The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive review of the neutrality literature and suggests areas ripe for future research.
The authors reviewed journal articles on the topic of neutrality in mediation, which included theoretical viewpoints and empirical research on practicing mediators’ understanding of neutrality.
The review of literature revealed that party perspectives are largely missing from current neutrality literature. Two potential concepts emerged from the authors' review of literature that could potentially influence parties’ attributions of mediator neutrality: symmetry and transparency. Symmetry refers to the equal treatment of parties, whereas transparency refers to providing an explanation of past or future behavior. Research on whether symmetry and transparency are key influences on party assessment of mediator neutrality could make a significant contribution to the field.
The authors call on researchers with diverse methodological perspectives to examine, from the party’s perspective, important questions regarding the meaning of neutrality, mediator strategies to successfully enact neutrality and the impact of neutrality on mediation outcomes.
Neutrality is arguably one of the most important concepts to the mediation field. Despite its significance to the field, only limited research has been conducted to better understand how neutrality is enacted in practice. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the literature and provides a launching point for future research.
The authors wish to thank Dr R. Kelly Aune and Dr David B. Chandler for helpful edits of an earlier draft of this paper.
Szejda Fehrenbach, K. and S. Ebesu Hubbard, A. (2014), "Future directions in neutrality research: symmetry and transparency", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 226-242. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-10-2012-0076Download as .RIS
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