THE MANY MEANINGS OF MEDIATION:  Cheryl A. Picard

THE MANY MEANINGS OF MEDIATION:  Cheryl A. Picard
THE MANY MEANINGS OF MEDIATION:
A SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY OF MEDIATION IN CANADA
Cheryl A. Picard
Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario
August 2000
 Cheryl A. Picard, 2000
ii
ABSTRACT
This study provides a snapshot of how mediation is conceptualized in the
late 1990’s by those who both work as mediators and train others to mediate. It
depicts mediation as a dynamic, complex and evolving work form. Differences in
understandings about the nature of mediation were found to be linked to the
gender of the mediator, their educational background, the dispute sector in which
they mediate, and when they began to practice as a mediator. The study shows
considerable diversity of understanding about the work of a mediator. It also found
considerable difference of opinion on how the practice of mediation should be
organized, and concerns over what is taking place within in the field. One of the
strongest of these concerns is that mediation will take on a more legalistic form
with the recent influx from the legal profession. The fear is that this will dilute the
focus of mediation from its original transformative goals to more evaluative and
business-like ends.
The primary task of this study was to unmask the richness and complexities
of mediation that have been lost in bipolar views of “best practice”. The study was
exploratory, qualitative and based on grounded theory. It drew from interpretive
sociology to legitimate its efforts to obtain knowledge about the nature of mediation
by revealing how mediators understand the work they do. An in-depth analysis of
how respondents conceptualize their role, their style and their orientation to
mediation was undertaken. The results of this analysis were depicted on a matrix
table to examine clusters of mediation traits. The table shows that various
iii
mediation traits interact to form at least four interrelated patterns of mediation
meanings. Finding more than two sets of meanings underlies one of the study’s
important insights – that dichotomous modeling of mediation approaches
presented in the extant literature is not the way mediators think about their work.
As an outgrowth of this research an analytical model from which to engage and
study interacting patterns of meanings emerges. This heuristic “tool” is not a rigid
concept but is imagined as an emerging and dynamic construct that can do more
than examine the mediation traits and interacting patterns of meaning found in this
study. It can also be used to find traits that remain to be discovered in future
studies.
Two other insights emerged from this study. First, mediators do not share a
common understanding of the language they use. To illustrate, most mediators
define their role as facilitative, however, in some instances “facilitative” was linked
to the management of process, in others it was about enhancing communication
between the parties, and in still others it had to do with resolving the dispute.
Second, as new mediators enter the field and mediation becomes institutionalized,
the reasons individuals are attracted to work as mediators appears to be shifting
from visions of social transformation to job satisfaction and personal growth.
The study concludes with recommendations for further research,
suggestions for policy considerations and comments on the contribution to the
sociology of professions.
iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract
Acknowledgments
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Diagrams
iii
v
vi
x
xiii
Chapter 1. THE MANY WAYS OF MEDIATION
Introduction
I. An Overview of Mediation
A Growing Social Trend
The Plurality of Definition
The Regulation of Mediation
1
7
7
11
13
II. An Overview of The Study
Research Question
Design
The Sample
Data Collection
Analysis
Validity and Reliability
Conclusion
15
15
15
17
19
22
23
25
Chapter 2. INTRODUCTION TO THE LITERATURE ON MEDIATION
Introduction
I. The Rise of Mediation
Defining Mediation
Criticisms of Mediation
28
30
33
36
II. Contrasting Mediation Approaches
i) The Bargaining versus Therapeutic Approach
ii) The Problem-Solving versus Transformative Approach
iii) The Settlement versus Communicative Approach
iv) The Evaluative versus Facilitative Approach
v) The Social Norms Approach
37
40
42
44
45
49
III. Taking Context into Account
Gender as a Contextual Influence
Conclusion
50
53
57
v
Chapter 3. THE EMERGENCE OF MEDIATION AS A PROFESSION
Introduction
I. Sociological Theories of Professions
The Regulation of Mediation
61
62
72
II. Respondents’ Views about Regulating Mediation
Addressing Standards and Accreditation
Concerns about the Field
Conclusion
81
86
89
97
Chapter 4. PROFILING MEDIATION TRAINER-PRACTITIONERS IN CANADA
Introduction
I. Personal Demographics
Age, Gender and Background
Provincial Breakdown
Dispute Sectors
Education, Mediation Training and Experience
Work Status
Fees
100
103
103
105
107
111
114
117
II. Incentives to Mediate
A. Initial Attraction to Mediation
Social Change and Individual Empowerment
Job Satisfaction and Personal Growth
Educational Background
Dispute Sector
Gender
Experience
122
124
125
126
127
128
129
129
B. Sustaining a Mediators Interest in Mediation
Conclusion
133
137
Chapter 5. COMMON LANGUAGE, DIFFERENT MEANING
Introduction
I. Conceptualizing the Mediator Role
Mediator as Facilitator
The “Facilitator” Role and Contextual Factors
The “Facilitator” Role and Clusters of Contextual
Factors
140
143
145
149
152
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II. Outcome and No-Outcome Meanings
Outcome and No-Outcome Meanings and the
“Facilitator” Role
Outcome and No-Outcome Meanings and Contextual
Factors
155
156
III. Common Words Different Meanings
Conclusion
161
166
158
Chapter 6. MEDIATION STYLES
Introduction
I. Differentiating Mediation Styles
The Facilitative Style
The Problem-Solving Style
The Relational Style
Connecting Style and Contextual Factors
168
171
172
175
176
178
II. The Use of Caucus
Frequency of Caucus, Role and Style
Reasons for Calling a Caucus and Contextual Factors
Conclusion
181
182
185
188
Chapter 7. A FRAMEWORK FOR UNDERSTANDING MEDIATION
Introduction
I. An Integrative Framework for Understanding Mediation
Defining the Framework
190
194
195
II. Connecting Patterns of Meaning to Contextual Factors
Gender
Educational Background
Dispute Sector
Length of Time Mediating
Patterns of Meaning, Clusters of Factors and Experience
Conclusion
198
199
200
202
204
206
209
Chapter 8. CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH
Introduction
I. Major Insights and Contributions to Human Knowledge
II. Implications for Policy and Advancement of the Field
III. Further Research
211
212
224
230
vii
IV. Limitations of the Study
Conclusion
242
244
Bibliography
246
Appendices
A. Data collection instrument
B. Variable-Ordered Matrix Table
C. Letters to Respondents
261
282
291
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LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: page 39
Four Mediation Classification Schemes
Table 2: page 84
Views on Licensing, Years and Gender
Table 3: page 84
Views on Licensing, Years and Educational Background
Table 4: page 90
Concerns of Respondents and Gender
Table 5: page 91
Concerns of Respondents and Dispute Sector
Table 6: page 104
Age Groups
Table 7: page 104
Age Groups and Educational Background
Table 8: page 106
Questionnaire Distribution and Return by Province
Table 9: page 109
Dispute Sector and Gender
Table 10: page 111
Dispute Sector and Province
Table 11: page 112
Educational Background and Gender
Table 12: page115
Monthly Mediations and Dispute Sector
Table 13: page 118
Hourly Mediation Rates
Table 14: page119
Hourly Mediation Rates and Educational Background
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Table 15: page 121
Hourly Mediation Rates, Dispute Sector and Gender
Table 16: page 123
Reasons Respondents Were Attracted to Become Mediators
Table 17: page 130
Attractions to Mediate and Years Mediating
Table 18: page 132
Attraction to Mediate, Experience and Educational Background
Table 19: page 150
Facilitator Role and Dispute Sector
Table 20: page 151
Facilitator Role and Educational Background
Table 21: page 153
What Mediators Facilitate, Dispute Sector, Experience and Gender
Table 22: page 174
Contrasting the Facilitative “Style” with the Facilitative “Role”
Table 23 page 179
Gender and Mediation Style
Table 24 page 180
Mediators Style, Dispute Sector, Experience and Gender
Table 25 page 183
Frequency of Caucus by Clusters
Table 26 page 184
Mediator Style and Frequency of Caucus
Table 27 page 187
Reasons for Calling a Caucus
Table 28 page 200
Patterns of Meaning, Educational Background and Gender
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Table 29 page 201
Summary: Patterns of Meaning, Educational Background, Gender
Table 30 page 202
Summary: Patterns of Meaning, Dispute Sector, and Gender
Table 31 page 204
Patterns of Meaning, Dispute Sector and Gender
Table 32 page 204
Length of Time Mediating
Table 33 page 206
Patterns of Meaning by Clusters of Factors
xi
LIST OF DIAGRAMS
Diagram 1: page 108
Distribution by Dispute Sectors
Diagram 2: page 110
Gender and Educational Background
Diagram 3: page 113
Background and Years as a Practicing Mediator
Diagram 4: page 120
Mediation Fees and Gender
Diagram 5: page 131
Reasons to Mediate, Gender and Experience
Diagram 6: page 136
Factors that Sustain a Mediator’s Interest
Diagram 7: page 148
What Mediators “Facilitate”
Diagram 8: page 149
Facilitator Role and Gender
Diagram 9: page 152
Facilitator Role and Experience
Diagram 10: page 156
Outcome and No-Outcome Meanings
Diagram 11: page 178
Mediation Styles
Diagram 12: page 198
Patterns of Meanings
Diagram 13: page 199
Patterns of Meanings and Gender
Chapter One
The Many Ways of Mediation
Introduction
Mediation has become a powerful tool for dispute resolution. This
dissertation examines mediation as a sociological phenomenon. The study
is based on the belief that the use of mediation is greatly expanding, and on
the assumption that the nature of mediation is changing as a result of this
growth. It argues that it is no longer sufficient to construct mediation as if it
were a monolithic process, nor mediators as if they were a homogeneous
group. Nor is it sufficient to examine understandings of mediation practice in
dichotomous fashions. Instead, it holds that one way to further understand
the changing form of mediation is to examine, in an integrated way, the ways
mediators conceptualize and give meaning to their work, and take into
consideration the ways contextual factors impact on these understandings.
The study undertaken profiles mediation trainer-practitioners in the late
1990’s. The design of the research was emergent, inductive and based on
grounded theory1. It explores how individuals who work both as mediators
and mediation trainers understand their work through an examination of how
they describe their role, orientation and style of mediation. This study also
examines the relationship between various contextual factors and differences
1
For a discussion of grounded theory see Glaser, B, and Strauss, A., The Discovery of Grounded
Theory: Strategies of Qualitative Research. Chicago: Aldine, 1967
2
in how mediation practices are conceptualized. Four key contextual variables
have been used to investigate the data: 1) gender; 2) the dispute sector in
which an individual works; 3) an individual’s educational background; and, 4)
when an individual began working as a mediator. These four factors
emerged because they are frequent topics of inquiry in the conflict and
sociological literature and because they are linked to mediators’ ideas about
what they are doing in mediation.
This research gives support to some of the ideas expressed in extant
dichotomous constructions of mediation2. It also shows that these depictions
are limited because different combinations of sets of traits were found to exist
in any one mediator’s understanding of mediation. These various traits were
found to interact in different ways giving rise to at least four different patterns
of mediation meanings. One of the conclusions to be drawn from this finding
is that as the field has developed, the propensity of mediators to use
concepts from different sets of meanings about mediation has also increased.
This suggests that more complex analytical distinctions are needed to
examine how mediation is currently conceptualized. One of the contributions
of this research is to propose a broader analytical framework for
understanding mediation.
2
I discuss a number of these typologies in Chapter 2, in particular the transformative and problemsolving dichotomy of Bush and Folger (1994); the bargaining and therapeutic model of Silbey and
Merry, (1986); the evaluative and facilitative styles of Riskin (1996), and Kolb’s (1994)
communicative and settlement approaches.
3
Why is a study such as this important? Perhaps one of the most
pressing reasons is that as mediation becomes further institutionalized,
knowing how those who currently work as mediators conceptualize mediation
may help uncover and, if necessary, protect essential and visionary elements
of mediation. In fact, some of the early visions are thought to already be in
jeopardy (Chapter 2). Furthermore, examination of the “professionalization”
of other occupations might lead to the prediction that mediation is on its way
to becoming elitist (Larson, 1977; Ritzer, 1986). And, it gives cause to
question whether current day mediation can only perpetuate the status quo
instead of changing it (Johnson, 1972; Klegon, 1978). These possibilities are
criticisms that were directed at the legal system that mediation was supposed
to improve. As a “profession in the making” (Scimecca, 1991; Pirie, 1994;
Picard, 1994), sociological theories of professions would lead us to expect
that these and other complex activities are going on within the field.
One of these activities is an increasing call to regulate who can and
cannot mediate. There are those who believe it untimely to regulate
mediation. For one reason, its nature and impact in society are not fully
understood. For another, they fear that limiting who can mediate may slow or
even halt the expansion of mediation into areas where innovative dispute
resolution is needed. While one of the main justifications of regulation is to
protect consumers from ill-equipped charlatans who might seize the
opportunity to “hang their shingle” prematurely, sociological theories of
4
professionalization would have us question how this should be done. In
particular they question whether overly restrictive regulation stifle innovation
and push a profession towards exclusivity and elitism. A question that
today’s mediators have to wrestle with is whether governance may in fact be
premature. This study provides a number of insights about how mediation is
currently conceptualized that may be helpful in these deliberations.
Another value of this study lies in the opportunity to bring out the
richness and complexity of mediation which have been masked by
dichotomous debates about the right and best model of practice.
Furthermore, how Canadian mediators view their work may be different than
what we know about mediation practices in other countries. The data
collected will be useful should a comparative study of mediation be
undertaken. Further still, this study provides baseline data on the meaning of
mediation by Canadian practitioners and trainers. Data from which to map
the present, examine the past, and help guide the future. The presence of a
fuller understanding of this social phenomenon will help inform those who
work as mediators, those who are users of mediation, and those responsible
for the setting of mediation policy and research.
Two key questions help guide this research. What does mediation
mean to the people who mediate in Canada? And two, how do these
meanings vary? The data also provides a “snapshot” of mediators in the late
5
1990’s and insight into how they view the occupation in which they work. All
of the data analyzed in this dissertation were collected through self-report.
Examination was based on the method of grounded theory, which essentially
involved a “bottom-up” analysis of the data. The purpose was to gain a fresh
slant on what is known about mediation by discovering new meanings and
generating new theories. Many of the hypothesis generated from this study
offer new insights and challenge existing theories.
This research draws from the interpretive tradition, which highlights
social actors’ meanings and interpretations. As a sociological approach, it
aims to reveal what the social “agent or agents themselves know, and apply,
in the constitution of their activities” (Giddens, 1993:13). The questions
posed in this study find legitimacy in a number of theories. First, that
intersubjective meaning and symbolizing activities are constitutive of social
life (Weber, 1962). Second, that how we come to describe and account for
our world is socially constructed (Gergen and Davis, 1985). Third, that
conceptual constructions of action both shape and are shaped by social
practice (Bourdieu, 1990). And fourth, that the concepts we hold enter
constitutively into what we do (Giddens, 1993). Thus, how a mediator
understands and gives meaning to his or her work is a sociologically
significant means of obtaining insight into the nature of mediation.
6
Interpretive theorists argue for the uniqueness of human action
through a number of positions. One of these positions is that humans act
toward things on the basis of the meanings that things have for them; second,
that meanings arise out of the social interaction that one has with others; and
third, that meanings are handled and modified through an interpretive process
(Collins, 1985:282).
Another approach is constructionist theory, which resonates with the
interpretive emphasis on the world of experience as it is lived, felt and
undergone by social actors. Where they differ is with their view that truth and
knowledge are created not discovered 3. Social constructionists examine the
process of knowledge construction by attending to the social constructions of
meaning and knowledge rather than cognitive processes (Gergen, and Davis,
1986). Social constructionism is predicated on the assumption that “the
terms by which the world is understood are social artifacts, products of
historically situated interchanges among people” (Denzin and Lincoln,
1994:127).
Interpretive theory has helped to shape the questions posed in this
inquiry, as well as its methods. The view of social science as reflexive
3
Social constructionist theorists advocate that “knowledge is not in the environment or exclusively in
the minds of single individuals, but rather in the process of social exchange and linguistic construction
which constrain personal categories of understanding” (Lyddon, 1991:266).
7
supports the notion that social action is not simply a physical act - the
practical theorizing of people is a “vital element whereby conduct is
constituted or made to happen” (Giddens, 1993:59). Thus, when mediators
make statements about their actions these understandings can be considered
an active personal and social construction of mediation.
I. An Overview of Mediation
A Growing Social Trend
The settlement of disputes is an integral part of any society. How
disputes are resolved can range from actions where “might makes right”
including war, dueling and other physical determinants, to inaction caused by
avoidance and denial. In between these two extremes are many possibilities
where one can appeal to agreed upon social rules and standards usually
overseen by a third party. Mediation is one of these possibilities.
In the past, various dispute resolution methods have enjoyed
prominence. In modern society the settlement of disputes has mostly been
handled through the courts. This reliance, some would suggest over reliance,
on the adversarial system created a “litigation explosion”. To counter this
problem, alternative and private settlement procedures began to be piloted in
Canada in the mid 1970’s. Similar activities had been taking place in the
United States for almost a decade before this in reaction to increasing civil
rights disputes and protests against the Vietnam War. These alternative
8
procedures were to produce more humane, grass roots and lasting
resolutions. The consensual nature of the process and the non-imposition of
outcomes were what distinguished them from more traditional dispute
resolution processes.
Many people see the increased use of informal alternative dispute
resolution processes as a great step forward 4. Empirically, however, the
extent of this progress is still uncertain. Relatively few empirical studies on
mediation have been conducted. In fact, up until very recently mediation was
considered more an art than a science where intuitive skills were valued over
scientific inquiry (Moore, 1986). The very few Canadian studies which have
been conducted focus on who is involved in dispute resolution activities
(Department of Justice, 1995), on rates of compliance (Umbreit, 1995), and
on levels of satisfaction (Mcfarlane, 1995). None examine the meaning of
mediation. Moreover, our understanding of third party procedures is in its
infancy (Ross, 1989; Kressel and Pruitt, 1989; Tyler, 1989; Bush and Folger,
1994; Kolb, 1994; Riskin, 1996). Furthering our knowledge about mediation
is a goal of this dissertation. More specifically, it provides a “snapshot” of
those working as mediators, why they do this work, and the social meaning
they attribute to mediation.
4
The value of ADR is not universally agreed upon. Some see ADR as disempowering for
marginalized groups (Jaffe, 1983), a form of state control (Abel, 1982; Hofrichter, 1983), and a means
of silencing of legitimate social conflict (Nader, 1991).
9
Today, alternative dispute resolution processes (ADR), especially
mediation, have become commonplace responses to the handling of many
social conflicts. In fact a growing number of jurisdictions now mandate the
use of mediation5. Individuals from a range of occupations have responded
to the demand for non-adversarial dispute resolution services. Where once
mediators experienced isolation in their work, today practitioners are found in
most sectors of Canadian society. In 1995, more than five thousand dispute
resolution professionals worked in Canada (Department of Justice, 1995).
This figure is no doubt much larger today. Mainstreaming and
institutionalization have, however, reshaped the profile of those who work as
mediators. Most notable is the shift from individuals who were at one time
primarily community-based and volunteered their services, to mediators who
work in private practice and are more business-oriented. This transition is
said to be consistent with the changing form of professions in contemporary
industrial societies (Brint, 1994).
Other significant changes are taking place. Contemporary mediators
appear as occupied with obtaining legitimization through professional status 6
5
In June of 1997, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General proposed a new rule (Rule 78) to
provide for the mandatory mediation of most civil actions and applications.
6
See, Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR), Qualifying Neutrals: The Basic
Principles: Report of the SPIDR Commission on Qualifications (Washington, D.C.: National Institute
for Dispute Resolution, 1989); Academy of Family Mediators, "Membership Standards," undated, in
Mediation Development Association of British Columbia, Brief on Standards and Ethics for Mediators
Presented to the Attorney General of British Columbia (Victoria, B.C.: Ministry of Attorney General,
10
as with seeking social justice. Virtues once attributed to mediation are now
said to be myths, especially claims of neutrality and autonomy (Silbey, 1993).
Once associated with a discourse of empowerment and transformation, the
goals for mediation today are often cost-effectiveness, timeliness, and
accountability. In fact, the Ontario Court of Justice Civil Justice Review,
Supplemental and Final Report (1996) identified the above benchmarks as
principles for a modern civil justice system. The drive to achieve status as a
professional is perhaps most evident in conflict resolution listserve 7
conversations on the Internet where subscribers regularly raise the need for
regulation and standardization of mediation services in order to better market
their services and charge higher fees. In some conversations mediators have
been encouraged not to volunteer their services for fear that it will “de-value”
the work of a mediator. Other conversations have encouraged the
establishment of an independent college of mediators to regulate mediation.
Another posting spoke of a trade association known as the Alliance for the
Advancement of Professional Mediation, whose sole purpose is to market the
“profession” and the services of its members.
It seems that early visions of social transformation may be being
displaced by more practical and state-serving goals of case management.
1989); Family Mediation Canada, Code of Professional Conduct (Guelph, Ontario: Family Mediation
Canada, 1986); and Mediation Development Association of British Columbia, Brief on Standards and
Ethics for Mediators, paper presented to the Attorney General of British Columbia (Victoria. B.C.:
Ministry of Attorney General, 1989).
7
For example, mediate-Canada, Cornel Law School dispute resolution, and mediate.com listservs.
