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Article
Publication date: 10 October 2016

Aran Martin

Success and failure in mediation are widely understood to determine whether a state will receive positive or negative reputation outcomes from undertaking a mediation role…

Abstract

Purpose

Success and failure in mediation are widely understood to determine whether a state will receive positive or negative reputation outcomes from undertaking a mediation role in an international conflict. Research from mediation in domestic settings contradicts this view, finding that peer mediators in school and community settings received positive mediator outcomes from undertaking their role, even when they failed to facilitate an agreement between disputants. This paper aims to test this assumption and argues that mediation success and failure are only weakly correlated with observable reputation outcomes for mediating states and proposes an alternative explanatory framework.

Design/methodology/approach

The hypothesis was inductively generated through a comparative analysis of single-state mediation attempts selected from the Uppsala Conflict Database Project MILC data set. The cases selected were South Africa’s mediation attempts in Côte d’Ivoire from 2004 to 2005 and Comoros from 2003 to 2004, and Mexico’s mediation attempts in Colombia (National Liberation Army) in 2004 and Guatemala (Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity) between 1994 and 1996. To contextualise the findings and develop the explanatory framework, South African mediation attempts in Burundi and the DRC are discussed in the closing sections of the paper.

Findings

This paper finds that mediation success and failure are only weakly correlated with mediator outcomes. Mediator outcomes are explained by the activity level of the mediating state in providing mediation services; the positive intention of the mediator to assist in resolving the conflict; the scale of the conflict mediated; the severity of spill over effects from the conflict in question; the regional importance of the conflict; the proximity of the government which a mediating state looks to develop relations with to the conflict; the importance of the mediation attempt within the peace process; the level of contestation of the mediation attempt, meaning the extent to which mediation attempts are themselves sites of regional or global international power politics; and the success or failure of the mediation attempt.

Originality/value

An explanatory framework for state mediator outcomes in which the outcome of a mediation attempt for the third-party state is not determined solely, or even primarily, by mediation success or failure bridges mediation research applying to international and domestic issue areas and provides additional information for policy makers regarding the costs and benefits of committing their state to processes of mediation in conflicts with low probabilities of resolution. This is particularly important for state policy makers, given that mediation is successful on average in only one out of every three attempts.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1993

Jacob Bercovitch and Allison Houston

This article analyzes two of the determinants of the effectiveness of the mediation process, namely the impact of different mediators and mediation behavior on mediation

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1848

Abstract

This article analyzes two of the determinants of the effectiveness of the mediation process, namely the impact of different mediators and mediation behavior on mediation outcomes in international relations. We review the literature and consider this relationship in terms of specific hypotheses concerning (1) the identity of a mediator, (2) previous interactions with the parties, (3) previous mediation attempts, and (4) the nature of mediation strategy. An original data set of 97 international disputes and 364 mediation attempts in the post‐1945 period is utilized to test our hypotheses. Multivariate analysis suggests the significance of high mediator rank, directive strategy, and close political alignment in achieving successful outcomes. We use these results to posit and test a series of causal models of mediation.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 4 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2005

Jess K. Alberts, Brian L. Heisterkamp and Robert M. McPhee

This study examines the impact of mediator style, mediation outcome, and mediator background variables on community mediation participant satisfaction and fairness…

Abstract

This study examines the impact of mediator style, mediation outcome, and mediator background variables on community mediation participant satisfaction and fairness perceptions along several dimensions. Our data were collected from a community mediation program located in a justice court in the Southwestern United States. During a twelve‐month period, 40 mediation sessions, each involving a single mediator, were videotaped. The 108 mediation participants completed surveys assessing their perceptions of and satisfaction with their specific mediation experiences. The findings indicate important impacts of mediator facilitativeness on all perceptions and of conflict resolution success on satisfaction. Mediator experience impacted perceptions of the mediator; mediator gender and law background had no impacts.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 4 February 2014

Amira Galin

The purpose of this paper is to obtain insight into court-referred mediation in the Israeli Labor Courts, by analyzing its processes and outcomes, as a function of tactics…

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1162

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to obtain insight into court-referred mediation in the Israeli Labor Courts, by analyzing its processes and outcomes, as a function of tactics used by both the disputants and the mediator.

Design/methodology/approach

Observation of 103 court-referred mediations, for each of which a detailed process and outcome were documented. Data on disputants' refusal to participate in the mediation was also collected. At the end of each mediation case, disputants were given a questionnaire in which they expressed their satisfaction with the outcome and their evaluation of the mediator's contribution.

Findings

A low rate of refusal to participate in court-referred mediation was found. Also, the higher the ratio of soft tactics to pressure tactics employed (by all parties involved) during the process, the higher the rate of agreements. Mediators use significantly more soft tactics than disputants, and are more active in using tactics. The two significant variables that predict the mediation's agreement are the ratio between soft tactics to pressure tactics used by all parties, and mediator contribution to the process.

Practical implications

The significant role of soft tactics in the process, outcome, and satisfaction of court-referred mediation may serve as a guideline for disputants and mediators.

