Conciliation is an ADR (alternative dispute resolution) that utilizes a third party, who meets with the sides separately and communicates the needs of the other side. The purpose of conciliation is to improve communication between two parties so they can effectively articulate their disagreements to the other party. In improving communications through the efforts of a third party conciliator, some tension from the dispute may dissipate, allowing the parties to come to a resolution amicably. The key element in conciliation is the conciliator was is a skilled negotiator and takes an active role in negotiating a settlement.
What are the qualities of a conciliator?
Unlike mediation, the goal of conciliation is not to reach a settlement that pleases and accommodates both parties, but rather convinces the disputed parties to make concessions in the name of resolving the dispute. Therefore, the conciliator, serving as the primary means of communication, must identify the objective of each side and act as their advocate to the other side. Once they have reached an objective perspective and a working knowledge of the dispute, they can begin the process of seeking concessions to resolve the dispute. The conciliator first resolves the finer points of the dispute before moving on to larger issues that will require significant compromise. By eliminating the smaller sources of conflict, the conciliator has brought the two sides closer to an agreement, which increases the incentive of the parties to compromise. Mediators cannot enforce a settlement, that parties must be persuaded to accepted the agreement and abide by it.
What are some conciliation specialists?
The federal government maintains a dedicated conciliation service called the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). This agencies help to mediate disputes that arise in federal, state and local government agencies as well as labor cases that involve interstate commerce, as per the federal government’s jurisdiction. The FMCS’s role in the 2011 NFL labor negotiation is an example to the type of mediation and conciliation service they offer to organizations. This service is free in contract disputes between employers and unionized employees. By law, the employer must notify the FMCS 60 days before the expiration of the contact so that the collective bargaining process may begin. The process will involve local representatives of the FMCS who are knowledgeable in the ADR process and will work with both sides until the dispute is resolved. The FMCS also offers grievance mediation to prevent the two sides from entering arbitration or ultimately, litigation.
Why is conciliation preferable to litigation?
Litigation is costly, public and lengthy. Members of the dispute are rarely satisfied by the outcome of the jury-awarded settlement and there is little hope for the sides to work together again in the future. Most ADR processes can preserve a relationship and manage grievances through increased communication. Conciliation is a useful process in that a skilled professional handles the negotiations and can offer an objective analysis of each side’s demands while attempting to coax concessions.