11
Current practice seems to pay less attention to the parties in dispute and the
structural causes of social conflict arising from issues of class, ethnicity,
gender and culture. Is mediation, once a tool for social transformation, being
colonized by the judicial needs of the state? This possibility was first raised in
the 1980’s by those who, drawing upon the Gramscian notion of hegemony,
argued that government sponsored dispute resolution programs served to
create more institutions of political control than empowering alternatives8. This
research aims to deepen our awareness of the changing form of mediation.
The Plurality of Definition
The ever-increasing numbers of divergent models that populate the
mediation landscape leave little doubt that the use of mediation is expanding,
and changing. Many factors have led to a plurality of definitions for
mediation. For example, economic, political, legal and social factors lead
people to define mediation from particular vantage points oftentimes creating
competing discourses. Different users use mediation in different senses and
for different purposes. In some instances mediation practitioners take a micro
perspective and view mediation as a pragmatic problem-solving process
(Moore, 1986). Others associate mediation with macro political functions
believing that it can transform oppressive social structures (Warhaftig, 1982).
8
See Richard Abel, The Politics of Informal Justice, 1982; Richard Hofrichter, Neighbourhood Justice
in Capitalist Society: The Expansion of the Informal State. 1983; Roger Matthews, Informal Justice,
1988; and, Laura Nader, “Harmony Models and the Construction of Law”, 1991:41-59.
12
Furthermore, those who work as mediators differ in their personal
characteristics, their backgrounds, their training, and their operational
philosophies. As a consequence of this growth many long-held views of
mediation are being challenged.
At this point in time mediation does not have a coherent set of core
features. This may be due, in part, to the fact that mediators ground their
approach to mediation in ideological views of what should happen and why.
In many instances their ideologies contradict each other. Two ideologies
currently dominate the mediation discourse -- individualistic and relational.
An individualist view, upon which the settlement approach is based, sees the
world as made up of separate beings of equal worth, but different needs,
whose human nature it is to seek satisfaction of their needs and desires. A
relational framework, views the world as made up of persons with diverse
needs and desires but who possess a common form of consciousness that
connects them to each other. Transformative models of mediation are based
on this ideology (Bush and Folger, 1994).
Unfortunately, attempts to bring order to the diversity and ambiguity of
what constitutes mediation have given rise to a conceptualization that posits
mediation approaches in dichotomous positions. Two tensions pervade the
mediation community as a result of this dualistic visioning. The first tension is
ideological and divides mediation into either transformative social justice
13
processes or pragmatic problem-solving processes. The second tension
locates mediation on the one hand as a grass-roots movement, and on the
other as a professional activity. This juxtaposition and positioning of one
view against another is problematic as it masks the diversity and complexities
of mediation. It draws attention from important contextual influences within
mediation and often lead to debates about which form is best. This
dissertation is an attempt to bring to the fore the need for a more integrative
view of mediation. A view that takes into account the contextual factors
surrounding the conflict situation and the plurality of meanings given to
mediation.
The Regulation of Mediation
One of the major tensions within the field of mediation is related to
“professionalizing” the work of a mediator. The press for standards began to
take hold in the late 1980’s with the work of the Society of Professionals in
Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) Commission on Qualifications 9. Since then,
several Canadian organizations have developed criteria to certify mediators,
namely Family Mediation Canada and the Arbitration and Mediation Institute of
Canada. They, along with other dispute resolution organizations and
government officials, have been meeting to discuss the feasibility of
standardized mediation certification programs for the whole of Canada.
9
See the SPIDR report, Qualifying Neutrals: The Basic Principles: Report of the SPIDR Commission
on Qualifications, 1989.
14
This trend toward regulation raises many issues. Some say that failing
to adopt standards might adversely affect consumers (Honeyman, 1990).
Others argue that standards will hamper the development of the field (Edelman,
1986). Still others, wonder if the setting of qualifications will marginalize
mediation as a progressive dispute resolution process in Western society (Pirie,
1994). The fear that mediation may become elitist and exclusive has some
justification. In the past, occupations seeking professionalization sought to
create a monopoly (Friedson, 1971). This desire to move from an
occupation to a profession is also a feature of the occupational structure of
advanced institutionalized societies (Larson, 1977). The right to claim expert
knowledge and lay claim over areas of work is a debate that occupies more
than the mediation community. Some suggest that the drive to become a
profession is a political process to gain power (Johnson, 1972) and control of
the market (Torstendahl and Burrage, 1990). Others see it as a battle over
jurisdictional work claims (Abbott, 1988). Still others view professionalization
as a more general process of formal rationalization (Murphy, 1990).
Strong arguments have been raised in favour of heightening
knowledge about the nature and impact of mediation before regulating this
social activity. Some have even criticized the value of becoming a
“profession”. Restrictions continue to be placed, however, on who can and
cannot mediate in Canada and elsewhere. Perhaps the direction mediation is
15
taking in this regard is inevitable in the long run. If so, systematic and
empirical investigation of mediation should be a vital next step before
embarking further with this trend.
II. An Overview of the Study
Research Question
The question of this study is simply - what does mediation mean to the
people who mediate in Canada, and how do these meanings vary? To
answer this question, how mediation trainer-practitioners conceptualize their
work is examined. The aim of this investigation is to unmask the richness and
complexities of mediation by discovering the meaning of mediation for
individuals who both work as mediators and teach others to work as
mediators. Increased understanding of the contextual nature of mediation is
of importance given that mediation is expanding, becoming institutionalized,
and as many would have it, emerging as a new profession.
Design
Triangulation is a strength of the study design. Triangulation is a
method whereby different methods are used to analyze the same data. The
first triangulation strategy involved the combination of qualitative and
quantitative methods to strengthen validity, provide richer detail, and initiate
new understandings. The second triangulation strategy involved the
triangulation of instruments. This included conducting personal interviews
16
and a pilot written questionnaire which were then used to construct the final
written survey instrument mailed to trainer-practitioners from across Canada.
The Department of Justice study (1995) and the study of family mediators by
Edward Kruk (1998) were used as secondary sources of data to question and
make comparisons of the data.
A number of assumptions and questions helped guide the construction
of this study and steps of research. The first assumption is that humans map
courses of action based on their interpretation of themselves and the things
around them. Another assumption is that all actors do not experience the
world in the same way. Three broad questions are explored. How do those
who practice and teach mediation understand mediation? How is mediation
changing as a result of its growth and institutionalization? And, how do
internal and external contexts impact upon mediators’ understanding of
mediation and conceptualization of their mediation approach.
Concept-related questions were systematically asked of the data.
Contextual factors including the gender 10 of a mediator, his or her educational
background, experience and the dispute sector in which they primarily work
were examined to see how they act upon a mediator’s understanding of
mediation. How does the dispute sector in which he or she mediates, or, the
10
I use the term gender rather than sex to acknowledge the complex and reciprocal nature of the
biological and social elements of men’s and women’s experience.
17
length of time he or she has been mediating impact on their conceptualization
of mediation? How similar or varied are these understandings? How
consistent are these conceptualizations within particular groups of mediators,
or even, within individuals themselves?
The Sample
The population that was studied were people who described
themselves as mediators who also train others to mediate. Those sent
questionnaires were identified from eight unduplicated directories. These
sources included: 1) the Network: Interaction for Conflict Resolution 1997
membership list; 2) a 1996 list compiled by Family Mediation Canada; 3) a list
of names suggested by the Canadian Foundation for Dispute Resolution; 4)
the 1997 Arbitration and Mediation Institute of Ontario Directory of Members;
5) the Ontario Bar Association 1996 list of ADR practitioners; 6) the Alberta
Arbitration and Mediation Society 1997 Directory; 7) the Mediation
Development Association of British Columbia11; and 8) data contained in the
1995 Department of Justice report entitled, Dispute Resolution in Canada: A
Survey of Activities and Services.
Any individual who self-identified as a mediation trainer and
practitioner was included in the mail out. Having multiple perspectives helped
11
The BC Mediation Association would not release the names of its members, however, they did agree
to mail out the survey to the 13 members they knew to be both mediators and trainers.
18
to protect against privileging any one voice. In the event that anyone
receiving the mail-out package was not both a trainer and a practicing
mediator, a brightly colored sheet of paper was included asking them to
indicate this by returning the form. In April, a reminder letter was sent to
those who had not yet responded (Appendix C). This was followed up in May
by a second reminder letter and a full questionnaire package. In August, a
thank you letter was sent to all those who had completed the questionnaire.
Individuals who said they currently were working as both mediators
and trainers of mediators were selected to form the sample for a number of
reasons. First, it was believed they would likely have more actual mediation
experience than non-trainer practitioners. Second, that they would be well
informed as a result of having read books and other writings on the theory
and practice of mediation. Third, that they would have an in-depth
understanding of the principles of mediation given their role as teachers. And
fourth, that as a group they would provide a rich and varied description of
mediation to describe their work. A further reason for selecting mediation
trainers as the subjects of this study was that there does not appear to be
other research in which they are the population being investigated. In fact,
another of the strengths of this study is the uniqueness of the sample. The
insights generated from this group of subjects will shed light on current
understandings of the practices and principles of mediation. In addition, it
provides indicators about the future direction of mediation.
19
The largest proportion of the sample came from Ontario (43%),
followed by British Columbia (20%) and Alberta (17%). A much smaller
number of respondents came from Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan,
Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia.
Caution is to be given when generalizing to the broader national
mediation community for three reasons. First, the sample is relatively small
when compared to the number of known dispute resolution practitioners 12.
Second, respondents are not proportionately dispersed across the country,
and there is little francophone “voice”13. And third, not all mediators are
trainers. The requirement to be both a practicing mediator and a practicing
trainer in order to be included in the sample may set them apart from the
general mediation population. Based on the profiles of mediators from other
Canadian studies (Kruk, 1997; Department of Justice, 1995) there does
appear to be similarity between the two groups.
Data Collection
Most of the data in this study were collected through a lengthy,
eighteen page, written questionnaire. This instrument was designed from two
previous smaller data collection activities. The first activity involved
12
In 1995, a database of more than 5000 names of individuals, agencies, organizations and groups who
were engaged in dispute resolution work was compiled by the Network: Interaction for Conflict
Resolution and the Department of Justice.
13
It was reported, in an article published in the Spring of 1999 by the Network, that in 1997 there were
just under 800 accredited mediators in Quebec.
20
conducting personal interviews with six well-known Canadian mediators and
trainers. Each interview was recorded and transcribed and the central
elements from each interview identified. As a result of these oral descriptions,
open and closed-ended questions, which focused more on the theory and
practice of mediation and less on the training of mediators, along with short
vignettes, were built into the next schedule of questions. The second data
collection activity involved constructing a pilot written questionnaire which
was distributed to ten individuals - six mediation trainers and practitioners and
four researchers who were also practicing mediators. Subjects from different
dispute resolution sectors were sought to enhance the data gathered in the
first stage. Each individual was asked to complete the instrument and give
feedback on the construction and nature of the questions. The final data
collection instrument contained eighty-five open-ended, closed, and essay
type questions (Appendix A). The questions were organized into four
sections. Sections A and D were designed to gather demographic and
quantitative information about the respondents, their work as mediators and
their work as mediation trainers. Section B included a series of largely openended questions intended to gather qualitative descriptions of the subjects’
understanding of the process of mediation, their role as mediators, their style
of mediation and their orientation or ideology of mediation. Five of the
questions in this section were conflict vignettes where respondents were
asked to describe what they would do in particular conflict situations, and
why. Section C was designed to solicit respondents’ views on regulating the
21
field of mediation, the benefits of mediation, and changes they see taking
place in the field. The use of many open-ended questions enabled the
examination of the language used by mediation leaders. As shown in the
data analysis chapters (Chapters 4, 5 and 6), capturing their understanding of
their “lived experience” as mediators provides new insights into the plurality of
mediation and created new categories of meaning.
In March of 1998, three hundred and seventy (370) questionnaires,
with return, postage paid envelopes, were mailed to individuals who selfidentified as mediation trainers and practitioners 14. Thirty-one packages were
returned with incorrect addresses resulting in three hundred and thirty nine
(339) viable addresses 15. Eighty-eight (88) completed and eligible surveys
were returned, along with eighty-seven (87) forms indicating that individuals
were not eligible to complete the questionnaire as they were not both
practicing as mediators and training others to mediate 16. This results in an
overall return rate of fifty-two percent and a questionnaire response rate of
twenty-six percent. This was a good response rate for a mail survey and for
one where some individuals reported taking upward 5 hours to answer the
questions.
14
Table 8 in Chapter 4 depicts the distribution of mailout and returned questionnaires. For quick
reference, the geographic breakdown of mailings by province was Ontario (51%), British Columbia
(17%), Alberta (10%), Quebec (6%), Manitoba (5%), Saskatchewan (5%), Newfoundland (2%), Nova
Scotia (2%), New Brunswick (1%), Prince Edward Island (1%), Yukon (1%).
15
There were one-hundred and sixty four no responses.
16
The breakdown of responses by province was Ontario (43%), British Columbia (20%), Alberta
(17%), Manitoba (7%), Saskatchewan (6%), Quebec (5%), Newfoundland (1%), Nova Scotia (1%).
22
Of note is that the information contained in the database lists for this
study had considerably fewer numbers of trainer-practitioners than indicated.
This points to the limitations of using membership lists for research purposes
and offers a word of caution to other researchers wishing to replicate this
study using the same databases.
Analysis
In keeping with the interpretive tradition, the research did not begin
with a clearly developed hypothesis or a constructed model of what was to be
studied. It also did not rely upon existing typologies to categorize the
information collected, but rather constructed typologies that emerged from the
responses to the questions asked. A qualitative examination of the words,
themes, patterns and relationships was the first activity of analysis. The
objective here was two-fold. First, to gain insights into how mediators
understand their approach to mediation, and how they view their occupation.
And second, to gain insights into the nature of mediation in Canada.
Open coding was used to examine the similarities and differences
within the data, group similar concepts into categories, and then name the
various categories. Naming a category involved fitting responses as closely
as possible to each other, then linking them with the language used by
respondents. Naming in this way assured the coded terms were
representative of the study group’s understandings. To enhance reliability of
23
the coding scheme and to minimize researcher bias, two additional
researchers did random coding on various questions. Inter-rater reliability
was high; between eighty (80%) and one hundred (100%) percent on each
set of questions among all three coders.
Connections were then made between each category and its subcategories in a relational form using what is known as axial coding. This form
of coding involved specifying the conditions giving rise to the phenomena
being investigated along with the context in which it was embedded by asking
questions, making comparisons and verifying the patterns of association.
The story line was then explicated and the data and codes scanned to
validate relationships against the data. SPSS was used to identify patterns
and generate theory specificity.
Validity and Reliability
To minimize researcher bias and enhance credibility, five research
strategies were used. First, data collection strategies involved in-person
interviews, written accounts and secondary data. This form of mixed method
research has become increasingly popular to address complex questions in
natural settings (Drew, Hardman, and Hart, 1985; Miles, and Huberman
1994). Second, peer debriefings with non-involved professional peers
provided external checks on findings. Preliminary findings from the study
were presented at three dispute resolution conferences as a further means of
24
soliciting on-going feedback. Third, multiple case sampling added confidence
to the findings. Looking at a range of cases from across Canada helped to
strengthen the precision and stability of conclusions. Fourth, two other
persons were engaged to do sample coding to ensure that the categorization
scheme had meaning to others. This resulted in an inter-rater reliability rate
of eighty to one-hundred percent between all three coders. And fifth, a
thorough set of files throughout this inquiry has been maintained to enable an
“audit” to be conducted. This information includes the research proposal,
instruments, data bases, oral and written transcripts of interviews with
identifying information removed, the coded data and code book, notes from
peer consultations and dissertation committee meetings, and drafts of the
dissertation.
As the primary sociologist in this study, I bring considerable
professional and personal experience of mediation as well as substantive
knowledge of mediation to the research process. These sources contributed
to being theoretically sensitive and practical. Theoretical sensitivity increased
the ability to recognize relevant data as more information was acquired and
increased the ability to discern the meaning in the data. Various subjectivity’s
were brought to this research: more than twenty years experience as a
mediator and trainer, a social work background, and the knowledge of a
25
university professor in this developing discipline 17. Action was taken to help
ensure validity. In addition to the multiple research strategies previously
mentioned, an attitude of skepticism toward any interpretive directions that
arose early in the study was maintained, and periodic reflection was given to
how personal experience and knowledge fit with the data collected.
Conclusion
This exploratory study is designed to analyze the diversity and
complexities of mediation in Canada. It examines how mediation trainerpractitioners talk about and conceptualize mediation, and how these
understandings vary. Drawing from interpretive sociological theory (Weber,
1962; Giddens, 1993), attention was paid to the social construction of
meaning (Gergen, 1985) attributed by individuals to the theory, principles and
practices of mediation. Taking an interpretive perspective meant paying
attention to the context within which these understandings are based. In this
study an individual’s gender, educational background, experience as a
mediator and the dispute sector in which they work are examined to
determine how each is connected to respondents’ understanding of their
17
I am also a woman, and an advocate of mediation. I have also been critical in recent years of the
direction mediation is taking in some instances. My training and experience have influenced me in a
number of ways. For one, I believe that in most instances mediation is a better dispute resolution
process than more adversarial processes. For another, I believe mediation has the potential to
empower individuals to achieve greater understanding of each other and the relations that connect
them. I also believe that mediation has the potential to shift social attitudes and thus transform social
institutions. And finally, I believe that a relational framework of mediation is more favorable than a
settlement approach.
26
approach to mediation. Two fundamental questions permeate the research:
1) how is mediation understood by mediators; and, 2) how do these
conceptualizations vary in relation to different contexts and as understood by
different people?
In Chapter 2 a review of the extant literature on mediation with a
particular focus on the debates about form and function is provided. Chapter
3 examines the emergence of mediation as a profession, and includes an
analysis of what respondents think about certification as well as their hopes
and fears for mediation as a profession. Chapter 4 presents a portrait of
Canadian mediators, and examines what attracted them to become mediators
and what sustains their interest in doing the work. The findings show that
incentives to mediate have changed over the years. More contemporary
mediators view mediation as an opportunity for personal growth and job
satisfaction while veterans were enticed into mediation by goals of social
change and empowerment. Chapter 5 discusses how respondents
understand their role as mediators by examining the meanings they attach to
their role, how these meanings differ, and how they are linked to gender,
dispute sector, educational background and the length of time they have been
mediating. Chapter 5 also brings to our attention that while mediators often
use the same language to describe mediation, they do not always attribute
the same meaning to the words. Chapter 6 follows much of the same form of
analysis as the previous chapter only it examines how mediators describe
27
their style of mediation and the variations that exist within these definitions. It
affirms what was found in Chapter 6, that respondents exhibit a convergence
in the use of words but a divergence in the meanings associated with them.
In Chapter 7, a model for understanding mediation emerges. This framework
consists of four distinct patterns of mediation meanings, based on clusters of
mediation traits, which interact as elements of each other rather than
dichotomous patterns. In Chapter 8, questions for future research along with
implications of this study for the setting of policy and the practice of mediation
are offered.
The dichotomous representations of mediation in the extant literature
might lead one to expect that this study would find two opposing sets of
language being used by mediators. This was not found – mediators for the
most part use the same language, however, they attribute different meanings
to the words and these meanings can no longer be placed in opposing
camps. The insights from this study show mediation as a complex and
varied social activity in which diversity is linked to four internal and external
factors. This means that a broader range of analytic tools is needed to
understand the variations of meaning attributed to the practice of mediation in
contemporary Canadian society. One of the main contributions of this study
is an empirically-based analytic framework to aid in more fully understanding
this complexity.
28
Chapter Two
Introduction to the Literature on Mediation
Introduction
This chapter provides an introduction to the field of mediation. In
particular, it contrasts various ideologies and approaches to mediation found
in the extant literature. Many of the authors whose works are cited have
presented mediation in bipolar dichotomies leaving readers to expect that
there are two sets of mediation approaches. As will become apparent, the
poles in the various dichotomies are not always defined the same way.
In its early years, mediation was relatively easy to define. As it has
moved beyond experimentation toward institutionalization there is less
consensus on what constitutes mediation. This may be due in part to the
expansion of mediation into new dispute arenas and to the increasing
involvement of individuals from other professions (most recently, law). It may
also be a result of the growing number of books and journals that discuss
mediation from competing standpoints. And, to the proliferation of academic
courses and professional development training programs.
Mediation is said to be a communication process that reflects the
context in which it occurs (Taylor and Beinstein Miller, 1994). Attention to
contextual factors in the mediation literature has, however, been sadly lacking
29
with the exception of some recent writings on the influence of culture 18 and
gender on conflict and its resolution. Some of the literature on conflict and
gender is reviewed in this chapter because gender is one of four the
contextual factors used to examine the data in this study. The other three
factors are 1) the dispute sector in which respondents most often work, 2)
their educational background, and 3) the number of years they have been a
practicing mediator. These four contextual differences were decided upon for
various reasons. For one, there have been substantial, and at times
contentious, discussions in the mediation community regarding differences in
how mediation is practiced by those who are lawyers and those who are not.
