Conflict and Mediation

Mediator gives tips on the art of compromise

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
August 3, 2011

Everywhere we look it seems that stalemate confounds compromise and polarization trumps conciliation from the political battle over the federal debt ceiling to the intransigent labor disputes in professional sports leagues. Professor of political science at Minnesota State Universiy Moorhead, Barb Headrick, suggests that “this is deeper polarization between the two parties than we’ve seen at least for 80 years” since the battle between Democrats and Republicans over the New Deal of the 1930s.

Conflict is not new and it is a normal part of the human existence. What matters is how conflict is dealt with. Conflict often triggers emotions like fear, anxiety, or anger which cause a fight or flight instinct that tends to drive parties apart during negotiations. In these situations, it is best if a mediator is used to help open up channels of communication and take the edge off highly emotional statements.

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