Thank you to all of the people who either joined or renewed their memberships in the month of January with SCMA!!
Yours in service,
Dear SCMA Colleagues:
Continuing in the tradition of Immediate SCMA Past President Dr. Jack R. Goetz and other past presidents, I am excited to issue the SCMA President’s Monthly Message. The purpose of the President’s Message is to provide SMCA members with updates and highlights of SCMA’s programs and activities.
Our year is off to a roaring start, grounded by our three-year Strategic Plan, facilitated and written by Jack Goetz during his year as SCMA President. Among other things, the Strategic Plan positions SCMA to continue fulfilling its mission of promoting mediation, excellence in the practice of mediation, and community awareness of the mediation process through education, dialogue, and outreach. Core to our Strategic Plan is a commitment to ensuring that we continue to meet and service the needs of our members.
To this end, we soon will be sending out our 2019 SCMA Membership Survey, led by Andy Shelby, SCMA President-Elect, and Susan Guthrie, SCMA Board Member and Chair of the Communications Committee. Please be on the lookout for the survey in your email box by the end of this month and set aside a few minutes to provide us with your feedback. This will assist us in designing programs and other activities that align with our members’ goals and interests.
Looking ahead, we are very excited about the events we have planned for this year. Please schedule them now so you have time to get involved. Here’s what is coming up:
- Monthly Professional Development Groups (PDGs) – Our new Downtown Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego PDGs are off to a great start! Be on the lookout for new PDG’s forming soon in Camarillo and the Inland Empire. Also consider visiting our longstanding San Fernando Valley, South Bay, and West Los Angeles PDG’s. The Pasadena PDG will be back soon.
- March 2019 – The kick-off of our online “How I Made It” series featuring successful mediators in various subject matter fields.
- May 18, 2019 – Annual SCMA Employment Mediation Institute, chaired by SCMA Member Samantha Blake and Board Member Mark Lemke.
- June 7 & 8, 2019 – 2nd Annual SCMA Family Mediation Institute, chaired by SCMA Board Member Terri Breer.
- August 1, 2019 –Summer Soiree & Networking Event, chaired by SCMA Members Doug Spoors and Marvin Whistler.
- November 1 & 2, 2019 – SCMA 31st Annual Mediation Conference, chaired by SCMA President-Elect Andy Shelby, and featuring Professor Leonard Riskin as our keynote speaker and Cloke-Millen Award winner. Returning as our Advanced Track provider will be the American Arbitration Association.
- We also look forward to working with our sister organizations MC3 and Kids Managing Conflict on future programing and collaborations.
Additionally, we have several other webinars and programs in the works so be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for regular updates.
Finally, I would like to thank Professor Stephanie Bell Blondell, Assistant Professor of Law and Associate Director of the Pepperdine Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, for kicking-off our year with a great seminar on mediation ethics. Many thanks to Pepperdine for hosting this event, and to Richard Erhard, SCMA Board Member and Program Chair, for his leadership in planning the event, and Executive Director Anne Sawyer for her logistics planning and support.
As we celebrate this season of love, it is my sincere wish that each of you are doing work that you love. If that is not the case, I encourage you to take time to reflect on what you are doing to discover ways to love it more.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your SCMA President.
Yours in service,
This article originally appeared on PGP Mediation’s Website on January 30, 2019.
Having attended both undergraduate and law school at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, I am a Saints fan and like many, watched the game between the Saints and the Los Angeles Ram including the quite controversial pass interference and helmet to helmet “non-call” occurring with less than two minutes to go in the game: a game changer that cost the Saints a chance to go to the Super Bowl. Like all Saints fans, I believe the Saints were robbed of the win and should be the ones going to the Super Bowl, not the LA Rams.
Recently, I attended a seminar presented on ethical fading in mediation by Professor Stephanie Bell Blondell, Associate Director and Assistant Professor of Law and Practice at Strauss Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University. During her presentation she discussed the notion of moral disengagement, first espoused by Albert Bandura (Moral Disengagement: How People Do Harm and Live with Themselves, New York, Macmillan 2016)
Evidently, there are approximately eight different ways to morally disengage: moral justification, euphemistic labelling, advantageous comparison, displacement of responsibility, diffusion of responsibility, dehumanization, and moral muteness. (Id. at Prof. Blondell.)