While there is much talk, there has been little research on this topic. It
seemed timely to examine if, and how, these differences might impact on
Canadian mediators’ understandings of mediation. Attention has also been
paid to distinguishing the approaches used by labour and non-labour
mediators. Thus, including dispute sector as a contextual factor was also
timely and relevant. The absence of an amount of research on mediation and
gender, in combination with studies that suggest men and women negotiate
differently, were reasons for including gender as a contextual variable.
Finally, it seemed prudent to include time as a variable given that one of the
18
For a discussion of conflict and culture see Lederach, John Paul, Preparing for Peace: Conflict
Transformation Across Cultures. Syracuse University Press (1995); Ross, Marc Howard, The Culture
of Conflict. New Haven: Yale University Press (1993); Avruch, Black, and Scimecca (eds.) Conflict
Resolution: Cross Cultural Perspectives. Westport, Greenwood Press (1991) LeBaron, Michelle,
“Mediation, Conflict Resolution and Multicultural Reality: Culturally Competent Practice,” in E.
Kruk, Mediation and Conflict Resolution in Social Work and the Human Sciences. Chicago: NelsonHall, 1997: 315-335.
30
assumptions underlying this study is that mediation is changing as a result of
its growth and institutionalization. Furthermore, economic, political and
social influences are known to impact social attitudes so it is to be expected
that mediators trained in past years might have different attitudes than those
of today. There are many other important contextual variables that could be
included in a study designed to uncover differences in how mediation is
understood. These could have included differences in race, social class, life
experience, status, power, age, mediation training, characteristics of the
parties, type of dispute and the nature of the conflict situation, to name some.
These variables are left for other studies to examine.
The chapter begins with an overview of the history of mediation
followed by some of its defining features.
I. The Rise of Mediation
Mediation is an old and common form of conflict resolution (Kressel,
Pruitt and Associates, 1989). Like many modern practices, it is an
adaptation of something that existed in other countries and other times. In
ancient China, mediation was the principle means of resolving disputes. It
was based on Confucian beliefs about the existence of a natural harmony in
human affairs that should not be disrupted. Adversarial proceedings were
seen as the antitheses of harmony (Folberg and Taylor, 1984). Mediation in
China continues to be widely practiced today through the People’s Mediation
31
Committee19. In Japanese law and customs mediation also has a rich history,
and in parts of Africa the moot or neighbourhood meeting has long provided
an informal mechanism for resolving interpersonal disputes. In England,
mediation has existed since Anglo-Saxon times.
The transplanting of alternative dispute settlement systems to North
America is thought to have come from Europe by way of the Quakers
(Whiting, 1982). Their settlement procedures handled disputes ranging from
commercial transactions to marital disagreements, and coexisted with the
English system of law providing disputants with a choice for how to deal with
their disputes. The use of alternative forms of dispute resolution was,
however, not limited to the Quakers. The Dutch and Scandinavian settlers
also utilized private means of dispute resolution. In fact, mediation has long
been seen as a “natural” way to deal with conflict. Extended families, elders,
clan members, religious leaders, friends, and neighbours have all offered
their wisdom and skills to assist in the resolution of social conflicts.
Why has mediation become popular again and why now? Golberg,
Green and Sander (1985) speculate on the confluence of events that led to
the renewal of interest in mediation. They describe the 1960’s as a time of
19
According to Dr.Yan Ling Chang from the Law School of Su Zhow University, in 1988 China had
six million mediators and one million committees to deal with civil disputes, which included quarrels,
property rights, assault, fraud, and theft. In that same year, mediators, who are unpaid and locally
elected, dealt with 7.255 million cases. Less than one million of these ended in court appearances.
(This information came from a talk by Dr. Chang at Carleton University in 1991.)
32
considerable strife and conflict emanating in part from civil rights struggles,
protests over the Vietnam War, student unrest, growing consumer
awareness, gender role re-examination, and acceptance of divorce as a
common event. Each of these gave rise to reduced tolerance for perceived
wrongs and grievances, which were turned into legal disputes. Conflicts that
in the past might have been resolved by deference, avoidance, or resignation
were directed to the courts resulting in the statutory creation of many new
causes of action. Cries for equal access to justice on behalf of minority
groups resulted in even greater reliance on formal legal structures. The shift
from an industrial society to one of technology and information created new
social problems, over-reliance on existing institutions and a demand for new
avenues of dispute settlement. Thus, the growth of mediation has been fed by
a growing dissatisfaction with formal adversarial processes (Burger, 1982;
Auerbach, 1983). Also by reports which indicate that the cost of courtadministered justice has risen sharply, and that long courtroom delays are
becoming the norm 20. Various social goals are said to undergird mediation’s
development. They include: community empowerment (Wahrhaftig, 1982);
court reform (Zuber, 1987); restorative justice (Wright, Martin, and Gallaway,
1989); self-determination (Bush and Folger, 1994); and, the preservation and
enhancement of relationships (Folberg and Milne, 1988).
20
See, for example, the work of the Civil Justice Review First Report. Ontario Court of Justice, 1995
and the Supplemental and Final Report, 1996; Hon. T. G. Zuber, Report of the Ontario Courts Inquiry.
Ministry of the Attorney General, 1987; Report of the Canadian Bar Association Task Force on
Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Canadian Perspective, 1989.
33
Defining Mediation
In its simplest form, mediation can be defined as a process of assisted
or facilitated negotiation. A fuller definition is put forward by Chris Moore.
Mediation is the intervention of an acceptable, impartial and
neutral third party who has no authoritative decision-making
power to assist contending parties in voluntarily reaching their
own mutually acceptable settlement of issues in dispute
(1986:6).
Lon Fuller believes that the central quality of mediation is:
…its capacity to reorient the parties towards each other, not by
imposing rules on them, but by helping them to achieve a new
and shared perception of their relationship, a perception that
will redirect their attitudes and disposition toward one another
(1971:325).
The practice of mediation is subject to interpretation and debate;
however, there do appear to be elements common to most mediation models.
Mediators assist negotiation. They do not hold decision-making power. They
help disputing parties understand each other through effective
communication. Parties need to go beyond positions to uncover interests
(Fisher and Ury, 1981). Parties are best able to generate options for
settlement. And, mediation is future, more so than past, oriented. A number
of assumptions underlie most mediation approaches. It is a consensual
process. Parties should be empowered to resolve their own disputes to the
greatest extent possible. Parties will be more compliant with an agreement
they have themselves constructed. Parties need to vent emotions and they
need to feel heard. It is the nature of mediation that is said to set it apart from
34
more traditional dispute resolution processes. It is more commonsensebased, less bureaucratic, more humane, and more efficient.
Mediators serve a number of functions including that of catalyst,
educator, translator, expander of resources, bearer of bad news, agent of
reality, and scapegoat. To meet these and other functions, a mediator should
be capable of appreciating the dynamics of the environment in which the
dispute is occurring. He or she should be an intelligent and effective listener,
as well as articulate, patient, non-judgmental, flexible, forceful and
persuasive, imaginative and resourceful. A mediator should also be a person
of professional standing or reputation. They should be reliable and capable
of gaining access to necessary resources, non-defensive and a person of
integrity. As well as, being humble, objective and neutral with regard to the
outcome of a dispute (Stulberg, 1981:94).
Mediators are called into negotiations for a variety of reasons. Their
services are requested when the emotions of the parties prevent a
settlement, when communication between the parties is poor, when
misperceptions or stereotypes hinder productive exchange, or when repetitive
negative behaviors create barriers. They may also be called in when there
are serious disagreements over data, there are multiple issues in dispute and
parties disagree on how to address them, there are perceived or actual
incompatible value differences that divide the parties, or the parties have
35
reached an impasse (Moore, 1986). Some writers assume the objective of
mediation is to make parties aware of the “social norms” applicable to their
relationship, and to persuade them to accommodate themselves to the
structure imposed by these norms (Goldberg, Green and Sander, 1985). In
other words, the authors suggest that the difference between mediation and
adjudication would be that whereas a judge orders the parties to conform, a
mediator persuades them to do so. There are others who suggest that
mediation is not directed toward achieving conformity to norms, but toward
the creation of relevant norms. They believe that mediation processes can
produce new structures. This led proponents of community-based models to
argue that mediation brings about neighbourhood empowerment, social
change, equal distribution of power among citizens, and reductions in reliance
on services provided by the government (Wahrhaftig, 1982; Shonholtz, 1984).
They see the goal of mediation as promoting a just society in which power is
more evenly distributed. Also as a means for neighbourhood residents to
resolve their own disputes without recourse to state institutions. Mediation is
claimed to be faster, less expensive, and better suited to tailoring outcomes
to the needs of the parties. This in turn is said to lead to greater satisfaction
with resolutions, higher levels of compliance than with adjudicated decisions,
and improved capacity for resolving future disputes without external
intervention. Other positive qualities of mediation are said to include: that
solutions reached are more flexible than those of the other mechanisms, that
it avoids the win-lose syndrome, and that the process involves inquiry into
36
what parties want to talk about, not only what the judge wants to hear
(Kressel, 1989:40).
Criticisms of Mediation
There are those who do not support the use of mediation in the
resolution of social conflict. Women's rights activists are concerned that
through mediation women may lose their leverage in bargaining and receive
less in the way of settlement than would be offered through formal court
processes (Rachofsky, 1985; Hart, 1990). They also argue that a more
sophisticated understanding of power is required for mediation to serve the
interests of women (Shaffer, 1988). And, that mandatory mediation is
especially harmful to women (Grillo, 1991). Others are concerned that
mediators may try to reduce tensions by altering perceptions, thus promoting
the illusion of harmony and a false spirit of agreement (Nader, 1991). The
concern is that resulting agreements may push aside tension surrounding
dispute for a time, only to emerge later causing more serious conflict
situations. A number of legal scholars have expressed concerns about
mediation as “second class justice”. These were based on the potential for
violating legal rights (Tomasic and Freeley, 1982), exploitation of the less
powerful and use of coercion (Jaffe, 1983), and expansion of state control into
private lives (Abel, 1982). Their arguments suggest that power differentials
may result in the more powerful party refusing to participate in mediation or
dominating to the point of intimidating the less powerful one into a potentially
37
inequitable agreement. In her article, Myth And Practice In The Mediation
Process, Merry (1989) refutes the belief that mediation enhances social
justice, and she emphasizes the need to take a hard look at what mediation is
and, is not. She goes on to say that even though mediation may be more
humane, responsive, and participatory, it does not have any long-range
impact on the distribution of power, or on the social and economic pressures
of working-class family problems.
The use of third-party neutrals is no longer associated only with labour
or international disputes. Mediators are increasingly called upon to resolve
disputes about family relations, child custody, contractual obligations,
defective automobiles, professional malpractice, waste disposal sites, noise,
and playground squabbles. And while clergy, elders, and community leaders
continue to assume the role of mediator, an increasing number of
“professional” mediators are now part of the dispute resolution community.
As will be seen, not everyone subscribes to the same approach toward
mediation practice. Expansion in the use of mediation and in those who act
as mediators is changing the character of mediation. No longer is there
agreement on what mediation is, or, should be.
II. Contrasting Approaches to Mediation
Mediation is a varied concept. Differing philosophies and approaches
guide it and these differences have been analyzed in various ways. The
38
common practice when classifying approaches to mediation has been to
situate them as polar opposites. Or, as Nader (1984) would say, as binary
positions. Early studies of mediation classified mediators’ approaches as
being either content or process interventions. Content interventions focused
on substantive issues while process interventions focused on communication
and relationship factors. Other examples of dualistic notions of mediation
include Schwerin’s (1995) work, which classified interventions as contrasting
schools of thought about a mediator’s role - one as facilitator, the other as
activist. Similarly, Riskin (1996) described mediators as facilitative or
evaluative. Bush and Folger (1994) contrasted styles of mediation as
transformative or problem-solving. And, Kolb (1983) characterized mediator
functions as dealmaker or orchestrator. These typologies characterize
mediators as being either passive facilitators or active shapers of solutions.
Other theorists seeking to order the diverse methodologies of mediation also
created dualistic classification systems. They include broad versus narrow,
open versus closed, positional versus interest-based, settlement versus
process-oriented, and individualistic versus relational. Four often cited
mediation classification schemes are depicted in summary form on the
following table (Table 1). They include the work of Silbey and Merry (1986),
Bush and Folger (1994), Kolb and Associates (1994), and Riskin (1996).
39
Table 1. Four Mediation Classification Schemes
BARGAINING STYLE
-
Silbey & Merry
1986
-
purpose of mediation is to reach
settlement
job of mediator is to look for bottomlines, narrow issues, control process,
be an agent of reality
structured
frequent use of caucus
settlement based on parties “wants”
claim authority based on expertise in
managing process and in law
less direct communication between
parties
agreements written without parties
present
THERAPEUTIC STYLE
-
PROBLEM-SOLVING APPROACH
Bush & Folger
1994
-
-
individualist worldview
disputes viewed as problems to be
solved
focused on reaching agreement
mediators decide what case is about,
drop issues that cannot be handled,
directive style
conflict emerges from unmet and
incompatible needs
solutions maximize joint satisfaction
TRANSFORMATIVE APPROACH
-
SETTLEMENT FRAME
Kolb & Assoc.
1994
-
mediators work to uncover elements of
a deal and convince parties to accept
directive, activist role, “deal-maker”
evaluative – provide case precedent
and risks to non-settlement
make suggestions, persuade and
influence
make judgments about good and bad
agreements
Riskin
1996
-
urges parties to accept settlement
develops and proposes settlement
predicts court outcomes and impact of
not settling
assesses strengths and weaknesses
of legal claims & probes parties
interests
relational worldview
disputes viewed as opportunity for moral
growth and transformation
greater sense of own efficiency
two dimensions:
1) empowerment – strengthening of
self to reflect, make choices and
act
2) recognition – ability to move
beyond self to relate to others
COMMUNICATION FRAME
-
EVALUATIVE APPROACH
-
purpose is to help parties reach
understanding
disputes viewed as communication
problems
focus is on communication and
relationships
parties encouraged to express feelings
and attitudes
emphasizes mutuality
claim authority based on expertise in
managing relationships
explore past relations
less discussion of legal issues
agreements written with parties present
goal is to help understand conflict
influence how issues are framed and
understood
conversation fosters agreements
settlement secondary to attaining mutual
understanding
less directive,
“orchestra leader”
FACILITATIVE APPROACH
-
helps parties evaluate proposals
helps parties develop proposals
asks about likely court outcomes
helps parties understand issues and
interests
asks about strengths and weaknesses
of legal claims and focuses discussion
on underlying interests
40
i)
The Bargaining versus Therapeutic Approach
Silbey and Merry (1986) carried out one of the early observational
studies that examined mediators at work. After observing one hundred and
seventy-five mediation sessions involving forty different mediators, they
concluded that bringing cases to settlement required mediators to develop a
repertoire of strategies. To organize their observations of patterns within
various strategies, they constructed a classification scheme that consisted of
two ideal-type descriptions of mediator styles - the bargaining style and the
therapeutic style. They differentiated the two styles on the basis of a number
of factors. How mediators present themselves and the mediation process,
how they control the mediation process. The control they have over the
substantive issues to be mediated. And, how they activate commitments to
encourage settlement. Silbey and Merry note that their styles describe
regular patterns of dealing with problems rather than the categorizing of
mediators, and that a single mediator uses both styles to some extent.
In their typology, the bargaining style is one where mediators show a
greater measure of control on the process and where they focus on settling
the dispute based on what parties “want”. Mediators claim authority based
on their expertise in process, law, and the court system, and they define the
purpose of mediation as reaching settlement. This style tends toward a
structured process with overt control over the proceedings, use of private
caucuses, and less direct communication between parties. The job of the
41
mediator is “to look for bottom lines, to narrow issues, to promote exchanges,
and to side-step intractable differences of interest” (Silbey and Merry,
1986:20); in other words, to become an “agent of reality”. Bargaining
mediators typically write agreements without parties present.
The therapeutic style focuses more on communication and
relationships and less on settlement. It assumes that disputes are more a
result of miscommunication than differences of interests. Thus, parties are
encouraged to fully express their feelings and attitudes as a means of
resolving their differences. Mediators claim authority based on expertise in
managing relationships. They describe the purpose of mediation as helping
people to reach mutual understanding through collective agreement. They
expand the discussion by exploring past relations and issues not directly
related to the dispute. There is less discussion of legal norms than in the
bargaining style. The therapeutic style emphasizes the mutuality, reciprocity,
and self-enforcement of agreements; agreement writing is a collective activity.
Silbey and Merry tell us that “mediation strategies develop through
interaction with the parties who come with sets of expectations, wants and
skills” (p.19). And, that “neither the relationship of the parties, not the type of
case (small claims, spouse abuse, neighbourhood dispute), not the sex of the
mediator seems to determine which style eventually predominates” (p.19).
42
They go one to suggest, however, that with increased experienced mediator
strategies become more pronounced toward one mode or the other.
ii)
The Problem-Solving versus Transformative Approach
A more recent account of how mediation is approached has been put
forward by Bush and Folger (1994) in their book, The Promise of Mediation.
They describe current mediation practice as encompassing a directive and
problem-solving approach where reaching agreement is paramount. The
problem-solving approach is based on an individualist worldview where
conflict is seen to emerge as a result of unmet and incompatible needs.
Disputes are viewed as problems to be solved and solutions are sought that
maximize joint satisfaction. Bush and Folger contrast this approach with a
transformative model of mediation that gives individuals a greater sense of
their own efficacy and a greater openness to others. This approach is based
on a relational view of others, which views individuals as possessing an
inherent form of consciousness that connects them to each other as well as
having diverse needs and desires. Disputes are viewed, not as problems to
be solved, but as opportunities for moral growth and transformation. Two
dimensions make up the transformative approach – empowerment and
recognition. Empowerment involves the strengthening individuals’ abilities to
reflect, make choices and act in a conflict situation. Recognition involves
“becoming more open, attentive, sympathetic and responsive to the situation
of the other party” (p.89). As with Silbey and Merry’s typology, Bush and
43
Folger’s problem-solving and transformative constructs represent opposite
ends of a continuum of mediation practice.
Bush and Folger contribute to our understanding of mediation through
their characterization of the different accounts or, as they put it, “stories” of
the mediation “movement”. They portray the Satisfaction Story as a tool to
reduce court congestion. The Social Justice Story is portrayed as a vehicle
for organizing people and communities to obtain fairer treatment. The
Oppression Story signals the presence of covert means of social control and
oppression. The Transformation Story is said to be a way to foster a
qualitative transformation of human interaction (1994:15). The presence of
these “stories” give Bush and Folger confidence that mediation is pluralistic,
not monolithic, and that it has different impacts on society as a result of value
choices determined by the setting of goals for mediation. They go on to
suggest that:
… not all mediators follow the practices described by any one
story of the movement. Rather, there are different approaches
to mediation practice, with different and varied impacts, and the
different stories depict these different approaches. Therefore,
at a factual level, none of the stories is “the true story”, each is
probably a valid account of the practices of some number of
mediators working in the field today (p.25).
While they acknowledge the diversity of mediation, Bush and Folger believe it
is impossible to achieve all of the goals at one time. They argue that the
dominant pattern of practice which has emerged focuses on solving problems
44
and getting settlements, and that little attention is being given to coalition
building or transforming disputants. They are not alone in reaching this
conclusion. Nolan-Haley said, “much of what passes for mediation today
resembles evaluative services, hybrid settlement processes or rough justice”
(1995:149). Bush and Folger are concerned about the direction that
mediation has taken. They argue strongly that moral growth and
transformation are the most important goals of mediation and should become
the “guiding vision of the movement” (p.28). And, they use this evaluative
emphasis on transformation or settlement as an analytic tool for classifying
mediation approaches.
iii)
The Settlement versus Communication Approach
Deborah Kolb and Associates (1994) used the metaphor of “framing”
to characterize the interpretive schemes that mediators use to organize their
activities. Based on their study of twelve influential mediators from different
sectors 21, two primary frames, settlement and communication, reflected the
tendency of mediators to define their roles and structure their activities.
In Kolb’s typology, mediators who frame their role as settlement tend
to work toward uncovering the elements of a possible deal and convincing the
21
Sectors included family, divorce and child custody, special education, environmental, labour,
community, international, business, public policy and public housing.
45
parties to accept the deal, leading them to be seen as “dealmakers” 22.
Settlement mediators are directive, taking an activist view of the role of the
mediator. They frequently provide evaluative information based on case law,
precedence and risks to non-settlement. They also make judgments about
good and bad agreements, offer suggestions, persuade and influence parties.
Mediators whose frame is characterized as enhancing communication work to
keep the parties talking so that they can better understand their conflict.
Reaching a settlement is considered secondary to attaining mutual
understanding. Communicative mediators are less directive seeing their role
as the “orchestra leader” causing them to influence the ways parties talk, how
issues are framed, the way the problem is understood, and the flow of
information. They are much less directive than settlement mediators.
Although frames translate into specific actions, Kolb suggests that they do not
appear to be preset and often reflect on-the-spot decision making (1994:470).
iv)
The Evaluative versus Facilitative Approach
Riskin (1996) tackled the problem of representing what mediation is
and what mediators do by proposing a system for classifying mediator
orientations. His grid for evaluating the character of mediation styles
emphasizes two contrasting features: how mediators view the role of the
22
Also see other works by Deborah Kolb, “To Be a Mediator: Expressive Tactics in
Mediation,” 1985:11-26; “Strategy and The Tactics of Mediation,” 1983:247-268; “Roles
Mediators Play: State and Federal Practice,” 1981:1-17; The Mediators, 1983.
