James R. Antes, Donna Turner Hudson, Erling 0. Jorgensen, and Janet Kelly Moen observe that mediation models claiming to have steps rarely have strict adherence to their rules. Many factors affect the flow of a mediation session. For example, someone may balk at the end of negotiation because that disputant has unresolved interests that were not dis covered earlier. Other anomalies include skipping stages or using the steps out of sequence; reaching solutions without the aid of the mediator; and mediators affecting the substance of the mediation, not just the process. As Antes et al. contend, “good things happen even without reaching agreement”. A strict step model may prove too rigid for actual practice.
Antes et al. suggest the facets ofmediation model to embrace the conciliation phi losophy and to correct the anomalies in a lock-step perspective. The mediator completes a set of nonsequential tasks that address several questions:
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• What are we doing here?
• What is this about?
• What is important to self?
• What is important to other?
• What do we do? (p. 293)
The balanced mediation model in this book has an inherent problem-solving orientation, but one that is strongly influenced by the desire to engage in reconciliation strategies when appropriate. We also acknowledge that mediation phases may progress in a nonlinear fashion. To balance the transformative and problem-solving functions, a mediator must be aware of the many choices to be made throughout the course of a mediation and be aware of the possible consequences to the process of each choice.