Shortcomings of neutrality in mediation: Solutions based on rationality

Kevin Gibson*, Leigh Thompson, Max H. Bazerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The authors argue that much of the conventional wisdom about mediation is based on the concept of neutrality - a concept difficult to operationalize. They replace this approach with the goal of providing Symmetric Prescriptive Advice (SPA). SPA is based on Raiffa's decision theoretic approach to negotiation and mediation, coupled with an analysis of common cognitive errors that occur in mediation. SPA requires mediators to: (1) only push for agreements when a positive bargaining zone exists; (2) search for fully efficient agreements; and (3) help the parties think through the issue of fairness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages12
JournalNegotiation Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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