46
mediator (evaluative or facilitative) and how mediators define the problem
(narrow or broad). The evaluative mediator assumes that the participants
want and need the mediator to provide direction while the facilitative mediator
assumes the parties are capable of developing better solutions than those a
mediator might create. An evaluative-narrow approach to mediation practice
would involve a mediator assessing the strengths and weaknesses of parties’
claims, predicting court outcomes, developing and proposing a settlement,
and pushing parties to settle based upon his or her assessment. An
evaluative-broad perspective also seeks settlement but uses a process,
which emphasizes interests over positions, with the mediator’s proposed
solutions attempting to accommodate these interests. A facilitative-broad
approach helps the parties understand and define the problems they wish to
address, and facilitates a discussion of underlying interests rather than
positions. The parties are encouraged to generate and assess proposals
designed to accommodate those interests. A facilitative-narrow mediator
helps parties become “realistic” about their situation, but does not use his or
her own assessments, predictions, or proposals to construct agreements.
Riskin’s typology is designed to help disputants determine what kind of
mediation they wish to undertake and what type of mediator to seek.
One of the contributions of the Riskin typology is the notion that
mediation approaches are not tightly contained – that there is some fluidity
within the concepts. That being said, Riskin also states that mediators
47
usually have a predominant orientation that is based on a combination of his
or her personality, experiences, education, and training (1994:113). He also
suggests that mediators may depart from their orientation to respond to the
dynamics of the conflict situation.
These depictions of mediators at work have a number of things in
common. For one, they posit mediators as having either a settlement goal or
a relational goal; mediators are rarely seen to use both sets of goals. In fact,
the assumption is that if you follow one set of goals you are not following the
other. Silbey and Merry’s bargaining style, Bush and Folger’s problemsolving approach, Kolb’s settlement role, and Riskin’s evaluative typology are
similar in that they describe mediators as valuing the goal of reaching a
settlement. In turn, these goals are reflected in a mediator’s style of
mediation, which is characterized as structured, directive, and focused on
making a deal. In these characterizations, mediators are seen to take an
activist role, to propose solutions, and to be less concerned about direct
communication between the parties. These approaches to mediation are
contrasted with the therapeutic, transformative, communicative, and
facilitative typologies, which are also quite similar. In general, they
emphasize relationship building, mutuality, understanding, empowerment,
and recognition. In these approaches mediator styles are described as less
directive, focused on feelings and emotions, and more communicative.
48
The result of these analytical typologies is to understand mediation in
dichotomous terms. This dichotomous way of analyzing this field leads us to
believe that, for the most part, there are only two sets of mediation meanings.
While this form of binary placement analysis may be instructive for
demonstrating conceptual differences, it has major weaknesses. For one,
dichotomous positioning pits one concept against another and gives it “pride
of place” by allowing it to become the standard that measures the other. For
another, it tends to be rigid and over-simplistic thus, preventing more varied
approaches to mediation practice from being revealed and legitimated. As
with most dichotomies this positioning also tends to mask what are often
complex forms of interaction between concepts.
The research being reported on in this dissertation supports the view
that characteristics from both poles in a dichotomy can be present in a single
mediation approach. The analysis also suggests that these characteristics
interact in different ways to yield different patterns of understandings about
mediation. Individual mediators, as well as groups of mediators, often used
more than two patterns of meanings when conceptualizing mediation.
Patterns of meanings are also linked to various internal and external
contextual factors.
Before moving to look at gender as a contextual influence on
mediation, one other typology for understanding mediation is briefly
49
mentioned. This typology was constructed by Ellen Waldman (1996). It is
discussed here because, while it is not a dichotomous representation of the
nature of mediation, her research was used to construct the scenarios used in
the data collection instrument. Furthermore, various questions on the
instrument were coded using her typology and have been included in the
variable-ordered matrix table used in the analysis found in Chapter 7.
v)
The Social Norm Approach
According to Waldman, categorizations of mediation such as the four
discussed previously share a common theme in that they distinguish
approaches that make reference to social norms and those that do not. This
observation led her to devise a typology that focused explicitly on the role of
social norms in mediation. Waldman’s typology includes three mediation
models: norm-generating, norm-educating, and norm-advocating. Each of
the models is believed to share common assumptions, follow similar
procedural routes, and employ many of the same mediative techniques. The
distinguishing features of the three models are as follows. The normgenerating model is inattentive to social norms and seeks above all else to
give maximum autonomy to the disputants. The norm-educating model is
premised on the belief that knowledge of social norms is a precondition to
autonomous decision making. In the norm-advocating model the mediator
assumes responsibility for ensuring certain societal principles are included in
an agreement in addition helping the parties reach an agreement that
50
satisfies their individual needs. Waldman believes that diversity could be
assured if legislation made clear that all three models were embraced in their
appropriate contexts.
III. Taking Context into Account
As mentioned previously, conflict takes place within a context and is
influenced by that context. Social, economic, political and cultural contextual
factors each influence how an individual perceives a conflict situation and
interacts with it. To illustrate this point, Merry (1993) tells us that individuals
with lower class status have more faith in adversarial than consensual
processes preferring the former because they are believed to be fair and
impartial. As well, some ethnocultural groups prefer not to use mediation
programs because they wish to keep their conflicts private (LeBaron, 1997).
Furthermore, mediation has been heavily criticized for producing “second
class justice” when it was found that a disproportionate number of clients
diverted to mediation programs were poor, black and predominantly female
(Jaffe, 1983; Tomasic and Freeley, 1982). Questions about the transferability
of mediation across cultural boundaries are increasingly attracting the interest of
scholars and practitioners. The influence of gender on the mediation process,
the parties involved, and the mediator is also receiving increased attention.
Attempts to look at gender and conflict have been stimulated by the belief that
gender shapes conflict issues as well as conflict management processes
(Taylor and Beinstein Miller, 1994; Kolb, 1994; Dewhurst and Wall, 1994;
51
Weingarten and Douvan, 1985). There is, however, agreement that
significantly more attention needs to be paid to contextual considerations in
both the practice and evaluation of mediation. This was confirmed in the lack
of literature that took into account any of the four contextual factors being
examined in this study. While some studies did indicate that mediators
strategic choices were linked contextual factors, no analysis was undertaken
to link particular strategies with specific contexts. Instead emphasis was
given to examining the nature of the strategies. It is worth briefly mentioning
some of these studies on strategies in mediation before turning to a more
lengthy discussion of gender and mediation.
Strategies employed by mediators are thought to be influenced by past
experience, instruction and training as a mediator and expectations regarding
the probable success of different techniques. Wall and Lynn (1993) believe a
mediator’s choice of strategy is also governed by rules and standards,
common ground and concern for parties outcomes, dispute characteristics,
the mediation context, and a mediator’s ideology. Kochan and Jick (1978)
suggest that mediators employ three general strategies 23. Similarly, Kressel
(1977) constructed a scheme involving three general strategies - reflexive,
directive and non-directive. Simkin (1971) also developed a scheme
23
Their three strategies include: 1) non-contingent strategies, which are process-oriented and aimed at
gaining the trust of the parties and gathering information; 2) contingent strategies, which are contentoriented and involve the mediator in decision-making, and 3) an aggressive strategy, which is a more
extreme form of a contingent strategy.
52
consisting of three tactics: 1) communication 2) substantive and 3)
procedural. A fourth taxonomy, provided by Sheppard (1984), consists of
process, content, and motivational control strategies. Of significance in
Sheppard’s control strategies is that they were illustrative of mediator
strategies in both labor-management and non-labor-management situations.
In a study undertaken by Ross (1989), Sheppard’s classification scheme was
used to test the viability of classifying a range of interventions for both
mediators and arbitrators. After surveying close to three hundred members of
the Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR), Sheppard found
that mediators and arbitrators believed content control strategies were
effective, and that both would use motivational and process techniques.
Finally, Carnevale, et al (1989) identified four basic mediation strategies integrate, press, compensate and inaction, as manifestations of different
forms of social power. Each of his strategies is considered to be a strategic
problem that is determined by a mediator’s assessment of the cost and
benefits.
As can be seen, strategies used by mediators have been examined
using various classification schemes. And while the authors infer that
contextual factors such as background, training, professional discipline and
arenas of conflict may influence use of certain tactics, few have fully
examined these links. This study has examined how contextual factors are
linked to differences in mediators’ understandings of mediation practice and
53
will be reported on in later chapters. Some of the research that looks at
gender and mediation is now reviewed.
Gender as a Contextual Influence
Gender is said to be a social construction24. It is said to organize
social life, social structure, and social beliefs. Some of the conflict literature
supports the argument that there are differences in the ways men and women
perceive and react to conflict (Kolb, 1994). There is also literature that
suggests that gender influences the way we process information about the
world; hence it influences communication in and about conflict (Taylor and
Beinstein Miller, 1994:5). Studies have shown that female talk is inclined
toward intimacy and inclusion while men’s talk is more competitive (Gourley,
1994:77). Gilligan’s (1982) work shows a tendency from early childhood for
females to value relationships, cooperation, and an ethic of care, whereas
males tend to value rules, rights, competition, and an ethic of justice.
Dewhurst and Wall (1994) found male mediators used formulations that
enhanced their control of the mediation process more often than did females.
Conversely, females were found to use formulations that enhanced
integration between disputants by clarifying their points of agreement and
disagreement more often than did males (p.297). The authors conclude that
24
There is considerable debate in feminist writings about conflating gender and biological sex, as they
are considered not to be equivalent, and, according to Taylor and Beinstein Miller (1994), the two
concepts should not be used as if they were.
54
formulations to facilitate dispute resolution were used differently by male and
female mediators. Based on comparisons of resolved disputes, Dewhurst
and Wall did not find evidence that male and female mediators differed in
perceived effectiveness. They did, however, find that in unresolved disputes
men were considered to be somewhat more competent than female
mediators, but that greater satisfaction with the process was expressed when
mediators were female. They also found a tendency for mediators to use
more formulations with same-sex disputants suggesting that males may be
more inhibited when both disputants are female than when at least one is
male, and vice versa. It follows that male and female mediators might want to
become aware of the potential differences in their use of communication
management acts, and that they would want to strive to utilize the full
spectrum of formulations. In other words, men might attempt to use more
integrative types of formulations and women more control formulations.
Dewhurst and Wall also suggest that “male and female mediators should
most definitely be sensitized to the potential differences in they ways they
communicate with all-male, all-female, or mixed-sex disputants” (p.298).
Other empirical research supports the notion that male and female
mediators are likely to interpret conflicting parties’ communication quite
differently. For example, Weingarten and Douvan (1985) found evidence
supporting the contention that male and female mediators differ in the
construction and interpretation of the mediation process (p.357). Female
55
mediators were found to envision the mediator role as collaborative and as a
process of transformation and change affecting all the parties, including the
mediators. Male mediators were more likely to look at their personal
performance and to envision their role as one of acting on the other parties.
Men used the terms neutral and objective to define themselves whereas
women saw themselves as a bridge between the parties. A study by
Maxwell (1992) tentatively puts forward the suggestion that gender is a
surrogate variable for style and that some elements of style have a latent
impact on the effectiveness of mediation. His findings indicate that “male and
female mediators are equally effective at reaching an agreement, however,
female mediators are significantly more effective at mediating binding
settlements. The greatest gender difference occurs in emotionally charged
disputes” (p.353).
There is a need to learn more about the diversity of skills and
communication patterns men and women mediators bring to the mediation
process. And to examine the effects these have on mediation outcomes and
participants in the mediation process. At this point in time, little is known
about the differential success of males and females as mediators.
Contrary to the above studies, there is research that shows little
difference between men's and women's conflict behavior. The results of
these studies suggest that gender may be a poor predictor of conflict
56
management style and that stereotypes persist because of the influence of
social situations, not gender alone (Watson, 1994; Ruble and Schneer, 1994).
Based on her review of selected studies on gender and conflict, Keashly
(1994) shows the inconsistency of results from empirical studies, and she
demonstrates that other variables besides gender account for differences in
conflict behavior. She goes on to argue that “processes and outcomes of
conflict depend on the nature of the relations between conflicting parties
(including intimacy and relative statues, the specific situational context in
which they conflict, and the beliefs they hold about conflict” (p.167). Watson
(1994) supports Keashly’s conclusion and she states that situational power
based on social roles is a better predictor of negotiator behaviour and
outcome than gender. Kolb (1994) cites Catherine MacKinnon (1982) to
point out that because women have occupied lesser positions of influence
they have had to learn ways of thinking about the world that emphasize
maintaining good relationships and deference.
To sum up this section, there are many opinions, contradictory studies
and few conclusive answers about the influence of gender on conflict. The
fact that some research indicates there may be differences in male and
female behaviour and in the way mediators perceive and respond to
mediation, means that mediators should be knowledgeable about how gender
(along with other contextual variables such as age, race, and class) may
influence their mediation behaviour . They also need to be aware of the
57
philosophical base from which they practice mediation so that their biases are
made clear to themselves and the parties in mediation. At the very least,
these studies remind us as mediators that generalizations about gender and
negotiation are difficult, complex, and oftentimes contribute to the creation of
stereotypes about men and women. They also point out that inconsistencies
in studies of gender could be due to other contextual factors or combinations
of factors and that there is a need for more research in these areas. Studies
such as this one encourage further investigation on how contextual factors
shape ones thinking about mediation and, ultimately, how it shapes their
practice.
Conclusion
This review of the mediation literature has shown that approaches to
mediation are often presented in dichotomous classification and organizing
schemes. It has also shown that allegiance to a particular ideological
approach has an impact on the role a mediator assumes, the goals they set,
and the strategies they use to help parties resolve their disputes. Four
commonly cited typologies were highlighted to show the characteristics of
each. What stands out most from this review are the similarities between the
schemes. Each is constructed as a bipolar phenomenon. In each typology a
pragmatic settlement-type goal is found at one pole while a relational
communicative-type goal is at the other. From the depictions of these
classification schemes, inferences can be drawn that a mediator’s actions
58
place him or her at one or the other pole, not both. The authors in each of the
four schemes made note that a single mediator may use some of the traits
from either pole. But they also stated that mediators seem to have a
dominant style and that this style can be characterized by its proximity to one
or another of the two poles. Silbey and Merry (1986) take this further by
suggesting that a mediators’ style becomes more pronounced over time. The
authors studied here seem to give little attention to how internal or external
contextual factors influence a mediator’s approach or call for a shift in their
overall style. They do however, suggest that context does influence a
mediators’ choice of tactics.
Clarity about the form and function of various mediation styles, models
of practice, and ideological orientations is expected to be of increasing
importance as the mediation community moves toward becoming more
“professionalized”, and the need for an established system of knowledge
heightens. This need is likely to become even stronger given that many
practice-related issues have come into question as different styles of
mediation present themselves – issues regarding neutrality, confidentiality,
advice giving, the use of caucus, and being directive. Mediators are
increasingly consumed with debates about the best and right way to practice.
One of the growing concerns is that the expansion of mediation into legal and
quasi-legal matters and the adoption of the role of mediator by lawyers and
judges are causing mediation to become more “rights-based” than “needs-
59
based”. Measuring success based on settlement alone is also of concern as
it encourages evaluative over communicative models of practice to be valued.
Another concern is that as an increasing number of newly trained mediators
are drawn to work in court programs because they offer opportunities for paid
work. This may yield a crop of new mediators trained in evaluative-models
unaware or uninterested in the fact that different mediation modalities exist.
The literature is not consistent on whether gender accounts for
differences in conflict behaviour. Some studies indicate that there may be
gendered perceptions of the mediator role (men being more competitive and
women more collaborative). Other studies argue that social situations, not
gender, are better predictors of negotiation behaviours.
Studies conducted on what it is that mediators “do” have relied on
observational studies, survey research, experiments, and content analysis.
This research uses another methodology. It examines mediators’
conceptualization of their actions through the patterns of meanings found in
descriptions of their approach to mediation. This form of interpretive inquiry
provides insight into how mediators understand their work. Variations in
these understandings are then linked to contextual factors to examine further
differences. As will be seen in the following chapters, this work shows
elements of similar depictions of mediation to those found in the extant
literature. It builds and expands upon their dichotomous presentations by
60
suggesting that a more complex portrait of mediation exits. A portrait that
reveals that traces of understandings of mediation from both poles can be
present in the same mediator. This portrait also shows the influence of
gender, experience, educational background, and the dispute sector in which
mediators primarily work.
This chapter has provided a backdrop for arguments presented in this
dissertation. The next chapter is designed to familiarize the reader with
sociological theories of professions. The desire to become recognized as a
profession is one of the tensions motivating this research. Theories of
professionalization indicate that some of the activities taking place within
mediation are shared by other “professions in the making”. They also lead us
to expect complex activities to be taking place that require methodological
tools in order to understand these activities. Respondents views on the
licensing of mediators and setting of standards, along with concerns about
the direction the field is taking also presented in the following chapter.
61
Chapter Three
The Emergence of Mediation as a Profession
Introduction
This chapter sets out to do two things. Part I overviews sociological
theories of professions and recent activities directed at regulating the practice
of mediation. The debate over mediators’ credentials is a major tension
underlying this study about what mediation means today. Those in favour of
regulation believe it will set mediation on a path toward becoming a
profession. Those opposed believe it is premature to restrict the practice of
mediation before understanding the breadth of its nature, and that regulation
would pose a threat to the diversification of mediation. If, as it seems,
mediation is emerging as a new profession then we can expect to find certain
activities that might be better understood using the lens of professions theory.
Some of the activities related to regulating the practice of mediation are also
presented in this section.
Part II of this chapter presents the views of respondents regarding the
regulation of mediation and includes some of their concerns with respect to
changes that they see taking place. Similar to what can be found in the
literature, respondents are not in agreement on whether the field should be
regulated. This should not be surprising given the various ideologies of
mediation discussed in the previous chapter. Should regulation occur,
however, the opinion of respondents is that all stakeholder groups should be
involved in shaping these regulations. They also believe regulations should
be seen as guidelines, and they should be national, minimal, flexible,
62
inclusive, and performance-based. This section is more descriptive than
analytical. It begins to set the tone for the insights that emerge from this
dissertation – that there are many conflicting and converging views about the
nature and the future of mediation.
I. Sociological Theories of Professions
While there is little consensus among sociologists on what makes a
professional (Freidson, 1983), there does seem to be agreement that
professionalization is a feature of the occupational structure in advanced
industrialized societies (Larson, 1977), and that professionals are growing in
number (Brint, 1994). Before World War II only one percent of all employed
people in the United States were college educated and classified as
professional workers compared to twelve times that many today (Brint,
1994:3). The most highly educated of all strata, today’s professionals are
considered distinct from business executives and managers and include most
doctors, natural, social and computer scientists, engineers, certified public
accountants, economists, lawyers and some clergy.
Professions have been around since the 13th century; their modern
history developed with the emergence from the dominance of the church and
guilds in the late medieval period (Brint, 1994). The clergy were the first
profession to organize, law was next having emerged during the second half
63
of the 12th century, then medicine organized during the 15th century.
Professions are considered different from other occupational forms of work
because of their autonomy and control over the work that they do, most often
with the support of the state.
Professionalization refers to the progress of an occupation toward
professional status. Most theorists seem to agree that professionalization is
linked to social production and certification of knowledge. It is both a social
and an economic institution and one that encourages strong identification with
work (Brint, 1994). Views of professionalization have changed over time and
been studied in different ways. Early theorists adopted a structural-functional
and trait-approach which emphasized ideal-type characteristics and social
reproduction (Parsons, 1939; Carr-Saunders and Wilson, 1933; Hughes,
1958; Greenwood, 1957; Millerson, 1964). Professions were distinguished
from occupations based on their systematic education and knowledge, and
whether the work was viewed as being in the interests of the social good.
Combining naturalism and typology, researchers examined the life history of
a particular occupation, reviewed what were then considered essential traits,
and, based on an “ideal-type” in Weber’s sense, decided whether it really was
a profession. One of the classic studies by Carr-Saunders and Wilson (1933)
investigated more than thirty vocations that were granted or claimed
professional status. The authors came up with characteristics typical of
64
professions by identifying what they had in common and how they differed.
Later on Greenwood (1957) argued for set of attributes of a profession:
systematic theory, professional authority, sanction of the community,
regulative codes of ethics, and a culture. Later still, Goode (1972) identified
professions as a community within society by virtue of eight characteristics: 1)
once in it few leave, 2) members are bound by a sense of identity, 3) shared
values, 4) role definitions are agreed upon and the same for all, 5) common
language, 6) community has power over its members, 7) clear social limits,
and 8) controls the next generation through selection, training and
socialization (p. 17).
Many non-professional occupations have the same characteristics as
professional groups, but to lesser degrees. Greenwood (1957) and Pavalko
(1971; 1972) saw these attributes distributed along a continuum with the
undisputed professionals at one end (doctors, lawyers), the less developed and
less prestigious scattered in the middle (clerical, sales crafts) and the least
skilled at the other end (truck drivers, cleaning staff). Pavalko's scale allows
professions to be defined according to differences of degree, rather than of kind.
Thus, established professions would have most if not all of the attributes, wouldbe professions would have some of the characteristics, and non-professions
would have none of the attributes.
