Abstractions and Generalizations — What Every Mediator Should Know

Hierarchy of Abstractions

Introduction People use abstraction and generalization to order the world around them. They develop and rank categories, and use those categories—good person/bad person—to evaluate and interact with others. I think of these personalized categories as “hierarchies of abstraction” and have learned from experience that the better I understand them, the more effective I become as […]

The Myth of Best Practice

Best Practice

The Yearning for Best Practice “We need you to tell us what the ‘best practice’ is here,” is a request very familiar to many business and management consultants, or “we chose this consulting firm because they have worked with many similar companies and they will bring in ‘best practices’ in the industry.” The term “Best […]

The Cybernetics of Dispute

Cybernetics of Dispute

The Cybernetics of Dispute Imagine a hypothetical social system in equilibrium. We already know that there will be no conflicts being perceived by any member of this system, because the whole social system is in equilibrium, (refer to The State of No Conflict); however, members of this system are human individuals, and they are indeed […]

The Cybernetics of Learning

The Cybernetics of Learning Conflict denotes the existence of a difference between what has been sensed and what the individual believes it ought to be. Therefore, the response to a conflict, or in other words, the attempt to close the gap, can lead to no less and no more than two distinct behaviours: either focus […]

Transformational Process Design for Dispute Resolution

Transformational Process Design for Dispute Resolution

Introduction Before any dispute resolution process is designed or implemented, there should be a planning process to avoid surprises and pitfalls and minimize the risk of failure. Without advanced planning, there is no direction to go towards, no priorities to focus limited resources on, and no sense of progress and achievement. On the other hand, […]

The Cybernetics of Having a Thick Skin!


The Cybernetics of Having a Thick Skin! Human beings are survival machines; they, by nature, strive to reduce their discomfort as much as possible. When we are hungry, we search for food; and when in need of protecting ourselves against environmental elements, we secure a shelter. Understanding that conflict is a discomforting difference, any conflict […]

From Conflict to Dispute


From Conflict to Dispute The overuse and dramatization of the word ‘conflict’ in contemporary media, by employing terms such as armed conflict, countries affected by conflict, deadly conflicts, and such, have dramatically transformed the true meaning of the word. In contrast, the word dispute has gained more presence in legal and less dramatic disagreements. To […]

Why Cybernetics

Why Cybernetics In classical binary logic, Aristotle’s principle of non-contradiction states that things cannot be ‘A’ and ‘Not A’ at the same time, and therefore, everything can be categorized into a distinct group: Either ‘A’ or ‘Not A’; and furthermore, ‘A’ into ‘B’ and ‘Not B’; and so on, creating a hierarchy chart. As an example, a […]

Basic Notions – Disturbance or Perturbation

Basic Notions - Disturbance

Basic Notions – Disturbance or Perturbation Adding to the complexity of the example depicted above, should forces change their directions or magnitudes in a way that the total sum is not zero, the system will experience disturbance (or perturbation) and moves out of its original equilibrium state. In our example, let’s assume the addition of […]

Basic Notions – Variety and the Law of Requisite Variety

Basic Notions - Variety

Basic Notions – Variety and the Law of Requisite Variety To control—or manage[1]— anything, there is a need for something to measure it with; so as to control complexity, we need a measure to understand the size of a given complex situation. In Cybernetics, Ashby[2] introduces the concept of variety: “The number of possible distinct […]

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Mediation process designed specifically for complex disputes and high-conflict situations