bility and an inability to self-regulate destructive patterns. Other communication problems, including asymmetrical conflict, frequent topic shifts, rapid phasic change, or overly strategic interactions, may arise from a lack of agreement about abstract relational issues and interaction rules.
Third parties intervene primarily when there is a lack of basic agreement on the relational level. Mediators help overcome the lack of common assumptions or shared interaction rules by managing the process of discussion. Thus mediators act as "process experts" who facilitate voluntary settlements among disputing parties. The mediator's communicative choices are influenced by the systemic properties we outlined--variety, symmetry, continuity, stationarity, and spontaneity. Mediators can tailor their strategic moves to these systemic variables and thereby enhance their effectiveness.
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