Say What?

  • What is mediation and how is it different from other conflict resolution processes?
  • What are the differences between the various types of mediation? What are the stages of mediation?

What Do You Say?

(Betty, Veronica, and the Beauty Shop)

Betty Bouffant and Veronica Vamp have co-owned a beauty shop for about a year. Betty is from another geographic area. Veronica is from this area and has 10 former clients now coming to her for hair care. Betty has now discovered that Veronica has quietly been taking 25% of the revenues from these old clients as a personal bonus. Betty feels this is a breach of contract and wants her share. Veronica feels the issue was not addressed in the contractual negotiations and is an open question. The partners did not openly discuss whether clients from their prior employment should be treated differently from new clients. Assume it is the custom in the industry in this area for some sort of bonus money to be paid to beauticians bringing old clients to a new business. It would be very expensive for both partners if the business were to go under. 
They have come to mediation and you are the mediator. 

In mediation, Veronica says that she had every right to keep the extra money, because, after all, without her client base the business would never have gotten off the ground. In response, Betty turns beet-red, leaps to her feet, and shouts, “the underhanded creep! I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw a stick! I don’t see any alternative except to sue her blind. I’ll make her rue the day she ever tried to cheat Betty Bouffant!”

What Do You Say? Activity

Please think about the mediation tactics discussed in the readings.

I hope the following brief fact situation can be used to spark discussion of facilitative and evaluative mediation tactics. Some issues that may arise and need to be thought through are:

  • Mediator has to be careful not to validate the factual contentions of either disputant.
  • How does the mediator guide the process without causing Betty to lose face?
  • How does the mediator refocus the conversation on the disputants’ shared interests in resolving the dispute?
  • How does the mediator confirm and recognize Betty’s emotions without alienating Veronica?

300 words total. 

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