Originality/value

This unique research, which examines the impact of tactics on court-referred mediation, may provide added and significant theoretical insight into its process and outcome, as well as a better understanding of other “hybrid” (compulsory at the beginning, voluntary at the end) mediations.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2014

Deirdre Curran

The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of mediation on two long-running collective industrial disputes in Ireland using a theoretical framework established in…

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1645

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of mediation on two long-running collective industrial disputes in Ireland using a theoretical framework established in the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a detailed qualitative analysis of two disputes. In both cases a panel of mediators was invited to intervene when the established dispute resolution structures and processes had failed and impasse had been prolonged. Each member of the mediation panels, and the lead union representative, was interviewed about their perception of the mediation process and its impact. Interview questions centred around a set of mediationOutcome Determinants” identified by Wall et al. (2001). Following Wall et al.'s proposal, Lewin's (1951) Force Field Analysis theory is applied as a theoretical lens for understanding the subtle impact of mediation in these cases.

Findings

The empirical evidence suggests that while mediation did not lead directly to settlement, it influenced the resolution of these disputes. The disputes were a-typical in that most collective disputes in Ireland are resolved through established industrial relations structures and processes, either at firm level or through State-funded agents/agencies. However, intractable disputes occur periodically and there is an on-going need of this type of specialised ad hoc mediation. The Wall et al. framework combined with Force Field Analysis theory, provide a theoretical lens through which these disputes can be analysed and understood.

Practical implications

An understanding of the nuanced impact of mediation is useful for justifying the continuation of this valuable approach. There is also some scope for predicting the likely impact of mediation in advance of engagement or at least allowing the mediators to explore the status of the Outcome Determinants related to a specific case in order to develop a tailored mediation strategy.

Originality/value

This paper is unique in that it takes an existing theoretical framework and tests its application in two case disputes. The value of the framework is thus highlighted. Further application of the framework to other dispute scenarios would facilitate its development as a tool of understanding and some limited prediction. Mediation in this type of context has not been formally researched before. Public policy and theoretical implications of the work are highlighted in the concluding section.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 36 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 28 September 2012

Elze G. Ufkes, Ellen Giebels, Sabine Otten and Karen I. van der Zee

The last decades, neighborhood mediation programs have become an increasingly popular method to deal with conflicts between neighbors. In the current paper the aim is to…

Abstract

Purpose

The last decades, neighborhood mediation programs have become an increasingly popular method to deal with conflicts between neighbors. In the current paper the aim is to propose and show that conflict asymmetry, the degree to which parties differ in perceptions of the level of conflict, may be important for the course and outcomes of neighborhood mediation.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for testing the hypotheses were based on coding all (261) files of neighbor conflicts reported to a Dutch neighborhood mediation program in the period from 2006 through 2008.

Findings

As expected, cases were more often about asymmetrical than symmetrical conflicts. Moreover, compared to symmetrical conflicts, asymmetrical conflicts less often led to a mediation session; the degree of escalation was lower; and, particularly in asymmetrical conflicts, a mere intake session already contributed to positive conflict outcomes.

Originality/value

Past research on the effectiveness of mediation programs mainly focused on cases in which a mediation session effectively took place. However, persuading parties to participate in a mediation session forms a major challenge for mediators. In fact, many cases that are signed‐up for mediation programs do not result in an actual mediation. The current study examines the entire mediation process – from intake to follow‐up.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2016

Barry Goldman, Debra L. Shapiro and Matthew Pearsall

The paper aims to investigate why organizations often opt to reject Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)-sponsored mediation of employment disputes (in contrast…

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1302

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to investigate why organizations often opt to reject Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)-sponsored mediation of employment disputes (in contrast to employees who tend to readily agree to it). It is guided by recent research associated with Shapiro and Kirkman’s (1999, 2001) theory of “anticipatory justice”, whereby (in)justice is anticipated, or expected, when people think about an event they have not yet experienced whose likely fairness they are questioning. In contrast, “organizational justice” reflects people’s retrospective assessments of how fair they have been treated to date.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper relied upon data made available by the mediation program administered by the US EEOC. The EEOC provided the names and contact information for the officially designated EEOC contacts for each dispute. The authors distributed surveys to each of these organizational representatives and received completed surveys from 492 organizations (a response rate of 85.8 per cent).

Findings

The authors tested the extent to which organizational representatives’ decision to accept or reject mediation as a means of settling discrimination claims is influenced by representatives’ expectation of more versus less fair treatments – by the opposing party as well as by the third-party mediator – during the mediation procedure. The pattern of findings in the study support all hypotheses and, thus, also the expectation-oriented theories that have guided them.

Research limitations/implications

The study relies on self-reports. However, this concern is somewhat lessened because of the salience and recency of events to the time of surveying.

Practical implications

The paper provides new insights on the need for organizations to implement rules, policies and procedures to constrain decision-maker choices consistent with organizational goals. The authors offer specific procedural proposals to reduce this organizational tendency to reject mediation.

