White House Mediation

The Washington Post ran an interesting article about conflicts within the White House, including the following passage about President Trump’s son-in-law and influential advisor, Jared Kushner:

“Sometimes when staffers feud, Kushner summons them to his office, a few doors down from the president’s, where the 36-year-old adviser sits them on the couch and mediates as though he were a couple’s therapist, officials said.”

That’s a mediator with power.


3 thoughts on “White House Mediation”

  1. In his book, The Mediation Process, Christopher Moore uses a sociological approach in identifying three categories of mediators: independent, social network, and authoritative.

    Independent mediators are neutral and typically are used in cultures that have “developed traditions of independent and objective professional advice and assistance. Members of these cultures often prefer the advice and help of independent ‘outsiders.’”

    Social network mediators are used precisely because of their connection to disputants and generally are part of a “continuing and common social network” involving friends, co-workers, community leaders, etc. Although these mediators may try to be even-handed, they may have interests in the relationships with the parties and may prefer certain outcomes.

    Authoritative mediators are in superior positions and have the capacity to influence the outcome of a dispute, though if they act as mediators, they do not make decisions for the parties.

    Many of us think of mediators as solely those in Moore’s category of independent mediators. Considering human behavior in societies around the globe, there probably are far more social network and authoritative mediations than independent mediations.

    When I posted the item about Jared Kushner’s mediations, I meant to highlight the process in a surprising setting considering the contentious nature of the White House these days. While Mr. Kushner certainly doesn’t fit within our conceptions of neutral professional mediators, he is part of a long tradition of leaders helping people work out their disputes – sometimes with a nudge – which is commonly referred to as mediation.

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