65
Critics of the trait-based approach found fault with its atheoretical
character. They also rejected the fact that it accepted professionals’
definition of themselves. And they argued that reliance on ideal-type
definitions make it difficult to compare cases (Johnson, 1972; Freidson,
1971). That such models implicitly accept that there are, or have been, “true”
professions exhibiting to some degree all of the essential elements is said to
be more idealistic than realistic (Johnson, 1972). Freidson (1971) believed it
a mistake to take for fact what professionals said to be true. He suggested
that what professionals say to justify their privileged might be better taken as
political ideology and not an intrinsic difference. Another criticism of the trait
approach is the absence of attempts to articulate the relationships among the
traits. For example, theorists did not look for a direct causal link between
expert knowledge and authority (or any other trait for that matter), nor did they
look for links resulting from elsewhere. Critics also questioned trait-based
theorist’s conclusions because they mostly studied Anglo-American culture at
points in the historical development of the profession (Johnson, 1972).
Classic trait-based theories were followed by process-approaches
thought to be more sensitive to social change. Accepting professionalization
as a natural process, theorists focused on the sequence of events that led to
becoming a profession rather than static traits (Caplow, 1954; Wilensky,
1964; Ritzer, 1977). Caplow (1954) identified four steps in the development of
a profession, Wilensky (1964) identified five steps, and then Ritzer (1977)
66
formulated a six-step process. His steps included: 1) full-time occupation, 2)
change of name, 3) development of professional associations, 4) training
schools, 5) code of ethics, and 6) political agitation to win popular support (p.
46-48). Process theorists were criticized, however, on the basis that process
simply replaced structure.
In 1964, the work of two sociologists, Wilensky and Millerson,
prompted theorists to posit that professionalization was a matter of power.
They argued that although many occupations aspired to control their training
and work, it was only professionals who succeeded due to their ability to
control areas of uncertainty and organize for collective validation. Using a
trait-based approach, they were the first to connect traits with political
concerns. Later, Johnson (1972), Larson, (1977), Klegon (1978), Freidson
(1971; 1983) and Ritzer and Walzack (1986) strongly rejected the trait
approach and argued that self-preservation was a more accurate reflection of
how their power and authority was used. This shifted the study of professions
to issues of control and dominance. Claims of dedication to service in the
public interest were challenged. Claims to high ethical standards were
thought only to protect the privilege of professionals. And claims of formal
knowledge were linked to power. In its extreme form, the power approach to
theory assumes no qualitative differences between professionals and nonprofessions except that the professions have greater power. The less
extreme variant argues that the power of the profession allows it to create the
67
traits necessary to be a profession or convince others that they possess the
required traits. Thus, the claim to professional status 25 is seen as a political
process where certain social conditions allow occupations to claim and
maintain autonomy and influence. Advocates of the power approach theory
believed that professionals gained their stature not by actually acquiring
certain characteristics, but by convincing others they had. By seeing
monopoly rather than control of relationships, power theorists moved the focus
of debate from the forms of professionalization to its functions. They posited
that the establishment of codes of ethics served the function of excluding
outsiders rather than allowing a natural evolution in the development of a
profession. Professions came to be seen as self-serving rather than
altruistically serving society at large. Power approach theories still dominate
much of contemporary professions literature.
Modern professions are distinguished from professions of yesteryear
in two important ways. First, today’s professions are being challenged on
what were once considered the hallmarks of a profession - placing the social
good before self-interest and claiming expert knowledge. Second, they have
a relationship to the political market. Today’s professionals are often salaried
employees in organizations who, because they submit to a bureaucratic
25
Claims to professional status are often accompanied by codes of ethics, associations, claims of
trustworthiness, performance of important social services, and holding the qualifications to do the
work.
68
system of managerial control, have lost much of their autonomy. Even
though there is a wide variation in organizational employment the character,
of the professional is diminished with standardized procedures and
centralized authority (Carr-Saunders, 1955). Interestingly, most professionals
in the 1990’s are employed in nonprofit and public sector work (Murphy,
1990; Brint, 1994). This is true for no other major socioeconomic group.
Another important aspect of today’s professionals is that they no longer think
of themselves as more important to society than other occupational groups
(Brint, 1994). Instead, their sense of identity is developed through a sense of
shared education and high level of expertise.
Contemporary approaches to the study of professions include political
and economic theories (Brint, 1994; Torstendahl and Burrage, 1990), class
theories (Freidson, 1986), and systems theories (Abbott, 1988). Brint defines
the essential characteristics of professions as a form of organization that has
nothing to do with public service, ethical standards or collegial control, and he
suggests that profit making has taken precedence over public welfare.
Brint’s characterization of a modern professional is based on American
studies, others do not have such harsh depictions (Carr-Saunders, 1955).
Brint points to the de-regulation climate of the 1960’s in the United States as
the point in time when professional work began to be viewed as a commercial
activity. During these years bans on advertising, standard fees for service
and the expectation of pro bono work were abandoned. In turn, this changed
69
an important component of the professional environment - that of social
trusteeism. He, like others, believes that it is through professional
associations and the regulatory state that professions gain control over how
their work is to be accomplished. Brint supports the notion that professions
are the new form of middle-class labor (1994:25). Carr-Saunders links the
change in the character of a profession as a “movement toward specialization
in general” (1955:282) and a “disintegration of the traditional professional
concept” (p.286). Class theorists see higher education as the key to the
formation of a “new class” thus professionals constitute a class by virtue of
having higher education that they depend on for a living. Broadly defined, the
new class is an undifferentiated, broad white-collar class who do “clean” work
(Freidson, 1986:42). In new class theories, the claim to public service and
possession of specialized formal knowledge is used to distinguish them from
other occupational work. The ideology of professionalism and the demand for
autonomy are characteristic of the new class. In spite of common life-styles,
this new class does not act as a class and members have competing
interests.
Systems theory sees all aspects of the socio-cultural system directly or
indirectly related in a causal network. Looking at professions a part of a system
of professions can be largely attributed to the work of Andrew Abbott (1988).
Abbott questions the evolution and interrelations of professions, and believes
groups control their skill in two ways: 1) abstract knowledge and 2) technique
70
(such as in a craft). Abbott's main thesis is that professions compete by taking
over each others' tasks. Rothman (1984) refers to such an activity as
“encroachment”. In his article on the deprofessionalization of law, he points to
the law professions’ history of competition with accountants, bankers, realtors
and other professionals who sought to enhance their prerogative and rewards
by expanding into new areas previously the domain of law professionals.
Kronus (1976) defined the same phenomena as a problem of “boundary
maintenance”. In Abbott’s view, to study the professions is to examine the
tasks of professions, the groups that carry them out, and the changing links that
bind them to one another. Professional work is tied directly to a system of
knowledge that formalizes the skills on which the work proceeds. The ability of
a profession to sustain its jurisdiction lies partly in the power and prestige of its
academic knowledge. Academic knowledge accomplishes three tasks legitimation, research and instruction, which in turn influence the vulnerability of
professional jurisdiction from outside interference. Professions emphasise
theory rather than practice, for they control the former much more than the
latter. Although not arguing for a systems approach in the sense that Abbott
proposes, Haug (1973) predicted a “tug of war” as older professions try to
hang on to what they had and new workers try to lay hold of a piece of the
action. Just as older professions argued they were the experts, newer groups
profess to know and understand the work area. For Abbott, these claims of
work are described as claims over jurisdiction. Nonetheless, even though old
71
professions may fall prey to new ones, the argument is that professions
themselves are never totally eliminated (Abbott, 1988; Murphy, 1990).
To summarize, the study of the professions asks important questions.
When and how knowledge affects social structure? What social conditions
determine who will control what kinds of knowledge? It is grounded in
historical comparisons that allow us to account for variation and for the
dynamics of change. “Post-revisionist” theories suggest “it is not the
existence of knowledge that is crucial, but how it is socially organized”
(Collins, 1990:18). This leads Murphy, to define a profession as “a new
governing class whose power is based on the control not of the means of
production, but of the means of knowing in a post-industrial system
increasingly founded on technology” (1990:71).
The ability to mediate, as in other professions, concerns complex
human relationships. A mediator’s work is not based solely on scientific
knowledge or technically specialized skills. Instead their knowledge is largely
tacit and their skills are potentially available to others. This means that the
basis upon which they claim authority to practice is regularly open to
challenge. Thus, mediators are forced to gain credibility by projecting an
impression of professionalism. They try to foster the impression that they are
experts, they manage their rapport to build trust with the parties, and they
legitimate their efforts by mobilizing data (Kolb, 1985).
72
The right to claim expert knowledge and lay claim over areas of work
is at the heart of the credentialing debate in mediation.
Fueling the debate
is the fact that there is still little agreement about core values or knowledge
areas, there is also not a system of language that is generally understood by
those who work as mediators 26. Thus far, legislative restrictions have not
been sensitive enough to the various mediation approaches currently being
used in the field. This in turn, constricts rather than enriches mediation
practice (Waldman, 1996). The following presents some of the debates
about, and activities directed toward, regulating the practice of mediation.
The Regulation of Mediation
The debate over the regulation of mediation has been going on for the
last decade or more27. Recent focus has been on the issue of credentialing 28,
along with how and what to require when it comes to certifying mediators.
The discussion has focused less directly on the issue and value of regulation
per se. Instead, the controversy has been generated by talk of restricting
entry into a field, which has traditionally prided itself on accessibility, and on
grassroots people-skills. What started in the mid-1960’s as a move to "de-
26
This is a major insight of this research – that while mediators use common words to describe their
work, they do not always mean the same thing.
27
In 1987, the Commission on Qualifications of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution
(SPIDR) was formed to study the question of what qualifies someone to be a dispute resolver.
28
I use the term credentialling to refer to accreditation, certification, and licensing as forms of selfregulation that imply the setting of standards and measurement of conformity by an organization or
institution. I include these activities when I use the terms regulation and professionalization.
73
professionalize" legal institutions for problem-solving and dispute settlement
appears to many critics to have come full circle.
This debate within mediation reflects a range of interests and practices
at work.
At one extreme are the neighbourhood centres espousing
voluntarism, self-help and peer relationships. At the other end
are highly trained professionals who want to make a decent
livelihood carving out a niche in the professional world of help
somewhere between career diplomats, organizational
consultants, lawyers and therapists. Clustered along both ends
are differing views of charging fees and differing perspectives
on credentialing (Kraybill and Lederach, 1992).
Discussions of credentialing for practicing mediators evoke strong
reactions, both positive and negative. While applauding the field’s growth in
stature, some find the discourse about credentialing troubling. They fear that
elitism may threaten personal and social empowerment. Proponents argue
that mediation demystifies and de-institutionalizes formal settlement
mechanisms. They believe that through mediation the resolution of conflict is
drawn away from “ professionals” and returned to those most affected by it,
thereby empowering participants and stimulating social transformation. The
fear is that the apparent, and some would say inevitable, move to
professionalize the field may place individual and collective empowerment at
risk as “grass-roots” and volunteer mediators are marginalized because they
do not meet the requirements of a “professional” mediator.
74
In a previous study (Picard, 1994), Pavalko’s occupation-profession
continuum was used to analyze the activities of the contemporary mediation
movement. This study found that mediation had advanced considerably in all of
Pavalko's trait characteristics to varying degrees. When placed on his
continuum, four of the eight traits (relevance to basic social value, motivation,
sense of commitment, and community) fell along the professional end. Less
clear were the remaining four traits (theory, training, autonomy, code of ethics).
Although each trait had made considerable advancement and were at varied
points along the occupation-profession continuum, they were judged to lie
toward the non-professional, rather than the professional end of the continuum.
Given that Pavalko admits that it is difficult to determine which trait is more
important and that no one profession would exhibit all of the dimensions to a
high degree, the study concluded that mediation was a “profession in the
making” (p. 157). Carr-Saunders (1955) would refer to contemporary mediation
as a “would-be profession” bent on claiming recognition for the expertise that its
members hold. Both theories lead to the speculation that standardization and
a system of certification for mediators will be established in the future. As an
emerging profession multiple and complex activities are likely to be going on
within the field. This research found this to be true.
A number of questions arise with the move to be seen as a profession.
Should standards be set, and if so, by whom? What qualifies a person to
practice as a mediator? How do we assess mediator competency? What
75
initial and ongoing training is required? Who should govern the credentialing
of mediators? There is still no consensus on the answers to these questions.
Depending on the forum, there are guidelines describing mediator
qualifications and some standards to govern the process, but usually they are
advisory and not mandatory29. Some mediators argue that it is premature to
focus on questions of credentials and that doing so will hinder the
development of the field. Others believe that, while the licensing of mediators
by the state has yet to occur, legislators, judges and government agencies
are already deciding who may and may not mediate through program policy
and procedure decisions. The issues are contentious, and for good reason.
The creation of an organized group or subculture which would govern and
limit access to the field warrants intense scrutiny. The fear that mediation
may become exclusive and elitist appears justified when we look at what has
happened in the legal and health professions, to name only two.
Fueling the call for the setting of credentials is growing concern
regarding several views about mediation. First, that mediation is thought to
be “easy”. Second, that non-mediator trainers can teach mediation skills.
And third, that offering mediation is more important than the quality of service
29
See generally, Family Mediation Canada (FMC), “Practice Guidelines and Family Mediator
Certification Process,” 1997; Academy of Family Mediators (AFM), “Standards of Practice for Family
and Divorce Mediation,” 1995; Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR), “Ethical
Standards of Professional Responsibility,” 1986; National Association for Mediation in Education
(NAME), “Recommended Standards for School-Based Peer Mediation Programs,” 1996; Arbitration
and Mediation Institute of Ontario Inc., “Rules of Procedure for the Conduct of Mediators,” (nd).
76
that is offered (Herrman, 1993). These ideas raise concerns about how to
stop individuals without “approved” credentials and with little or no hands-on
mediation experience from practicing as mediators or mediation trainers.
Those advocating for setting criteria for practicing mediators argue that
credentials would protect the consumer and the integrity of mediation.
Opponents maintain that inappropriate barriers for entry into the field would
be created and dissemination of peacemaking skills in society at large
hampered. Currently, none of the various commissions struck to study and
report on these and other related questions have had their recommendations
implemented by the field as a whole.
The fear of creating a monopoly lies at the heart of the credentials
debate. Certification and licensing would have significant implications not
only for mediators who deal with family, corporate, public policy and
international disputes, but also for those working in neighbourhood centres,
schools and other community-based programs. There is the concern that
services now offered by these groups will no longer be recognized as
legitimate, causing public favour and funding to be lost. Non-adversarial
dispute settlement options, it is argued, would be available only to the elite
and the wealthy - one of the problems with formal justice systems which
mediation innovators set out to change.
77
If mediation becomes a “profession”, as defined sociologically, critical
theorists predict occupational closure; in other words a "formalization of
informalism" (Pirie, 1994). This predication underlies this study’s interest in
examining what mediation means today.
The professionalization of mediation
underlies this work for two other reasons. First, it is a contemporary and
contentious topic. Every principal association in North America has undertaken
studies, formed committees and presented reports on the subject30. Should
mediators have professional degrees? What training do they need? How will
we know if a person is qualified to mediate? Although advanced degrees are
not viewed as legitimating mediator performance, instead performance-based
standards are being emphasized by the majority of associations, the tendency
by government and legal institutions has been to require them 31. In the case of
lawyers, stipulations are being placed on length of time in legal practice32.
30
See generally, Honeyman, “On Evaluating Mediators,” Negotiation Journal, 1990; the Society of
Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR), Qualifying Neutrals: the Basic Principles., Report of the
SPIDR Commission on Qualifications. 1989, and Ensuring Competence and Quality in Dispute
Resolution, 1995; Edelman, “A Commentary on Family Mediation Standards”, Mediation Quarterly,
1986; Morris and Pirie, Qualifications for Dispute Resolution: Perspectives on the Debate. 1994;
Waldman, “The Challenge of Certification: How to Ensure Mediator Competence While Preserving
Diversity,” University of San Francisco Law Review, 1996; NIDR, Performance-Based Assessment: A
Methodology for use in Selecting, Training and Evaluating Mediators, 1995; English, Family
Mediation Canada Standards and Certification Project, 1993; Hart, “Draft Model Guidelines for
Court-Connected Mediation Programs,” a paper presented to the Canadian Bar Association, 1998;
Shaw, Singer and Povich, “National Standards for Court-Connected Mediation Programs,” Family and
Conciliation Courts Review Vol. 31 No. 2, 1993:156-225.
31
For example, some American states now require advanced degrees including Alabama, Virginia,
Florida, and some parts of California. If not a lawyer, mediators can be a psychiatrist, a certified public
accountant, or have a Master’s degree or better from any of the social or behavioural sciences.
32
In Canada, the Law Society of British Columbia requires three years experience. In the United States,
the state of New Hampshire requires trial experience of ten years. In Florida, for trial court level matters
over $15,000 a mediator must be a Florida attorney in good standing with at least 5 years membership in
the Florida Bar; for Family Circuit Court they must be a licensed attorney from any jurisdiction for at least
4 years (or they can be a psychiatrist, a certified public accountant, or have a Master’s degree or better
from any of the social or behavioural sciences).
78
Requiring a degree to practice as a mediator even though there is no evidence
to support that formal education is required to be a competent neutral and
knowing that they would create barriers of entry to the field, fits classic patterns
of professionalization. Is what we see happening the beginning of occupational
closure and elitism? Second, there are many prominent and thoughtful people
in the field who see professionalization as a natural and progressive activity and
it is easy to be convinced by their arguments. Proponents posit many benefits
to professionalization including being able to ensure quality service, maintain
the integrity of the process, and protect the consumer. Referring to mediation
as a profession would accord it dignity, confer practitioners with a higher degree
of respect, and provide financial benefits. The danger lies in defining mediation
too narrowly, thus constricting rather than enriching mediation practice, and
defining it before the complexities of its present nature are fully known.
Two points can be made about the debates on regulations that have
formed to date. The first has to do with the tenor or the nature of the
discourse. That tenor has taken on a distinctly narrow and “legalistic” tone,
one which focuses on agents, techniques and processes, and the access to
them, not on the wider purposes or goals of those processes or techniques.
Importantly, it uses legal arenas of dispute resolution as the reference point
against which the practices and agents of mediation are assessed. The
second point is that in the absence of any consensus by the practitioners and
79
in the absence of an explicit regulatory schemes, informal credentialing has
been occurring through the practices of the state, notably in mandated
mediation programs such as Ontario’s33. The danger is twofold. First, that
the direction of the field will be decided in large part by the dictates and needs
of the state, of the legal profession, and of the formal legal institutions which
mediation was intended to supplant. Second, that formal regulatory
schemes, when they arrive, will follow the practices and directions already in
place. This second point requires some elaboration.
It is clear from the North American experience in recent years that
there is increasing interest on the part of various governments and of the
legal profession in alternate processes of dispute resolution in general and in
mediation in particular. In Canada, legislation providing for the use of
mediation is relatively new and most of it is silent on the issue of qualifications
of mediators. The first to pass “enabling” legislation was the government of
the Yukon Territory, in 1992. This legislation allowed for mediation in
environmental disputes. In June of that same year, the Canadian
33
Ontario has a model of mandated mediation in civil matters that favours the evaluative approach,
which focuses on entitlements, efficient case management, advice, and links to and from the formal
court system. While there is no one standard as to qualifications, credentials, training, models of
mediation, performance standards and so on, what is evident in the operational scheme is the focus on
attaining quick settlements and avoiding costly trials. Larger goals of a facilitative, more relational
focus on needs, experience and transformation are nowhere to be found. Under the legislation,
mediators are provided free to the parties for a three-hour session; if a settlement is not reached, then
the parties either pay themselves for further mediation or go to court. A “good” mediator is one who
can get a settlement, and because the parties’ lawyers are effectively choosing the mediators from a
roster of mediators, those who are favoured (and who will therefore survive in business) are those who
opt for an evaluative model of mediation 33 . Facilitative and transformative model concerns, which are
needs-based and focus on the parties reaching a solution themselves are lost.
80
Environmental Assessment Act was given final reading; it provided for the
use of mediation in a variety of situations and outlined the procedure for the
appointment of a mediator (Diepeveen, 1992). Canada’s Divorce Act
requires lawyers to mention mediation to their clients, and the federal Young
Offenders legislation encourages the use of alternative measures, which in
some provinces results in referral to mediation programs. Legislation passed
in Ontario in 1990 made mediation of no-fault benefit disputes mandatory.
Consequently, the Ontario Insurance Commission set up a special division,
the Dispute Resolution Group, to be responsible for the delivery of fair, fast,
cost-efficient and effective methods of resolving disputes relating to benefits
awarded between insured persons and insurers. In January of 1992, the
Ontario government proclaimed a new Arbitrations Act, which encourages
business people to use alternative dispute resolution as a way of settling
disagreements without the expense and delay of litigation. And in 1995, the
Ontario government passed a practice direction setting out new procedures to
set up ADR centres in Toronto and Ottawa. None of this legislation defines
who can mediate. There is a strong argument to be made that this may
change, given the American precedent where legislators are deciding who
can mediate, who certifies those eligible to mediate, and the standards for
mediating particular types of cases.
Arguments in favour of regulating mediation have much to do with
ensuring quality of service and consumer protection. Arguments against the
81
regulation of mediation stem from fears that many of the early visions of
mediation will be lost. While the jury is still out on the need for regulation per
se, practices and procedures are being put in place by state-run mediation
programs that may by default construct a regulatory scheme for certain types
of disputes. The concern, of course, is that these precedents reflect the
needs of state, not the need of the disputing parties, nor the needs of society
at large, and are too restrictive thus, hinder the development of the field.
