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High willingness to escalate conflicts after Covid-19

Updated: Apr 27

As part of the qualitative study conducted in January 2023, mediators report a massive increase in the mediators' willingness to escalate. While escalation levels 1-3 were the focus of mediation before the pandemic, according to Friedrich Glasl's definition, the circumstances of the pandemic led to an intensification of the conflicts and made conflict resolution more difficult: as a rule, levels 6-8 account for 80% of the cases Inquiries affected. With the end of the pandemic, the escalation levels remained high and are only slowly declining to a lower level.

High willingness to escalate after Covid-19

This observation is corroborated by a quantitative survey carried out among 148 people. An increase in the last 3 stages (lose-lose) is attested from 2.82% to 6.95% between 2019 and 2021, while the simple cases of stage 1 of 9 are reduced by 2/3.

A development that is further reinforced in a special count regarding mediators with separation/divorce mediation: In 2019, 48.72% were still in the first 3 stages (win-win), but in 2021 there are only 37, 5%, the cases in the last 3 stages (loos-loos) double.

As mediators, we recommend that our clients seek help in resolving the dispute as early as possible. The further the escalation readiness is developed, the lower the chance of finding a common solution. In the “Loos-Loos” stage according to Glasl, the parties are already geared towards causing harm to the other party, even if they themselves are affected by it.

However, it should be noted on a positive note that the mediators who show these increased escalation levels have sought the help of mediators. The associated voluntary nature of entering into a mediation discussion is a positive signal for de-escalation.

Jürgen Dostal

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