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Crisis in the Mediation Industry

Crisis in the Mediation Industry

Is the mediation industry still facing a crisis today?

 

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Yes, I think so. I think pretty much what I said in that book is still very relevant. In fact, in some ways it made certain elements of it have even solidified. On the other hand, there’s some good news too about things that have happened or begin to help us address some of the issues I’ve raised in the book as well and maybe we can unpack some of that as we talk.

 

Just as two examples of what I think is still relevant, and what I think we have accomplished over these years, I still think mediation as a service is tremendously under-used. As we’ve often said, the need for mediation is far greater than the market for it. I also think that the number of people who would like to be working as mediators, and really as mediators as a profession is far greater than the demand. I don’t actually think this is about marketing.

 

I’ve gone to conferences forever – 30 years – where people have talked about how we just need to market better. Of course, we always need the market better but I don’t think that’s a fundamental nature of the problem. I think the nature of the problem identified there and I still believe is true is a disconnect on what people perceive their needs to be.

 

On the other hand, the part where I think we really have made some progress is I think our field, and we can tell about what we mean by ‘our field’, now does view itself in a much broader context than simply as third-party-conflict resolvers. I think that we are a field whose consciousness of itself is evolving.

 

What I suggest we think about ourselves is concert engagement specialists, with a variety of roles. I think a lot of signs that’s beginning to track and beginning to happen and beginning to have some impact. Yes, I think there’s still a crisis. I still think the crisis is growing, much as I’ve described, but I don’t think we’ve stood still in response to that crisis itself.

About the mediator

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Bernie Mayer, Ph.D. is Professor of Dispute Resolution at The Werner Institute, Creighton University. He is without doubt a leader in the field of conflict resolution. Considered by many in the field of conflict resolution as an icon, Bernie has over a quarter century of experience in the field and was a founding partner at CDR Associates, the internationally recognized mediation and conflict resolution organization. Bernie originally trained as ... View Mediator