They also threaten the grassroots nature of the work that many mediators are
engaged in doing. Furthermore, it is likely that regulatory schemes would
develop from “custom”. In this case, custom is likely to be defined on the
basis of state-run programs, not from the range of models that exist
elsewhere.
This next section presents mediation trainer-practitioners views about
the regulation of mediation. As will be seen, the mediators in this study are
no more in accord about the creation of norms than those found in the
literature. The section also highlights some of the concerns of respondents
as a result of activities they perceived to be taking place within the field.
II. Respondents Views About Regulating Mediation
In light of the current debates about regulating the practice of
mediation it seemed pertinent to gather data in this study on how efforts to
standardize were viewed by respondents. It also seemed warranted to ask
82
questions regarding some of the concerns of respondents with respect to
changes they see happening within mediation. The information that follows
was collected by way of the final survey questionnaire through a series of
open-ended and rank-order questions. The results of these questions are
reported on now rather than in the data analysis chapters of this dissertation
because of their connection to the topic of this chapter. Also because of the
correlation between the results and what has been painted of professionals in
the extant literature.
Respondents are not in agreement about whether the practice of
mediation should be regulated. When asked whether they agreed or
disagreed with the idea of licensing of mediators, almost equal numbers of
respondents strongly agreed (21%) as strongly disagreed (20%) with the
idea34. Family mediators were more in accord with the idea of licensing than
any other group ; three-quarters (75%) of them agreed with the idea. This was
in contrast to respondents from the workplace (64%) and business (59%)
sectors who did not agree with the idea of requiring mediators to be licensed.
Community trainer-practitioners were split on the question. Perhaps it is not
surprising to find family mediators so supportive of licensing. Since 1986,
Family Mediation Canada has devoted considerable attention to the topic of
certification. In April 1993, the Board of established a “Standards and
34
The overall split was 52% in agreement with the licensing of mediators and 48% who disagreed with
licensing.
83
Certification Project” to work toward developing a code of ethics, standards of
practice and training and continuing education for family mediators. In 1996,
Practice, Certification and Training Standards were adopted and have
subsequently been implemented. As a result of these activities, family
mediators are quite familiar with the idea of controlling who is eligible to
practice in the field. Such cannot be said of individuals who work in the
workplace, business or community sectors as organized and systematic talk
about standards and certification is considerably more recent.
Individuals with business backgrounds are the most opposed to
licensing (69%), while those with law (59%) and social science (55%)
backgrounds tend to be slightly more in agreement than disagreement with
the idea. Men (58%) are slightly more in agreement that women (46%).
While neither the background nor the gender alone of an individual have a
strong impact on their views about licensing, clustering their background and
gender with how long they have been mediating do show considerable
differences. Whereas three-quarters of newcomer 35 men favour the idea of
licensing, less than half of veteran men do not (Table 2). A similar pattern
occurs for women mediators – two thirds of this group agree with licensing
while only one-third of veterans have the same opinion.
35
Newcomers are those with less than 6 years of experience mediating while veterans have 6 or more
years of mediation experience.
84
Table 2. Views on Licensing, Years and Gender
NEWCOMER
MEN
VETERAN
MEN
NEWCOMER
WOMEN
VETERAN
WOMEN
TOTAL
DISAGREE
21% (3)
54% (13)
38% (6)
63% (15)
48% (37)
AGREE
79% (11)
46% (11)
63% (10)
35% (8)
52% (40)
TOTAL
100% (14)
100% (24)
100% (16)
100% (23)
100% (77)
77 valid cases; 11 no responses
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Newcomer lawyers and those with business and social science
backgrounds agree with the idea of licensing whereas the reverse is true for
veterans (Table 3). Most veterans with business backgrounds disagree with
the idea of licensing mediators as do more than half of veteran lawyers and
veterans with social science backgrounds. Thus, the longer individuals have
been mediating the less likely they are to be in favour of controlling the field
through the licensing of mediators.
Table 3. Views on Licensing, Years and Educational Background
Newcomer
Law
Veteran
Law
Newcomer
Social
Science
Veteran
Social
Science
DISAGREE
25% (3)
60% (6)
33% (5)
52% (14)
33% (1)
80% (8)
48% (37)
AGREE
75% (9)
40% (4)
67% (10)
48% (13)
67% (2)
20% (20)
52% (40)
100% (12) 100% (10) 100% (15) 100%(27)
100% (3)
TOTAL
77 valid cases; 11 no responses
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Newcomer Veteran
Business Business
Total
100% (10) 100% (77)
85
Why is it that experience in the field leads one to believe there is less
of a need for restrictions? Perhaps it reflects that over time fears about the
lack of regulation become less founded. Or, could it be that the veterans’ fear
that they would not meet the “new requirements” a better-educated group
might try to impose? Both these speculations need further study.
Respondents seem to be in more agreement on other questions
relating to the regulation of mediators. Most (84%) agree that if standards are
set they should be performance-based. There is also agreement (87%) that
no single organization should dictate standards and that mediation
associations alone should not decide who is qualified to mediate (77%). A
large number of respondents (94%) agree that the number of licensed
mediators should not be controlled. As well, most (80%) agree that a marketbased approach is not sufficient to protect consumers.
On the topic of training, there is also considerable agreement. Most
(70%) trainer-practitioners in this study believe that mediators do not need
university or college training. Those who think that mediators do require
university or college training come from the community and family sectors.
Almost all respondents (96%) believe that a law background is not a
prerequisite for becoming a mediator. The majority (75%) of respondents
think that mediation trainers should be accredited, however, they do not
86
agree that the content of mediation training courses should be regulated almost equal numbers of respondents said “yes” as said “no” to this question.
Opinions about training are strongly influenced by how long an
individual has worked as a mediator. Whereas all (100%) male respondents
with less than six years experience agree that the field is overpopulated with
minimally trained mediators, only sixty-one percent of men with six to ten
years experience and only half (50%) of men with more than ten years
experience agree with this statement. While not as strong, a similar pattern
occurs with women respondents. Two thirds of women (64%) with less than
six years experience agree with their male counterparts that mediators are
under trained. This is in contrast to women respondents with six to ten years’
experience who disagree (58%) with this statement. Interestingly, women
and men trainer-practitioners with more than ten years experience are not of
like minds on this subject. Whereas half of the men in this category disagree
with the statement that mediators are under trained, sixty-seven percent of
women agree with it. Might it be that mediators with less experience are
concerned that those with less education or training but who have more
experience are getting work as mediators?
Addressing Standards and Accreditation
Trainer-practitioners were asked how they would like to see the issue
of standards and accreditation addressed in Canada. The most common
87
response (34%) reflected the belief that the mediation community should be
involved in setting broadly defined national guidelines and professional
standards of practice. Little difference occurred between men (37%) and
women (32%) respondents. One woman respondent suggested that:
[Standards] should be national and multi-profession based (i.e.,
no monopoly). Collective determinism would allow the
possibility for parties to choose the background of the mediator
taking for granted that all mediators are trained and accredited
according to professional standards. [49/F/F/SS]36
While respondents think mediation associations should take leadership in the
establishment of standards, it is not always for the same reasons. Some
respondents were concerned that if mediators themselves did not set the
standards, other interest groups or government bodies would set them for
them. Other respondents were concerned by the lack of accountability. For
others, guidelines were seen as helpful to consumers. Still others believe
standards will provide a means by which they can measure their competence.
Other themes emerged. Respondents said that standards should be
inclusive and not restrictive; that they need to recognize that dispute
resolution occurs in a broad range of contexts; that they should be minimal
and flexible; and that they should be established jointly with all mediation
associations, user groups, and policy makers. To cite three examples:
This is a major issue of which I believe there are no simple
answers. I feel that there should be some broad standards
36
Attribution codes refer to Case 49 / Female / Family sector / Social Science background.
88
established by a working committee, composed of
governments, association and mediators representatives [with
broad input]; standards should not be so restrictive as to protect
established mediators but prohibit trained but inexperienced
mediators; most importantly, it should not be controlled or under
the direct influence of lawyers. Certain lawyers make fine
mediators but many are much too prescriptive, etc. [71/M/B/SS]
Another respondent offered her views on how to address the question of
standards and accreditation.
I would like to see us balance the need to set standards, with
the recognition that dispute resolution occurs within a broad
range of contexts. Defining a single set of standards could limit
and stifle the ideals of neighbourhood empowerment and
volunteerism. And yet without some sort of regulation, the field
is wide open to anyone wishing to call themselves a mediator,
with all the implied problems that situation causes to consumers
and to the mediation field as a whole. I would like to see us
recommend a set of guidelines for policy makers, trainers,
associations etc. that help to organize the discussion of what in
fact are the ingredients of " competence" for practitioners in the
context within which they work. That is, give mediators needed
training and expertise in specific areas and applications of
mediation. [143/F/W/SS]
And a third respondent suggested that we educate the consumer so they can
make informed decisions.
[I think we should] put resources towards public education and
informed consumers, then let the market decide as is the reality
in the real world, licenses/standards put consumers at a
disadvantage as they tend to abdicate their responsibilities to
make an informed decision [11/M/B/B]
The view of respondents’ views toward regulating the field of mediation
presented above depicts them as having strong and differing opinions about
the direction mediation should take regarding this issue. As will become
89
apparent in other chapters of this dissertation they also have pluralistic and
contrary understandings of mediation. It is, thus, not surprising that they
would have different opinions about the direction of mediation. This is further
evidenced in following section which overviews their concerns about the field.
Concerns about the Field
Mediation trainer-practitioners were asked to identify their concerns
about what is happening within the field of mediation. Responses were
coded into eight factors: 1) lack of work, 2) incompetence, 3) domination, 4)
regulation, 5) training, 6) under use, 7) style and 8) inappropriate use. The
three most frequently occurring responses were “domination” (23%),
“incompetence” (21%), and “inappropriate use” (13%). Many respondents
identified two or more different factors.
The coded category “domination” included fears that lawyers would
take over mediation. It also included the notion that domination by any one
group would exclude others and cause individuals to claim jurisdiction over
certain areas causing mediators to become competitive. Respondents spoke
about their fears of “mediation cliques” [319/M/B/L], and “guild-like turfing
behaviours” [140/M/W/SS] forming. They also spoke of “lawyers taking over
with little or no mediation training” [176/F/W/SS]; of there being “a danger that
various interests groups within the field will engage increasingly in the power
struggle over issues of regulations and qualifications, licensing” [290/M/W/B]
90
and, a fear that mediation would become “top-down service delivery rather
than community-based” [354/F/F/SS].
Both men and women respondents have concerns about “domination”
(Table 4). So too do those who have worked as a mediator ten or more years
- over half (52%) of this group identified the factor “domination” as a concern.
This concern lessens as the number of years an individual has worked
lessens. Of those with six to ten years’ experience only thirty-five percent
(35%) identified “domination”, and even fewer (29%) of those who began to
work as mediators within the last six years identified “domination”.
Table 4. Concerns of Respondents and Gender
CONCERNS
MEN
WOMEN
Lack of Work
15% (6)
20% (9)
Incompetence
43% (17)
24% (11)
Domination
35% (14)
38% (17)
Regulation
10% (4)
22% (10)
Training
18% (7)
9% (4)
Underuse
20% (8)
4% (2)
Style
10% (4)
11% (5)
Inappropriate Use
10% (4)
29% (13)
None
0% (0)
2% (1)
TOTAL
47% (40)
53% (45)
Percentages based on number of responses; more than one response may have been given.
85 valid cases; 3 missing cases.
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
91
The numbers also vary when respondents’ concerns are examined by
the dispute sector in which they most commonly mediate (Table 5).
Table 5. Concerns of Respondents and Dispute Sector
CONCERNS
COMMUNITY
FAMILY
BUSINESS
WORKPLACE
Lack of Work
23% (5)
14% (3)
21% (5)
13% (2)
Incompetence
23% (5)
48% (10)
21% (5)
44% (7)
Domination
23% (5)
38% (8)
46% (11)
44% (7)
Regulation
18% (4)
5% (1)
17% (4)
19% (3)
Training
5% (1)
14% (3)
25% (6)
6% (1)
Underuse
18% (4)
14% (3)
8% (2)
6% (1)
Style
9% (2)
10% (2)
17% (4)
6% (1)
Inappropriate Use
36% (8)
10% (2)
8% (2)
25% (4)
None
5% (1)
0% (0)
0% (0)
0% (0)
TOTAL
27% (22)
25% (21)
29% (24)
19% (16)
Percentages based on number of responses; more than one response may have been given.
83 valid cases; 5 missing cases.
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
The most frequently occurring factor for the business and workplace sectors
was “domination”. For those in the workplace sector, however, the category
“incompetence” had a similar number of responses. The second most
frequently occurring response after “domination” in the business sector was
“training”. “Training” includes comments made about the lack of research and
lack of attention being paid to developing a knowledge base and linking
theory with practice. It also included responses about the lack of
92
apprenticeship opportunities, assessment tools, and performance related
evaluation. This respondent’s comment reflects the sentiments of others.
Dispute resolution as a field, is relatively new arising in
response to a number of factors including overcrowded courts
and disenchantment with traditional legal dispute processing
mechanisms. There is a growing awareness of the essential
importance of examining dispute resolution theory and
methodology for cultural bias. We are a diverse, multicultural
nation. Does dispute resolution theory, training and practice fit
this reality? [143/F/W/SS]
Respondents working in the family sector are also concerned about
“domination”, however, they are more concerned about the number of
unqualified and incompetent mediators. Close to half of those who answered
this question identified the factor “incompetence” as a concern. Community
mediators, on the other hand, are concerned about the lack of attention being
paid to cultural issues and the institutionalization of mediation (“inappropriate
use”). Respondents from the community sector had three other concerns: 1)
“domination” - the fear that lawyers are taking over, 2) “incompetence” - the
lack of qualified mediators, and 3) the “lack of paid work”.
The factor “incompetence” included comments about there being too
many unqualified mediators and trainers; that many mediators were
inexperienced; and, concerns about the notion that “anyone” can mediate.
Respondents expressed views about “inexperienced or unqualified mediators
doing damage, and there being errors due to lack of content knowledge“
[360/MF/B], and about how “unqualified mediators are undermining the
93
integrity of what could become a noble profession” [195/M/B/L]. For some
respondents, incompetence was a reflection that incompetent mediators “do
not model the skills of mediation [221/F/W/L], and that “many mediators have
not done enough work at integrating the principles of mediation (respect,
awareness, honesty, genuineness) into their own lives before they turn to fix
other’s” [114F/C/SS]. “Incompetence” was of particular concern to family and
workplace mediators (Table 5). It was the most frequently occurring
response for respondents with a business background (50%). It was more
important to men than women (Table 4), and it was more frequent a response
for respondents with six to ten years’ experience.
One-third of the community sector commented on the “inappropriate
use” of mediation (Table 5). In fact, this factor was the most frequently
occurring response for this group. “Inappropriate use” as a conceptual
category includes concerns about the lack of attention being given to cultural
and ethnic issues; that mediation has come to be viewed as a panacea and
as a result cases are going to mediation that should not. Other “inappropriate
use” concerns have to do with the institutionalization and mandating of
mediation. One respondent stated that “organizations are using conflict
resolution as co-optation for those with less power” [176/W/SS]. Individuals
in the workplace sector are also concerned about “inappropriate use”. Of
those who answered this question, one-quarter of the responses indicated
this to be the case. For workplace mediators, “inappropriate use” was the
94
second most frequently occurring concern. For them, “domination” and
“incompetence” were of more concern. These figures are high when
compared to family and business mediators. Only ten percent (10%) of
family mediators and eight percent (8%) of the business sector mediators
identified “inappropriate use” as a concern.
In addition to the three most frequently occurring concerns “domination”, “incompetence” and “inappropriate use”, respondents also
expressed concerns about “regulation" of the field, however, their concerns
differed. Whereas some respondents felt that there was too much regulation,
others thought that there was too little. For example, comments were made
that there was an “over emphasis on certification” [147/F/W/SS], and that
there was a “rush to regulation, qualification and credentialling [in other
words] too many shoulds” [52/F/?/SS]. One respondent stated, “my fear is
that we over credentalize the profession and mediators become quasi
lawyers” [243/F/W/SS]. On the other hand, those in favour of regulating the
field were concerned that due to a lack of standards “anyone can put out a
shingle and call him or herself a mediator” [312/F/C/SS]. Another respondent
with the same concern stated that because of “lack of controls -- anyone can
hang up their shingle -- with or without the necessary skills [which] really
worries me because mediation can be destructive if not properly processed “
[327/F/C/L]. The least number of responses identifying “regulation” as a
95
concern came from the family sector (5%); from men (10%), from
respondents with a business background (8%), and from respondents with
more than ten years experience (10%).
The category “underuse” reflects respondents’ concerns about the lack
of acceptance of mediation, the lack of understanding about what mediation
is, and the resistance to its use.
More specifically one business respondent
was concerned by the “lack of legitimacy and acceptance in public processes
at upper government levels” [297/M/B/B]. Others are concerned about “the
confusion in the public about its nature and how it differs from other dispute
resolution processes” [170/M/F/SS], and “the lack of acceptance in the legal
community” [48/M/W/SS]. Men are much more concerned about “underuse”
than women (Table 4). Trainer-practitioners with more than ten years
experience are also more concerned about “underuse” than those who have
been working fewer years. Of those with more than ten years experience
who answered this question nineteen percent (19%) listed “underuse” as
compared to nine percent (9%) of respondents with less than six years
experience and seven percent (7%) of respondents with six to ten years
experience. Of those individuals working in the community sector who
answered this question, eighteen percent (18%) identified “underuse” as a
concern compared to fourteen percent (14%) of respondents from the family
section, eight percent (8%) from the business sector and only six percent
(6%) of the workplace sector (Table 5).
96
Two other concerns were coded from the responses and are worth
mentioning even though there were not all that many responses. “Style”
relates to a concern about the move towards more evaluative, directive and
rights-based styles of mediation. One respondent expressed her concern
about there being “pressure to mediate in short time frames through a
settlement orientation, [resulting in] inadequate attention to relationship,
reports and screening for domestic violence and power imbalance”
[177/F/SS]. Another respondent is concerned that “some mediators are
practicing a “head bashing” solution focused style [of mediation] thus
participants have described very negative experiences” [257/F/F/SS].
Individuals with five or less years experience were the least concerned about
this factor (5%), while individuals in the business sector had some concerns
(17%), as did respondents with law backgrounds (20%).
The category “lack of work” includes responses about it being hard to
make a living as a mediator, that fees are low, and that too many people are
being trained. On this latter point, one respondent said there are “too many
mediators for the volume of mediation required [which] leads to possible
deterioration of skills when called so infrequently” [144/M/C/L]. Another
respondent was more blunt about there being too many mediators being
trained saying that “everybody and his dog are mediators“ [189/F/C/SS].
97
It can be said that mediation trainer-practitioners in Canada have
mixed opinions with regard to regulating mediation and that they have a
number of concerns about various goings-on within the field. Some of them
relate to a perceived take over by the legal community. Andrew Abbott
(1988) would link this activity to the legal profession defending its jurisdiction
against new ways of handling social conflicts, and against new professionals
expanding into areas previously reserved for law. The fear of course is that
domination by the legal community would exclude others and cause
mediation to become a more elitist and competitive work form.
Conclusion
This chapter has provided an overview of various sociological theories
of professions along with an overview of activities taking place in relation to
the regulation of mediation. Just as social science theory has changed, so
too have theories of professionalization. In the period from about 1930 to
1950, theorists used structural functional, trait and process theories. During
the new political climate of the 1960’s they argued that professions imposed
definitions of needs and services on clients thus shifting the focus to issues of
power, control and dominance. By the end of the 1970’s, the study of
professions focused on the inherently political nature of internal professional
activity, and the significance of professionalism on the wider political social
structure. In more recent years researchers turned to theories of the state,
political, market, system and social change theories to understand
98
professions. Trait-based theories would link the activities taking place within
mediation to those of an emerging profession. Systems theory would
conclude from the same set of activities and emphasize that there is a “turfwar” taking place between those who have traditionally claimed the right to do
conflict work and those who are trying to infringe on this work claim.
The discussion of respondents’ views about regulating the field of
mediation depicts mediators at this point in time as having strong and
differing opinions about the direction mediation should take. In fact, there is
as much disagreement about whether mediators should be licensed as there
is agreement. If regulation is to occur, the opinion of respondents is that the
mediation community, in conjunction with user groups and government,
should set broadly defined national guidelines that are minimal, flexible,
inclusive, and performance-based. Respondents in this study also
commented on the apparent perception that “anyone can mediate”, giving rise
to the fear that an increasing number of mediators might have insufficient
training and experience. Community mediators are concerned about the lack
of attention being paid to cultural and ethnic issues, while others are
concerned about the trend to use more evaluative and entitlement-based
styles of mediation. Finding different views and different concerns is not
surprising given the many understandings of mediation found in the literature,
and as will be seen, with mediators in this study. Perhaps one of the more
striking insights from the analysis of mediators’ views is that with experience
99
fears about the lack of regulation become less prevalent. While we cannot
know if this would be true of the larger population, it should tell us that we
would not want to listen to only one set of voices, especially those more
recent to the field. In fact, the findings in this chapter suggest that there is not
a consensual voice about what the future of the field should hold nor does
there appear to be one that is emerging.