Social implications

Employee grievances are costly to organizations in terms of finances, reputation and to the emotional climate of the organization. Moreover, it is similarly costly to employees. This study provides new insights to better understand why employees (as opposed to organizations) are almost three times more likely to elect mediation of employment disputes. As such, it offers some promising ideas to narrow that gap.

Originality/value

The paper investigates a little-studied phenomenon – the differential participation rate of employees versus organizations in EEOC-sponsored mediation.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2016

Katherine Chalkey and Martin Green

This paper aims to explore the appropriate role and approach of mediators and investigate whether mediator neutrality and party autonomy should prevail over mediators…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the appropriate role and approach of mediators and investigate whether mediator neutrality and party autonomy should prevail over mediators’ obligations to remain neutral where non-intervention would result in unfair settlements.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper arises from polarising and paradoxical opinions of the legitimacy of mediator intervention. This paper relies upon theories proposed in peer-reviewed journals, together with secondary data.

Findings

Mediator neutrality has no consistent or comprehensible meaning and is not capable of coherent application. Requirements for mediator neutrality encourage covert influencing tactics by mediators which itself threatens party autonomy. Mediator intervention ensures ethical and moral implementation of justice, removal of epistemological implications of subjective fairness and compensation for lack of pure procedural justice in the mediation process. Party autonomy requires mediators to intervene ensuring parties adequately informed of the law and equal balance of power.

Research limitations/implications

Peer-reviewed journals and secondary data give meaningful insight into perceptions, opinions and beliefs concerning mediator neutrality, party autonomy and fair outcomes. These data comprised unstructured-interviews and questionnaires containing “open-ended” questions.

Practical implications

Mediator neutrality and party autonomy are less important than fair settlements.

Social implications

Mediator neutrality should be given a contextual meaning; mediation should be more transparent affording the parties opportunity to select a particular type of mediator; transformative and narrative approaches to mediation should be further developed.

Originality/value

This paper exposes the myth of mediator neutrality – a popular concept demanded by and anticipated by the parties but which is practically impossible to deliver. It also shows the need for mediator intervention to ensure a fair outcome.

Details

International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-1450

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Article
Publication date: 4 February 2014

Allard Duursma

A rapidly expanding body of literature on international mediation, as well as the central role international mediation plays in modern-day conflict resolution, make it…

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3303

Abstract

Purpose

A rapidly expanding body of literature on international mediation, as well as the central role international mediation plays in modern-day conflict resolution, make it necessary to review and analyze this vastly evolving field of study. This study seeks to review the most significant trends and debates in the literature on international mediation, with an emphasis on the literature of the past six years.

Design/methodology/approach

Reflecting Wall et al.'s staged conceptualization of the mediation process; this review essay is divided in three sections that cover the antecedents of mediation, possible mediation approaches, and the outcomes these approaches yield – making it possible to review and analyze the diverse sets of theories within the field of mediation, as well the various methodological approaches employed to test these theories.

Findings

Much research to date has focused on how international mediation in armed conflicts affects the likelihood of reaching a negotiated agreement, while other possible outcomes of mediation have been understudied. Accordingly, research needs to be done on the effects of mediation attempts that did not lead to a peace agreement, as well as the accumulative effect of peace agreements. Furthermore, the relation between negative peace and mediation has been studied extensively, but how mediation affects the degree of positive peace has received scant scholarly attention. Finally, the interlinkages between the different phases of the mediation process need to be examined more extensively.

Originality/value

This review identifies the state of the art knowledge concerning the international mediation process, which allows peacemakers to make informed decisions in order to prevent and resolve armed conflict in the twenty-first century.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2015

Peter T. Coleman, Katharina G. Kugler, Kyong Mazzaro, Christianna Gozzi, Nora El Zokm and Kenneth Kressel

Research on conflict mediation presents a scattered, piecemeal understanding of what determines mediators’ strategies and tactics and ultimately what constitutes…

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1405

Abstract

Purpose

Research on conflict mediation presents a scattered, piecemeal understanding of what determines mediators’ strategies and tactics and ultimately what constitutes successful mediation. This paper presents research on developing a unifying framework – the situated model of mediation – that identifies and integrates the most basic dimensions of mediation situations. These dimensions combine to determine differences in mediator’s strategies that in turn influence mediation processes and outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach used by this paper was twofold. First, the existing empirical literature was reviewed on factors that influence mediator’s behaviors. Based on the findings of this review, a survey study was conducted with experienced mediators to determine the most fundamental dimensions of mediation situations affecting mediators’ behaviors and mediation processes and outcomes. The data were analyzed through exploratory factor analysis and regression analysis.

Findings

The results of the study show that four of the most fundamental dimensions of mediation situations include: low vs high intensity of the conflict, cooperative vs competitive relationship between the parties, tight vs flexible context and overt vs covert processes and issues. Each of these factors was found to independently predict differences in mediators’ behaviors and perceptions of processes and outcomes. These dimensions are then combined to constitute the basic dimensions of the situated model of mediation.

Originality/value

The situated model of mediation is both heuristic and generative, and it shows how a minimal number of factors are sufficient to capture the complexity of conflict mediation in a wide range of contexts.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

Keywords

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