The NE-ACR News summer 2008 issue presents some of the results of a request to readers to answer the question of what defines “success” in mediation and how a case might illustrate that definition. ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) practitioners responded and demonstrated how the idea of “success” may be broader than some might think.
In addition to finding success in the process itself, some parties find “success” with an outcome that isn’t a settlement or agreement. Sometimes one party learns new information that can significantly change a bargaining position and make settlement at that time impossible or undesirable. At times a window into the other party’s perspective is opened and a relationship can start to shift towards a more positive direction, without any formal agreement. The context of the conflict in which the parties find themselves frames their opportunity for success, not a narrow definition.