In the following chapter the sample of mediators found in this study are
described. It examines their personal demographics as well as differences in
their incentives to mediate by gender, educational background, the dispute
sector in which they work and the length of time they have been mediating, all
of which give us a snapshot of current day mediation trainer-practitioners. As
will be seen mediators are a diverse group.
100
Chapter Four
Profiling Mediation Trainer-Practitioners in Canada
Introduction
This chapter paints a portrait of mediation trainer-practitioners in
Canada during the late 1990’s 37. Personal demographics, education, work
status, fee structure, and incentives to mediate are compared and contrasted
using four contextual variables: 1) gender; 2) dispute sector; 3) educational
background; and, 4) number of years working as a mediator.
Three general conclusions have been drawn from the analysis
presented in this chapter. Firstly, individuals who work in this occupation are
a diverse group and characteristic of other mediators in Canada. Secondly,
what attracts an individual to work as a mediator has changed over the last
number of years. And thirdly, how long an individual has worked as a
mediator is more likely to be an indicator of what drew them to work as a
mediator than their gender, the dispute sector in which they work, or their
educational background. To illustrate this, respondents who have worked as
37
The information is based on a sample of 88 mediation trainer-practitioners from across Canada who
completed an eighteen-page written questionnaire consisting of mostly open-ended questions. The
data set was compiled from the following sources: 1) the Network: Interaction for Conflict Resolution
1997 membership list; 2) a 1996 list compiled by Family Mediation Canada; 3) a list of names
suggested by the Canadian Foundation for Dispute Resolution; 4) the 1997 Arbitration and Mediation
Institute of Ontario Directory of Members; 5) the Ontario Bar Association 1996 list of ADR
practitioners; 6) the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society 1997 Directory; and, 7) the Mediation
Development Association of British Columbia. These sources were supplemented with data contained
in the 1995 Department of Justice report entitled, Dispute Resolution in Canada: A Survey of Activities
and Services. Any individual who self-identified as a mediation trainer and practitioner was included
in the sample.
101
mediators ten or more years are highly motivated by the ideological goals of
social change and empowerment. Respondents who have more recently
come to do the work of a mediator are more likely to be drawn to mediation
for personal career goals. Finding the work personally challenging and
satisfying is what sustains the interest of most respondents’, whether
newcomer or veteran, in continuing to work as mediators.
For the most part, the findings presented in this chapter are
descriptive. More complex analysis, which examines the combinations and
patterns of differences, are carried out in Chapters 5, 6 and 7. The principle
goal of this chapter is to present the characteristics of Canadian mediation
trainer-practitioners as a group. It is worth noting once again that eligibility for
inclusion in the sample for this study required that individuals be both
practicing mediators and mediation trainers. No other study in the extant
literature used a similar study group.
While the above requirement may set respondents apart from the
general mediation population in Canada 38, based on the results of previous
research there appears to be considerable similarity between the two groups.
Kruk (1998), for example, found family mediators to have considerable life
and professional experience; to be on average forty-six years of age; and, the
38
The population of mediators in Canada includes anyone who practices as a mediator in an
organizational or institutional setting.
102
majority of family mediators to have either a masters level degree or law
degree. Almost two-thirds of the mediators in Kruk’s study work in private
practice; the others work in court or community based programs. Less than
ten percent (10%) of family mediators worked full-time as mediators – most
devote only about one third of their time to the practice of mediation.
Research carried out by the Network: Interaction for Conflict Resolution and
the Department of Justice Canada (1995) also found that dispute resolvers
favored private practice and that many viewed their dispute resolution
activities as a sideline to their main source of income.
Respondents in the study being reported on here were also found to
be mostly self-employed and working full time, devoting about one-quarter of
their professional work to mediation activities. Similar to family mediators in
Canada (Kruk, 1998), almost equal proportions of men and women work as
trainer-practitioners. They offer mediation services in a range of dispute
sectors, and the majority mediate in more than one sector. No notable
demographic differences were found to exist in this sample of mediators
when compared to the other two Canadian studies reported above.
There does not appear to be an existing profile of Canadian mediation
trainers. Finding that they are demographically similar to the general
mediation community is a useful insight. There is no reason, however, to
103
expect that they would be different given that new occupations commonly
train “their own”.
What follows is a detailed description of the eighty-eight individuals
who participated in this study. Each were working as mediation trainers and
practitioners in Canada in 1998. The first section of the chapter examines
personal demographics including age, gender, background, education,
training, experience, and work status. The second section examines what
attracts individuals to become mediators and what sustains their interest in
the work. Knowing the incentives for working as mediators may provide
insights into the current practice of mediation and allow us to make
predictions about mediation in the future.
I. Personal Demographics
Age, Gender and Background
q
q
q
q
q
Highlights
Most respondents are in their mid to late forties.
Most were born in Canada, as were their parents.
As a group, lawyers are the youngest.
Individuals with business backgrounds are the oldest.
A relatively equal number of men and women work as trainerpractitioners.
Trainer-practitioners tend to be in their forties and fifties (Table 6). The
mean age is forty-eight years and the range is thirty to seventy years.
104
Table 6. Age Groups
AGE GROUPS
FREQUENCY (n)
VALID PERCENT
30-39
10
12%
40-49
48
55%
50-59
23
26%
60-70
6
7%
Total
87
100%
87 valid cases; 1 missing case
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Respondents with a business background tend to be slightly older than the
rest of the sample (Table 7). Lawyers tend to be the youngest. These finding
are not that surprising given that the Canadian Bar Society only endorsed the
use of ADR in 1989 39 while alternative dispute resolution processes have
been used in commercial and community disputes for some time.
Table 7. Age Groups and Educational Background
AGE GROUP
LAW
SOCIAL
SCIENCE
BUSINESS
TOTAL
30 to 39
8% (2)
13% (6)
15% (2)
12% (10)
40 to 49
73% (19)
52% (25)
31% (4)
55% (48)
50 to 59
19% (5)
29% (14)
31% (4)
26% (23)
6% (3)
23% (3)
7% (6)
100% (48)
100% (13)
100% (87)
60 to 70
TOTAL
100% (26)
87 valid cases; 1 missing case
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
39
See the Canadian Bar Association, Report of the Canadian Bar Association Task Force on
Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Canadian Perspective, 1989.
105
Almost equal proportions of men (47%) and women (53%) in this study
work as mediation trainer-practitioners. The gender split in Ontario and
Alberta is relatively even while in British Columbia slightly more than half
(62%) of trainer-practitioners are women.
Most (80%) of the trainer-practitioners in this study were born in
Canada, as were many of their parents (65%). Another ten percent were
born in the United Kingdom while the remaining respondents were born in
Europe (5%), the United States (3%), the Caribbean (1%), and in South
America (1%). When asked if they identified with a minority group, threequarters (76%) of respondents said “no”. Those who answered “yes” to this
question were asked to indicate the group to which they most identified. The
distribution was as follows: Jewish (6%), French Canadian (3%), women
(3%), First Nations (2%), and physically disabled (2%).
Provincial Breakdown
q
q
q
Highlights
Close to half of the respondents live in Ontario.
Another third live in British Columbia and Alberta.
There is representation in the sample from all provinces except Prince
Edward Island, New Brunswick, and the Territories.
Close to half of the respondents in this study are from Ontario (Table
8). Another third live on the West Coast, either in British Columbia or Alberta.
106
Table 8. Questionnaire Distribution and Return by Province
PROVINCE
MAILOUTS
PERCENT
RETURNS
PERCENT
ALBERTA
36
10%
16
17%
BRITISH COLUMBIA
63
17%
18
20%
MANITOBA
19
5%
6
7%
NEWBRUNSWICK
4
1%
0
0%
NEWFOUNDLAND
7
2%
1
1%
NOVA SCOTIA
6
2%
1
1%
NORTH WEST
TERRITORIES
0
0%
0
0%
ONTARIO
190
51%
38
43%
PRINCE EDWARD
ISLAND
4
1%
0
0%
QUEBEC
21
6%
4
5%
SASKATCHEWAN
17
5%
4
6%
YUKON
0
0%
0
0%
TOTAL
370
100%
88
100%
88 valid cases; 0 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
These numbers are not all that surprising given that slightly more than
half of the questionnaires were mailed to Ontario residents (Table 8). Few
questionnaires were sent to trainer-practitioners living in Quebec40. The
numbers also reflect the fact that Ontario and the West Coast have been
hubs for mediation activity in Canada for some time. This was confirmed in
the Department of Justice study, which reported that the provinces of Ontario,
40
The instrument used to collect the data was in English only limiting the number that could be send to
French speaking Canadians in Quebec. There were a number of requests for a French version of the
questionnaire. A similar study should be carried out in French.
107
British Columbia and Alberta had the most dispute resolution activities
(1995:45). Furthermore, British Columbia formed one of the first professional
mediation associations in 1984. Family Mediation Canada was incorporated
a year later, as was The Network: Interaction for Conflict Resolution. Both of
these national organizations are located in Ontario.
Dispute Sectors
q
q
q
q
Highlights
Respondents work in four dispute sectors: community, family, workplace,
and business.
Most trainer-practitioners work in more than one dispute sector.
Men more typically work in the business sector and women in the
community sector.
For both men and women, family mediation is their second most active
sector.
Mediation trainer-practitioners work in various conflict arenas. This
was also noted in the Kruk (1998) and Justice (1995) studies. Based on the
responses of those who completed the research questionnaire, the various
types of disputes were organized into four distinct sectors: 1) business, 2)
family, 3) community, and 4) workplace (Diagram 1). The Business Sector
comprises the largest proportion of respondents – thirty percent (30%). It
includes trainer-practitioners who handle commercial, construction, public
policy, environmental, landlord-tenant, motor vehicle insurance, small claims,
and other civil disputes. The Family Sector makes up twenty-six percent
(26%) of respondents. They handle custody, access, property and other
108
issues relating to separation and divorce, as well as other family related
conflict situations. The Community Sector, which includes victim-offender,
school and church programs, and First Nations issues, also comprises
twenty-six percent (26%) of respondents. The Workplace Sector accounts for
eighteen percent (18%) of respondents and includes disputes that arise
between union and management and within organizations, as well as human
rights complaints.
Diagram 1: Distribution by Dispute Sectors
Workplace
Community
Business
Family
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Most members of the study group mediate in more than one dispute
sector. For example, community mediators mediate in schools and
universities, they mediate criminal and civil court cases as well as church
109
disputes; they rarely mediate labour disputes, public policy or environmental
issues.
Respondents who work in the family sector mediate some business,
workplace and community disputes but they rarely mediate criminal cases,
labor disputes, or public policy issues. Individuals who work in the business
sector tend to be the most eclectic in their practice. They mediate workplacebased issues, civil court cases, public policy, labour and environmental
issues, and in the educational and community sectors. They rarely, however,
mediate family/divorce cases. Respondents in the workplace sector mediate
community, business, family and educational disputes.
Male mediators more typically mediate in the business sector and they
work least often in the community sector (Table 9). The reverse is true for
women mediators.
Table 9. Dispute Sector and Gender
SECTOR
MALE
FEMALE
TOTAL
Community
15% (6)
35% (16)
26% (22)
Family
23% (9)
28% (13)
26% (22)
Business
45% (18)
17% (8)
30% (26)
Workplace
18% (7)
20% (9)
18% (16)
TOTAL
100% (40)
100% (46)
100% (86)
86 valid cases; 2 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
110
Some of the differences in where men and women more commonly
mediate may be accounted for by the fact that more than half (58%) of the
men have a law (39%) or business (19%) background (Diagram 2). This is in
contrast to only twenty-one percent (21%) of women with law degrees and
eleven percent (11%) with business backgrounds. Almost two-thirds (68%) of
the women in this sample have social sciences backgrounds. For both
women (28%) and men (22%), mediating family/divorce disputes is their
second most active dispute area.
Diagram 2: Gender and Educational Background
80
60
40
P
e
r
c
e
n
t
20
Gender
Male
0
Female
Law
Social Science
Business
Educational Background
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
111
Two-thirds of respondents with business backgrounds and one-half of
those with law backgrounds work in the business sector. Individuals with
social science backgrounds are more eclectic - one-third work in the
community sector, one-third in the family sector, one-quarter in the workplace
sector. Only twelve percent (12%) work in the business sector. This study
also shows provincial differences in the use of mediation services (Table 10).
Table 10. Dispute Sector and Province
DISPUTE
SECTOR
ALBERTA
BRITISH
COLUMBIA
ONTARIO
OTHER
TOTAL
Community
25% (4)
17% (3)
25% (9)
38% (6)
26% (22)
Family
19% (3)
33% (6)
22% (8)
31% (5)
26% (22)
Business
44% (7)
22% (4)
36% (13)
13% (2)
30% (26)
Workplace
13% (2)
28% (5)
17% (6)
19% (3)
19% (16)
TOTAL
100% (16)
100% (18)
100% (36)
100% (16)
100% (86)
86 valid cases; 2 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Education, Mediation Training and Experience
q
q
q
q
q
q
q
q
q
Highlights
Two thirds of respondents have started or completed a graduate degree.
Only 7% of the sample do not have university degrees.
More men than women have law degrees.
More women than men have graduate degrees.
Most individuals received their mediation training within the last 10 years.
Most were trained in Canada.
Two-thirds of the sample have worked as a mediator 7 or more years.
Lawyers are the most recent group to become mediators.
Mediators with business backgrounds have worked the longest.
112
Mediation trainer-practitioners are well educated - two-thirds (66%)
have completed or done some graduate studies, or have completed a law
bachelor degree. Only seven percent (7%) of respondents do not have
university degrees. Thirty-three percent (33%) of respondents have master’s
degrees, while twenty-three percent (23%) have law degrees.
Two-thirds of respondents with social science backgrounds are women
(Table 11). Men comprise two-thirds of those with law backgrounds and twothirds of individuals with business backgrounds.
Table 11. Educational Background and Gender
LAW
SOCIAL
SCIENCE
BUSINESS
Total
MALE
62% (16)
35% (17)
62% (8)
47% (41)
FEMALE
39% (10)
65% (32)
39% (5)
53% (47)
Total
100% (26)
100% (49)
100% (13)
100% 88
88 valid cases; 0 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
The majority of respondents (70%) received their mediation training
within the last ten years. As well, most (77%) of the study group attended a
mediation course held in Canada that was offered by the private sector or
professional associations. Few (11%) trainer-practitioners were introduced
to mediation in university.
113
Respondents have been working as mediators on average nine years;
the mode is ten years. Two-thirds (62%) have worked as mediators seven or
more years. Respondents have worked as trainers an average of six years
with a mode of two years. Only one-third (38%) of respondents have worked
seven or more years as a trainer.
Mediation trainer-practitioners with law backgrounds are the most
recent group to do this work; half of them have worked six or less years. On
the other hand, respondents with a business background have worked as
mediators the longest – more than three-quarters (77%) have worked seven
or more years. They are followed closely by trainer-practitioners with social
science backgrounds as two-thirds (65%) of the sample have also worked as
mediators seven or more years (Diagram 3).
Diagram 3: Background and Years as a Practicing Mediator
100
80
60
P
e
R
C
e
n
t
40
Educational
Background
20
Law
Social Science
0
Business
0-6yrs
Years mediating
7+yrs
114
Women and men have worked as mediators relatively the same number
of years. Close to two-thirds of women (61%) and two-thirds of men (63%)
have been mediating seven or more years.
Work Status
q
q
q
q
q
q
Highlights
Only 1/4 of respondents’ full-time work is spent mediating.
More men work full-time than women.
Family mediators work more often than other mediators.
Family mediators also train the most frequently.
Most trainer-practitioners are self-employed.
Community mediators are the exception as close to half of them work
as salaried employees.
Most of the respondents in this study work full time (83%), however,
mediation does not comprise all of their activities. While almost everyone
(95%) mediated within three months of completing the study questionnaire,
less than one-quarter (20%) work as mediators on a full-time basis. In fact,
almost half (45%) spend less than twenty-five (25%) percent of their time
mediating. This figure is similar to the Kruk study, which found that Canadian
family mediators spend only one-third of their time mediating (1998:12).
Respondents spend even less time training. Two-thirds (63%) spend
less than one-quarter of their time working as trainers. Only fourteen (14%)
percent spend more than half of their paid time as mediation trainers.
Seventy (70%) percent delivered fewer than ten courses in a two-year period.
115
Family trainer-practitioners mediate the most often (Table 12). This
should not be surprising given that as an occupational sector they are more
organized than any other sector. The formation of Family Mediation
Canada41 in 1985 helped to promote the use of mediation in a family context.
The passing of many provincial and federal laws supporting the use of
mediation has also helped family mediation flourish. The majority of
mediators in the community, business and workplace sectors mediate less
than five times per month.
Table 12. Monthly Mediations and Dispute Sector
COMMUNITY
FAMILY
BUSINESS
WORKPLACE
Total
Less than 5
times a month
80% (16)
41% (9)
72% (18)
63% (10)
64% (53)
6-10 times a
month
15% (3)
14% (3)
20% (5)
25% (4)
18% (15)
5% (1)
23% (5)
8% (2)
13% (2)
12% (10)
11-15 times a
month
16-20 times a
month
More than 20
times per month
TOTAL
100% (20)
9% (2)
2% (2)
14% (3)
4% (3)
100% (22)
100% (25)
100% (16)
100% (83)
83 valid cases; 5 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
41
Family Mediation Canada is an interdisciplinary association of lawyers, social workers, human
services and health care professionals working together to provide for cooperative conflict resolution
relating to separation, divorce, and other family conflict situations. Today all provinces and territories
have provincial mediation associations.
116
A similar pattern, albeit more muted, occurs when the number of
training courses delivered over the past two years is cross-tabulated with the
dispute sector in which they are most active. Once again, family mediation
trainer-practitioners train the most often - thirty-nine (39%) percent of the
sample have trained ten or more times during a two-year period. They are
followed closely by trainers in the community sector as one-third (33%) also
delivered ten or more courses, whereas only one quarter of the workplace
(27%) and business (25%) sectors delivered the same number of courses.
The majority of mediation trainer-practitioners in the study group are
self-employed (66%). Fewer than twenty percent (19%) of respondents who
work full-time are salaried employees. Being self-employed is particularly
true if respondents work in the business sector as three-quarters (77%) work
for themselves. Similarly, family mediation trainer-practitioners are selfemployed either on a full-time (55%) or part-time (14%) basis. Sector
difference is most noticeable when respondents work in the community sector
- almost one half of respondents (46%) are full-time salaried employees.
There is also a greater likelihood that respondents with a social science
background (31%) will work for someone else than those with a background
in law (8%) or business (0%). Fewer women (45%) than men (63%) are fulltime self-employed trainer-practitioners.
117
Fees
q
q
q
q
Highlights
Respondents derive their income by charging a fee for service on a sliding
scale basis.
On average, mediators charge $130 per hour to mediate.
They charge on average $1000 per day to train.
Individuals with law or business backgrounds charge the highest fees.
The vast majority of trainer-practitioners in this study derive their
income by charging a fee-for-service. Fewer than five percent of the
respondents mediate as part of a salaried job. Slightly more than half of the
respondents use a sliding scale in their fee structure, both as mediators
(52%) and as mediation trainers (57%). The use of a sliding scale when
charging for mediation does not appear to be connected to gender, dispute
sector, or educational background.
Gender, sector, and educational background do, however, influence
the use of a sliding scale when charging for training. Trainers in the
community (76%) sector and the workplace (69%) sector use a sliding scale
more often than trainers in the business (50%) or family (44%) sectors.
Trainers with a background in the social sciences (61%) use a sliding scale
more often than trainers with business backgrounds (42%). And, women
trainers (68%) use a sliding scale more so than men (46%) trainers.
118
There is considerable difference in the fees mediators charge (Table
13). On average, respondents charge $130.00 per hour for mediation
services; the mode is $150.00 per hour. The lowest fee charged by
mediators in this study was $20 per hour; the highest fee was $300 per hour
for a range of $280. Once again, these findings are similar to those found by
Kruk (1998:13) in his study of Canadian family mediators. He found that
family mediators charge on average $122 an hour and their fees range from
$10 to $350 per hour.
Table 13. Hourly Mediation Rates
Frequency (n)
Valid Percent
Less than $100/hour
21
28%
$100-149/hour
23
31%
$150-200/hour
20
27%
More than $200/hour
10
14%
Total
74
100%
74 valid cases; 14 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
For their training services, respondents, on average, charge $943 per
day; the mode is $500, the median is $775. There is a wide spread between
the lowest ($90) and highest ($2500) fee charged for training. The range of
mediation training fees charged is $2410.
119
Respondents with a business background charge the most to mediate
followed closely by those with a law background (Table 13). This is in stark
contrast to mediation trainer-practitioners with social service backgrounds,
almost half of whom charge less than $100 an hour to mediate. Similarly,
trainers with law and business backgrounds charge the highest training fees –
half of those with law backgrounds charge $1000 or more per day to train as
do forty-six (46%) percent of trainers with business backgrounds. The
majority (57%) of trainers with backgrounds in the social sciences charge
between $500 and $999 a day for their training services.
