on their own neutrality and the voluntariness of the parties involved (Astor, 2007, p. 222). These two principles, combined with the mandate of confidentiality, allow mediations the chance to be successful. Should these elements not be in place the mediation would not be able to serve it’s definition; “a process in which an impartial third party facilitates communication and negotiation and promotes voluntary decision making by the parties to the dispute. (Model Standards of Conduct, 2005)” In the Radix/Argyle case we see how the foundation of mediator neutrality, a mutual willingness or voluntariness to participate in the mediation, and an expectation of confidentiality led to a successful agreement that was better than the parties’ alternatives (Friedman & Himmelstein, 2008)
Neutrality is one of the first responsibilities of the mediator in situations such as this. The principle governs a mediator’s relationship with the disputants. The mediator should not expect to have any benefit from either party and should not have a past beneficial relationship with either party. Mediators serve to ensure the process is fair. When the mediator shows preference to one party over the other, in effect, he or she is now incapable of helping the parties to make their own decisions (Moore, 2003, pp. 53-54). “They must perceive that the intervenor is not overly partial or unneutral in order to accept his or her assistance (Moore, 2003, p. 54).” In the Radix/Argyle case the mediator did maintain an appearance of neutrality and did not show an indication of preferring one side over the other. The mediator consistently spoke in an inclusive manner, using phrases like “both companies,” “you each,” and “ways in which you could cooperate with each other.” At no point did the mediator indicate that one company was more at fault than the other. The plural you was always...
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