As explained by Celia Moore:
Moral disengagement refers to eight interrelated cognitive mechanisms that allow us to sidestep our internalized moral standards and behave immorally without feeling attendant distress. In social cognitive theory, internal controls only work effectively when they are activated. The mechanisms of moral disengagement decouple our internal standards from how we construe our behavior, rendering them ineffective. As an example, imagine Sam has an internal standard that prohibits theft, but has taken a newspaper without paying for it from Starbucks. Moral disengagement mechanisms help Sam construe taking the newspaper as no big deal (distortion of consequences), believe that everyone takes small things like a paper sometimes (diffusion of responsibility), that taking the paper is tiny compared to others’ violations (advantageous comparison), or that he’s seen Starbucks employees take copies of the paper, so why shouldn’t he (displacement of responsibility)? He could think that in the grand scheme of things, being an informed citizen is more important than paying for the paper (moral justification). He could even plan on leaving the paper in the café when he was finished with it, so really, he was just “borrowing” it (euphemistic labeling). He could think that Starbucks is a large heartless corporation that won’t notice the missing paper (dehumanization), or even deserves having the paper taken from it because it charges so much for their coffee (attribution of blame). These mechanisms facilitate understanding his behavior as unrelated to his internal standard against theft. Thus, he can leave the store, paper under arm, confident in the belief that he’s done nothing wrong. (Moore, Celia. (2015). Moral disengagement. Current Opinion in Psychology.)
So- what does this have to do with the controversial “non-call”? Quite a lot. Some fans have sued the NFL over this bad call. The NFL has filed pleadings to remove the matter to federal court. In those pleadings, the NFL states that a rematch of the game due to this bad call could cost the league “more than $100 million” dollars because among other things, it would mean delaying the Super Bowl. (https://www.foxnews.com/sports/nfl-says-rams-saints-rematch-could-cost-millions.print)
The NFL’s position strikes me as a bit of moral disengagement and more specifically, moral justification and advantageous comparison; it justifies its decision to do nothing about the bad call (other than to monetarily penalize the Rams player) based on economics: money provides the ethical fading, here. If the ethical road is taken, the consequences would be severe. Among other things, there would be no Super Bowl this Sunday, causing an economic loss not only to the NFL, but to all of the fans in terms of air fare and hotel rooms as well as to the city of Atlanta and all of its hotels, restaurants, shops, and even sidewalk vendors. The economic consequences of NOT having the Super Bowl as scheduled are so huge, that ethical fading and moral disengagement is justified. No doubt, there would also be goodwill and reputation damage to the NFL (and probably some breach of contract lawsuits against the NFL by the many who agreed to render various services during the Super Bowl.) The consequences are huge, leading to a moral justification of continuing as planned and as if the “non-call” never happened.
Beware of the slippery slope of moral disengagement. It can cause you to do things you thought, you would never do!
Just something to think about.
The SCMA would like to thank everyone that came out to our first program of 2019 – “When Good Mediators Make Bad Decisions: A Look at Ethical Fading in Mediation.” Professor Stephanie Blondell, Associate Director for Dispute Resolution at the Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine School of Law, led this interactive program to over 40 attendees.
Attendees commented that it was a “sophisticated program provided in a digestible format” and “vital to building others’ faith in the ADR community.”
Thank you Professor Blondell for an energetic and enlightening session. Thank you Pepperdine for hosting the event and for your support of SCMA.
Be sure to Save the Date for our upcoming events, detailed here: https://www.scmediation.org/2019-save-the-date/
For those who weren‘t able to attend the 2018 Annual Conference, we‘ve decided to give a you a little taste of what you missed! This incredible opening plenary given by Keynote Speaker Ken Cloke on the subject matter of his latest book, “Politics, Dialogue and the Evolution of Democracy” was timely, informative and so inspiring. Attendees will not soon forget this past year‘s conference, and we thank you all for attending!
Thank you to all of the people who either joined or renewed their memberships in the month of December with SCMA!!
Presented by: Stephanie Blondell
An important, foundational approach to mediation ethics is, of course, thorough knowledge of the relevant codes, statutes, and rules in your jurisdiction. This session takes an alternate psychological approach to ethics and asks the question: How do good ethical mediators make bad ethical decisions? We will examine the range of psychological processes that lead people to engage in ethically questionable behaviors that are often inconsistent with their preferred moral code. We will explore how this ethical fading happens in the mediation profession and how to prevent it.
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Thank you to all of the people who either joined or renewed their memberships in the month of November with SCMA!!