7.6. Types of intermediary roles
Carrying out the role of a mediator means that the social worker should be ready to change the balance of forces and the social dynamics of conflict relations by influencing the convictions and behavior of the parties to the conflict, providing them with the necessary knowledge and information, using the negotiation process's potential more effectively and helping participants come to a common solution. American conflictologists I. Rab and L. Braun proved that even the fact of the presence of a social worker independent of the conflicting parties can serve as an extremely important factor in the positive resolution of the conflict. Opponents should be prepared to admit participation in the conflict "third party" and help in reaching an agreement.
Mediators can connect to conflict resolution at various stages of conflict - the latent stage, the stage of conflict, the stage of conflict detection - according to the degree of organization and intensity of the conflict.
Latent conflicts are characterized by the underlying stresses, which are not yet fully developed and do not have the power of polarized conflict (for example, unpopular laws passed by the RF Government).
Changes in personal relationships in which one party is not aware of the seriousness of the violations serve as the basis for a latent conflict.
Mediators, working with people involved in solving a latent conflict:
- help the parties find people interested in changing attitudes;
- help them in developing a mutual consultation process on issues of interest;
- work with the parties to develop and implement the conflict resolution process.
Conflicts at the origin stage involve specific disagreements between the parties. These conflicts have the potential for escalation if the procedure for a possible solution to the conflict is not being implemented. In this case, the mediator helps start the negotiation process, during which the parties can exchange views on the merits of the issue, approaching the resolution of the problem.
Conflicts at the stage of detection are conflicts in which the parties are in constant opposition. Participation of the mediator in conflicts at this stage includes changing the procedure for negotiations or intervention in order to break the deadlock. Example: connecting social workers to resolve social conflict during strikes before the expiration of ultimatums. The mediator has no right to decide for the participants in the conflict. This characteristic distinguishes a mediator from a judge or an arbitrator, who by law are required to make decisions for the conflicting parties, based on social norms, laws or contracts. The goal of a legal solution is not reconciliation, but a fair decision based on the law.
The mediator can perform various roles and functions in the process of assisting the conflicting parties in resolving the conflict. Among them:
- Discoverer communication channels, which establishes the process of communication between the parties or helps improve the existing communication;
is the "voice of the law," which helps all parties to the conflict recognize the right of others to participate in the negotiation process;
- the "negotiating process organizer", which provides a negotiation procedure and often - the formal moments of each meeting;
- trainer & quot ;, which trains beginners, unskilled negotiators;
is a resource expander, which provides procedural assistance to parties and links them to external experts, for example, lawyers who provide missing information;
- the "problem researcher", which allows the participants of the conflict to consider the problem from different points of view, helps formulate the main problems and interests of the parties and see mutually beneficial options for the parties to resolve the conflict;
- "realist", which helps to make a reasonable decision in accordance with the requirements of reality;
- leader & quot ;, taking the lead in negotiating through the organization of the appropriate procedure;
- middleman - a more neutral role.
Neutrality implies the absence of any preference for the outcome of a particular mediation. The installation of the mediator signals to the participants of the conflict about his desire to retain the right of the participants to take a decision.
The mediator is dispassionate. He is free from preference and prejudice.
The mediator is a good listener. It is understood that he must possess the technique of active listening.
The mediator is a creative person. Being free from the emotional and psychological content of the conflict, he must be the most creative member of the group.
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