Mediating conflicts between employees has never been easy, but Gregory Encina Billikopf, University of California farm labor management advisor says he’s found a better way to do it. His research suggests that mediators should hold separate advance meetings with the individuals involved in the conflict prior to conducting a joint session. Billikopf says this technique defuses emotionally charged situations before the parties involved face each other.

Additionally, he contends that mediators can reduce perceptions of bias by literally having the conflicting individuals sit and face each other. The mediator sits at a distance, which encourages the people involved to look at and speak to each other rather than to the mediator.

You can see Billikopf’s research article titled “Contributions of Caucusing and Pre-Caucusing to Mediation” at the Web site: http://www.cnr.berkely.edu/ucce50/ag-labor/7research/7res04.htm