Reactive Devaluation

August 15, 2008 · Filed Under Mediation - General · Comment 

                              By Dave Finch

A frequently recurring obstacle to agreement in mediation goes by the name “reactive devaluation”: the tendency on the part of an adversary to assume that anything proposed by the other will be to his disadvantage. A companion problem is the widely observed tendency of adversaries is a willingness to accept some amount of loss in order to avoid or lessen any gain by the opposition. Mediators help diminish these negatives by trying to change an adversarial atmosphere to one of collaboration. Attorneys negotiating for clients can similarly impact these obstacles through patient listening, asking questions that clarify, not belittle, and showing a considerate recognition of the opposition’s interests and incentives. This approach, improves communication, diminishes distrust and resentment and paves the way for a more effective negotiation