Just the other day, I learned the term “sunk-cost bias” and immediately thought of the mortgage foreclosure work that I do. The term was new to me, but the concept was not: sunk-cost bias describes why it’s so hard for us to walk away from something and cut our losses (and explains why I spent 3 hours waiting in line for the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland). With sunk-cost bias, our minds go through a process of telling us that we should hold on because otherwise the time, money and energy already invested would be a waste, even when such a decision is irrational and just sinks us further in the hole. The concept can have very real implications for more serious life choices, like whether or not to remain in a home once in foreclosure. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Training, Skills & Techniques’ Category
A mediation colleague in Chicago, Bob Berliner, recently used the term “theology” to describe the various schools of thought regarding mediation, such as evaluative, facilitative and transformative. He was using the term somewhat tongue-in-cheek and as shorthand for the idea of belief systems that individual mediators hold, as well as the debates among those mediators.
It got me thinking. Is there some similarity between how we develop our religious beliefs and how we develop our mediation styles? I’m not suggesting that our religious beliefs are linked to our mediation styles, but rather that similar forces are at work in developing these two sets of belief systems.
The thing that really struck me about this way of looking at our beliefs in our mediator styles is that none of them is based on proof any more than religious beliefs are based on proof. (more…)
Did you know there is an ADR process called “hot-tubbing?” This was news to me when I heard it mentioned last week at the Court ADR Symposium (which occurs every year on the day before the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Conference). As I understand it, the process is used sometimes in arbitration when there are conflicting expert opinions. Basically, the idea is that rather than simply hear expert testimony from each side sequentially, the arbitrator questions the experts concurrently. Hot-tubbing has been used in court settings in Australia, England and Wales, as well as in arbitration. (more…)
Recently, I had the good fortune to attend an outstanding webinar by Professor of Social Interaction Elizabeth Stokoe, hosted by the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM). Professor Stokoe performs conversation analysis on interactions between mediators and parties. In her presentation, she discussed four common problems mediators may encounter during intake calls with potential clients who are involved in a neighbor-to-neighbor dispute. The problems can lead to the potential client rejecting the opportunity to mediate.
The four core problems that Professor Stokoe discussed are: (more…)
Neutrals across the country must have experienced a mutual shudder as we read about a party leaving a Phoenix mediation, lying in wait for the other party and his lawyer to leave, and then shooting them, along with a bystander.
My initial response was from that core, human place. I mourn the loss of life and the injuries. I imagine the fear of those in the immediate area. I wonder if I know, or anyone I know knows, the mediator or any of the participants. My heart goes out to the mediator, Ira Schwartz.
Then I think about how this will play out amid the current debate about the role of guns in our society.
But then I imagine the critical questions this raises for those of us in the ADR field.
- As neutrals, what are our responsibilities?
- For those of us involved with court ADR programs, what are our special responsibilities? (more…)