Mediator Behavior and the Outcome of Mediation

Debra Shapiro, Rita Drieghe, Jeanne Brett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This research tests the notion that mediation is an art and thereby reflects mediators' unique interpretation of case characteristics and their intuitive resolution skills. Self‐report data were collected from 327 grievance mediation conferences. Specifically, five mediators reported whether or not they encouraged a compromise settlement, proposed a concrete settlement, encouraged the parties to discuss a compromise settlement, separated the parties during the mediation conference, and/or advised the parties in private how they thought the grievance would be resolved by an arbitrator. In addition, mediators were asked to report the duration of the conference and the type of conference outcome. The findings show that although four of the five mediators varied their behavior across conferences, all were about equally successful in settling grievances. The kind of settlements the mediators achieved, however, varied according to their behavioral choices. It is suggested that mediators choose behavioral tactics based on the kind of outcome they wish to achieve. Mediator behavior is less reactive and more proactive and systematic than popularly thought. It may thus be time to recognize that mediators are skilled practitioners of a learned craft‐not innately intuitive artists. 1985 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-114
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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