When the neighborhood misunderstanding case was referred to mediation, an interest­ based process ensued. Through the promptings and guidance of a mediator in a safe con­ text, Dana shared her personal background, feelings of distrust, and genuine fear of the dog and strangers. The Klimes were able to have their apology heard, state their views of what it means to be good neighbors, and express their frustration that Dana would not talk to them when the conflict first occurred. Through interest-based negotiations, each party began to see the other as a partner in fixing the problem. The mediator was able to assist the neighbors in resolving the conflict, and they worked out a plan for Dana to choose other alternatives than the police department when dealing with the dog.

WHAT TYPES of disputes would be inappropriate for interest-based resolution? What are the risks to the parties in this approach? What should individuals consider before engaging in an interest-based negotiation?

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