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In Place of Strife

The Mediation Chambers

Gamesmanship - a temptation worth resisting?

The games people play.

The word 'gamesmanship' was a 20th century invention, but Machiavelli wouldn't have any difficulty recognising it in practice.  Does it play any useful purpose in mediation?

The impulse of each party to want their 'best game' to be brought to a mediation is natural, and strong.  A commercially savvy client will, for example, recognise the importance of delivering a cogent, well argued position paper.   Diluting that positive investment of energy with 'mind games' (whether about the choice of venue, the exchange of information about who will be attending, or antics during the open session) is generally unlikely to help achieve the optimum end goal: a commercially palatable resolution that all the parties can - and are prepared to - live with.

In mediating a commercial dispute, playing a straight bat can often be the winning move.

Mediator: Denise O'Connor



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