Table 14. Hourly Mediation Rates and Educational Background
LAW
SOCIAL
BUSINESS
SCIENCE
Total
Less than $100/hour
8% (2)
43% (16)
23% (3)
28% (21)
$100 to $149/hour
25% (6)
35% (13)
31% (4)
31% (23)
$150 to $200/hour
46% (11)
16% (6)
23% (3)
27% (20)
More than$200/hour
21% (5)
5% (2)
23% (3)
14% (10)
Total
100% (24) 100% (37) 100% (13)
100% (74)
74 valid cases; 14 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
This difference in fees charged for training continues to be striking
across the different dispute sectors. Once again, individuals in the business
sector charge the highest training fees. Thirty-three (33%) percent of trainers
120
working in this sector charge more than $1500 per day; thirty-eight percent
charge between $1000 and $1500 per day. In comparison, eighty percent
(80%) of trainers in the community sector and sixty-four (64%) percent of
family mediation trainers have daily rates of between $500 and $999.
Characteristically, male respondents charge higher fees to mediate
than do their female counterparts. Half (49%) of the men in the sample
charge $150 or more per hour to mediate compared to only one-third (32%)
of women (Diagram 4). This finding is particularly evident in the family sector
where men charge significantly higher fees than women (Table 15). In the
business and workplace sectors gender is not linked to higher fees.
Diagram 4: Mediation Fees and Gender
40
30
20
Percent
10
Gender
Male
0
Female
< $100
$100-149
$150-200
> $200
Mediation rate
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
121
Table 15. Hourly Mediation Rates, Dispute Sector and Gender
COMMUNITY
FAMILY
BUSINESS WORKPLACE
Less than
$100/hr.
50% (2)
25% (2)
18% (3)
29% (2)
25% (9)
$100 to 149/hr.
25% (1)
13% (1)
24% (4)
57% (4)
28% (10)
$150 to 200/hr.
25% (1)
63% (5)
35% (6)
MEN
More than $200
WOMEN
33% (12)
24% (4)
14% (1)
14% (5)
Total
100% (4)
100% (8)
100% (7)
100% (7)
100% (36)
Less than
$100/hr.
56% (5)
39% (5)
14% (1)
14% (1)
33% (12)
$100 to 149/hr.
33% (3)
31% (4)
29% (2)
57% (4)
36% (13)
$150 to 200/hr.
11% (1)
31% (4)
29% (2)
14% (1)
22% (8)
29% (2)
14% (1)
8% (3)
100% (7)
100% (7)
100% (36)
More than
$200/hr.
Total
100% (9)
100% (13)
74 valid cases; 14 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
To sum up, mediation trainers are depicted as having diverse
backgrounds, education, and experience. If this sample is at all
representative of the larger mediation community (there is also nothing to
suggest that it is not), as an occupation mediation does not appear to be
dominated by any one gender nor by any one professional group. This may
change, however, as this study shows that lawyers have recently been drawn
to work in this field. That lawyers may soon dominate the field and cause it to
become more business-like is a fear shared by many respondents (Chapter
3). In this next section, what attracts individuals to become mediators and
122
what sustains their interest is presented, along with how these are connected
to gender, educational background, dispute sector and when an individual
began working as a mediator.
II. Incentives to Mediate
Individuals in the study group were asked to identify, in open-ended
questions, what motivated them to become a mediator and what sustains
their interest in mediation. Using grounded theory method, six distinct codes
were created from the responses to the question about why they became
mediators: 1) personal experience, 2) court reform, 3) social change, 4) job
satisfaction, 5) career, and 6) values. These same six categories were used
to code the answers to the question of what sustains respondents’ interest in
doing mediation, with one exception - the “personal experience” factor was
changed to an “outcomes” factor. This was due to the fact that there were
virtually no comments from respondents about having had a bad experience
with court or being exposed to the idea through courses. Instead, they made
many comments about mediation being an effective, expedient, and costefficient process with positive outcomes.
The two most frequently occurring responses for why respondents
wanted to become mediators were “social change” (Table 16) and “job
satisfaction”. “Social change” referred to a desire for social change and
123
wanting to help others, while “job satisfaction” had to do with finding the work
personally satisfying. The next factor most often identified was “court reform”.
It had to do with wanting to improve the legal or other adversarial dispute
resolution systems. The “values” factor included responses from individuals
who felt congruence between mediation and their personal beliefs and
values, or mentioned having a strong belief in the process of mediation. The
“personal experience” factor referred to having had a bad personal
experience with court or other formal processes or having been exposed to
ideas about mediation through courses or training. And lastly, the “career”
factor involved mediation being seen as an opportunity for advancement, or a
requirement for a job.
Table 16. Reasons Respondents Were Attracted To Become Mediators
REASONS RESPONDENTS WERE ATTRACTED
TO BECOMING MEDIATORS
NUMBER OF
RESPONSES
PERCENTAGE
OF RESPONSES
Bad experience with court or other adversarial
process
17
12%
Interested in court reform and improving other
adversarial processes
21
15%
Desire for social change and transformation and
wanting to help others
38
27%
Finding the work personally satisfying
30
22%
Opportunity for career advancement or required for
the job
13
9%
Congruence between mediation and personal beliefs
and values
20
14%
139
100%
Total number of responses
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
124
Many (65%) trainer-practitioners reported that they were attracted to
the work of a mediator for more than one reason42. Similarly, slightly more
than half (53%) identified more than one incentive for continuing to work as a
mediator while one-quarter (27%) indicated three incentives 43.
An analysis of respondents’ incentives to mediate, along with their
reasons for continuing to work as mediators, follows. As will become
evident, whether an individual was motivated by altruistic or personal
development goals is connected to how long ago that person began working
in the field. The discussion begins with an analysis of what initially attracted
respondents to mediation.
A.
q
q
q
q
42
Initial Attraction to Mediation
Highlights
Respondents reported being attracted to mediation for two primary
reasons: 1) because of the potential to empower individuals and transform
society and 2) because it provided personal growth and job satisfaction.
Lawyers said they were most motivated by the idea of reforming the
courts.
Mediators who started mediating ten or more years ago said they were
most motivated by factors relating to empowerment and social change.
Mediators more recent to the field were more likely say they were
motivated by personal growth and job satisfaction.
Forty-nine (49%) percent of respondents listed two incentives for working as a mediator, while an
additional fourteen percent listed three different factors.
43
One of the risks of self-report data is that subjects may answer in ways other than what they know to
be true to avoid being negatively perceived. While care must be taken not to take at “face value” what
has been reported, there is much to be learned in an exploratory study such as this about what
respondents think they did or think they should say.
125
Social Change and Individual Empowerment
Trainer-practitioners were drawn to the occupation of mediation for
various reasons. For some respondents mediation was believed to be a way
to empower others to resolve their own conflicts. For others, it offered a
means of promoting peace and justice. And for still others, it served as a
vehicle to make a positive difference in society. These categories of
motivations were coded as “social change” factors. Respondents, for
example, talked about wanting the “opportunity to assist others in rendering
difference in an empowering respectful way” [147/F/W/SS] 44, wanting to
“enhance peace” [49/F/F/SS], and having “a desire to make school a peaceful
environment” [9/F/C/SS]. Individuals whose answers were coded as “social
change” also said:
Since high school I have been interested and concerned about
social change – my early employment was in the area of
community development and community change as a family
mediator. This focus on “change” is now directed to families
and the changes necessary when separation occurs.
[225/M/F/SS]
Mediation affords parties an opportunity to address their
underlying concerns in an expeditious, productive, and
sometimes transformative manner, and often results in a
customized resolution to a dispute which is much more
satisfying and enduring for the parties involved. [195/M/C/L]
[I want] to improve the process and outcomes of public planning
and policy setting, to include and empower the public and
interest groups involved. [297/M/B/B]
44
Attribution codes include (in the following order): case number/gender/dispute sector/educational
background. The codes for “gender” are: M (male), F (female); for “dispute sector” they are: F
(family), C (community), B (business) W (workplace); and for “educational background” they are: L
(law), B (business), SS (social science).
126
Having a desire to contribute to individual and social transformation is
a motivating factor for most respondents, both men and women. It is also a
strong motivator for individuals who have social science backgrounds. Visions
of social change and individual empowerment are, however, less of a
motivator for those who began working in the field recently. This change may
be a consequence of the recent growth and institutionalization of mediation.
Job Satisfaction and Personal Growth
Respondents were also drawn to mediate for reasons of personal
growth and job satisfaction. Few trainer-practitioners appear to have been
drawn to mediation for financial gain alone. Responses such as finding the
work challenging, rewarding, and contributing to personal growth were coded
under the factor “job satisfaction”.
Respondents talked about their “wish to
grow”, the “joy” that comes from resolving conflict and helping others, and
that mediation provided them with an opportunity for “self-learning”, “change”,
and “personal development”. Other comments included:
[Mediation is] rewarding work in terms of career satisfaction and
it is consistent with my values. [40/F/F/L]
I took retirement early as a physics teacher. I wanted to
continue “academically” and in a people skill oriented climate.
[356/M/F/B]
[I had an] interest in developing strategies to deal with my own
interpersonal conflicts. [48/M/W/SS]
[Mediation] helps me gain insight into my own life and
relationships, become a better person, free myself from
dependencies, learn anger management, etc. [327/F/C/L]
127
Individuals with five or less years as practicing mediators were the
most motivated by job satisfaction and personal growth, as were respondents
working in the business sector.
The four sets of contextual factors being used throughout this study educational background, gender, dispute sector and the length of time an
individual has been working as a mediator, are examined to determine their
links to respondents’ reasons for becoming mediators. As will be seen, there
is a connection between when an individual began to work in this occupation
and why he or she became a mediator. Finding a shift in what seems to be
attracting individuals to work as mediators is an important discovery and
might account for some of the changing form of mediation.
Educational Background
Perhaps not surprisingly, lawyers are most drawn to mediate by “court
reform” (48% of responses). The second most frequently occurring response
for this group was “job satisfaction” (40% of responses). Individuals with a
social science background, on the other hand, were most attracted by the
potential for social change and individual empowerment - the “social change”
factor (57% of responses). The second most frequent response for them
was also ”job satisfaction” (40% of responses).
128
Interestingly, respondents with a business background did not appear
to be attracted by any one factor. Instead, most frequently the response for
this group was split between two factors - “job satisfaction” (31% of
responses) and congruence with their personal “values” (31% of responses).
The second most frequently occurring response was also split between two
factors – “social change” (23% of responses) and “court reform” (23% of
responses). It seems then, that educational background is associated with
what draws an individual to work as a mediator.
Dispute Sector
The reasons an individual is attracted to mediate is also connected to
the sector in which they work, especially if they work in the business sector.
Respondents from this sector were motivated firstly by “job satisfaction” (42%
of responses) followed by “social change” (33% of responses). They were
also motivated by “personal experience” (29% of responses). To cite one civil
mediator whose response was coded as a “personal experience” factor:
I was defending the environment in a civil litigation case and I
had a blinding moment of clarity – it doesn’t work. I quit my job
and got a master’s degree in environmental dispute resolution.
[318/F/B/SS]
In contrast to individuals in the business sector, respondents from each of the
other three sectors most frequently responded that “social change” factors
motivated them to work as mediators (community (50%), family (48%) and
workplace (50%) of responses).
129
Gender
Gender also has little association with what individuals reported
attracted them to work as a mediator. Both men (43% of responses) and
women (47% of responses) frequently mentioned “social change” as what
drew them to mediation, followed by “job satisfaction”. This changes,
however, the longer an individual has been working as a mediator. As will be
seen, veteran men and women tend to be more highly motivated by “social
change” ideas than newcomers.
Experience
The number of years an individual has been mediating has a striking
connection to what they say drew them to work as mediators. Individuals
who entered the field more than ten years ago were highly attracted, upon
entering, by the ideological goals of empowerment and social change (Table
17). Individuals who have been working six to ten years follow them. Those
who were least drawn by “social change” at entry were respondents with five
or less years working in the field. This latter group was attracted to mediation
for more personal or job satisfaction reasons; more than half of their
responses were coded as “job satisfaction”.
This pattern, that the longer individuals have been working as
mediators the more likely they were initially attracted to mediation by visions
of social change and transformation is apparent in the following analysis of
130
contextual variables. To increase cell size, analysis was carried out with
respondents reasons to mediate regrouped into three categories – 1) social
change, 2) satisfaction, and 3) both social change and satisfaction.
Table 17. Attractions to Mediate and Years Mediating
REASONS RESPONDENTS WERE
ATTRACTED TO MEDIATE
Experience – bad experience with
court or other adversarial process
5 or less years 6 to 10 years
More than 10
years
Total
18% (n4)
20% (8)
24% (5)
21% (17)
9% (n2)
35% (14)
24% (5)
25% (21)
23% (5)
43% (17)
67% (14)
43% (36)
Job Satisfaction – finding the work
personally satisfying
55% (12)
25% (10)
33% (2)
35% (29)
Career – opportunity for career
advancement or required for the job
18% (4)
20% (8)
5% (1)
16% (13)
Values - congruence between
mediation and personal beliefs and
values
27% (6)
25% (10)
19% (4)
24% (20)
27% (22)
48% (40)
25% (21)
100% (83)
Court reform – interested in court
reform and improving other
adversarial processes
Social change – desire for social
change and transformation and
wanting to help others
Total number of responses
Percentages based on number of responses; more than one response may have been given.
83 valid cases; 5 missing cases.
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Newcomer 45 men are attracted most by “job satisfaction” (47% of
responses), as are newcomer women (44% of responses). Conversely,
veteran men (44% of responses) and women (58% of responses) are
attracted most by the factor “social change” (Diagram 5).
45
Newcomers refer to those individuals with six or less years as practicing mediators while veterans
refers to those with seven or more years in the field.
131
Diagram 5: Reasons to Mediate, Gender and Experience
70
60
50
40
Years by Gender
30
Men 0-6yrs
20
Percent
Women 0-6yrs
10
Men 7+yrs
0
Women 7+yrs
Social Change
Satisfaction
Both
Reasons to Mediate
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Newcomers with law or business backgrounds are attracted to
mediation by “job satisfaction” as well as by “court reform”, and less so by
“social change”. Whereas veteran mediators with social science
backgrounds are highly attracted to mediation by “social change”, newcomers
with similar backgrounds are more attracted by “job satisfaction” (Table18).
Veterans in each of the four dispute sectors were drawn to work as
mediators by visions of “social change”. Newcomers in the community were
also drawn to mediation for “social change” ideals. Veterans in the workplace
132
sector were also equally drawn to mediation for “job satisfaction” reasons and
veterans in the business were equally drawn to mediation because of a
“personal experience”.
Table 18. Attractions to Mediate, Experience and Educational Background
REASONS RESPONDENTS WERE
Newcomer
Veteran
Newcomer
Veteran
ATTRACTED TO MEDIATE
Law/Business Law/Business Social Science Social Science
Experience – bad experience with
court or other adversarial process
18% (3)
23% (5)
6% (1)
24% (7)
38% (6)
36% (8)
6% (1)
21% (6)
31% (5)
27% (6)
41% (7)
69% (20)
Job Satisfaction – finding the work
personally satisfying
38% (6)
36% (8)
53% (9)
24% (7)
Career – opportunity for career
advancement or required for the job
13% (2)
9% (2)
18% (3)
21% (6)
Values - congruence between
mediation and personal beliefs and
values
25% (4)
23% (5)
29% (5)
21% (6)
49% (16)
43% (22)
51% (17)
57% (29)
Court reform – interested in court
reform and improving other
adversarial processes
Social change – desire for social
change and transformation and
wanting to help others
Total percentage of responses
Figures represent percentage of total number of responses. 84 valid cases; 4 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
While many trainer-practitioners may be drawn to mediation because
of the potential for social change, it is not what they report keeps them
working as mediators.
133
B.
q
q
Sustaining A Mediator’s Interest in Mediation
Highlights
Job satisfaction and personal growth are the factors reported to most
sustain a mediator’s interest.
This finding is not associated with gender, dispute sector, background, or
entry into the field.
Job satisfaction and the personal growth that comes with doing the
work are what sustain the interest of most mediators. Fulfillment comes from
the challenge of the work, knowing that clients are satisfied, the opportunity
for self-improvement, and the connection between the work and personal
values. These comments are not limited to trainer-practitioners in this study dispute resolution professionals in the Department of Justice study (1995) 46
gave similar responses.
Respondents repeatedly mentioned how mediation helps them to grow
and learn. For example, they wrote:
As I practice and continue to perfect my skills and knowledge
through training, I become more secure, more confident, more
serene, more congruent, and happier. [327/F/C/L]
The self-learning which has helped me to better understand my
own values, thoughts, feelings, and actions. [230/M/W/SS]
46
In the Justice study respondents were asked what gave them the most satisfaction in their work.
Some of the more common answers included: the satisfaction of helping people, achieving win/win
solutions, watching people grow as they discover their own inner resources, and feeling pride in being
the catalyst for repairing relationships or preventing damage to parties. They also expressed
satisfaction from getting paid, receiving thanks from clients and getting feedback for a job well done
(p. 41-42).
134
I learn something new everyday; I achieve a greater
understanding and greater awareness of my own values; the
continued growth. [143/F/W/SS]
People never cease to amaze me. I am always learning and
growing by each session I am involved in. [152/F/W/SS]
My interest is sustained in mediation because I see it as a
lifelong skill, which can enhance personal and professional
relationships. [325/M/C/SS]
They also made mention of the challenge and personal satisfaction that come
with helping individuals and doing good work. They indicated this through
comments such as:
I love the work. I have introduced myself to many people,
representatives and parties alike, and it is gratifying to see
people retain me repeatedly and to generally express very
positive things about how I mediate. [319/M/B/L]
[I value] the satisfaction of knowing that my intervention helped
to increase understanding, tolerance, and goodwill. [205/F/F/L]
[I am sustained in this work by] the challenge of bringing
together a number of parties to reconcile differences and
productively resolve their conflicts. [69M/B/SS]
Respondents wrote about the congruence between mediation and their
personal values and beliefs. Their comments included, “I value these
communication techniques as life skills” [267/F/W/SS]; “I have a strong belief
in our mission” [92/M/B/L]; and, “I have a natural orientation to being a
peacemaker” [44/F/B/L].
135
In addition to talking about the personal and professional satisfaction
that comes from doing the work, respondents also mention “outcome” and
“social change” factors as sustaining their interest. “Outcome” focused
discourse includes references to expediency, cost-effectiveness, fairness,
and better results; a discourse commonly found in court-connected programs.
Examples of “outcome” focused discourse include:
I continue to see it as a very effective tool for resolving motor
vehicle claims in significant volumes at substantial savings.
[115/M/B/L]
[Mediation] is expedient and cost effective. [41/F/W/SS]
The process is fair and there are quick solutions. [111/MB/B]
The “social change” discourse is similar to what early proponents set
out as the tenets of mediation - transformation, peace, justice, and social
change. These too are visions that help to sustain respondents’ interest in
mediation. For example, they wrote:
I am continually amazed by its [mediation’s] power and
effectiveness as an instrument of healing and peacemaking at a
very deep, genuine, and lasting interpersonal level.
[41/F/W/SS]
[I have] a desire to make a positive difference in the world.
[131/M/W/L]
My interest in peace keeps me working to assist with helping
others achieve and learn about conflict resolution. [354/F/F/SS]
The privilege to witness and participate in the transformational
changes people experience in understanding others and
resolving conflict. [307/F/F/SS]
136
Finding the work personally challenging and satisfying is what sustains
most respondents (Diagram 6). This factor, coded as “job satisfaction”, was
the most frequently mentioned factor at forty-one (41%) percent of responses.
It was followed by “social change” at twenty percent (20%) of responses, then
“career” (15% of responses), “outcomes” (14% of responses), “values” (9 %
of responses), and finally, “court reform” (2% of responses). Once again, to
increase cell size and aid analysis, sustaining factors have been regrouped
into 3 categories – 1) social change, 2) satisfaction, 3) both social change
and satisfaction.
Diagram 6: Factors That Sustain a Mediator’s Interest
Both
Social Change
Satisfaction
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
137
This finding, that “job satisfaction” sustains most respondents’ interest
in mediation followed by “social change”, is a pattern which continues
irrespective of gender, educational background, or dispute sector. Newcomer
and veteran mediation trainer-practitioners follow this same pattern.
Conclusion
The analysis in this chapter lends support to the notion that mediation
is changing. No longer does it appear that those who work as mediators
primarily view mediation as a “social revolution”. Instead, mediation for some
individuals seems to have become an occupation that has appeal because it
provides satisfaction to the worker. There are a number of speculations that
could be offered on why these changes might be taking place. Two are
offered. First, sociological research on social movements repeatedly shows
that as informal or “fringe” groups become more mainstream their ideological
visions also become more mainstream in order for them to survive. The
literature (Chapter 2) and the analysis in this chapter suggest that some of
the early goals espoused by advocates of mediation may be being replaced
by a more contemporary discourse that claims satisfaction, expediency and
cost reduction. The desire to be seen as more “professional” has caused
mediation to become more institutionalized and routinized. The changing
nature of mediation may also indicate “colonization” of mediation by the state.
All of which lead to the question of whether we are going to need an
“alternative to mediation” if we are to realize social transformation as
138
mediation is espoused to do. A second speculation on the changing form of
mediation is that mediation has become a more accepted and legitimate work
form for those who work as mediators. In turn, they are inclined to answer
questions about what appeals to them about mediation using the language of
“job satisfaction” and “personal development” even when their basic goals
(i.e., social change and transformation) have remained the same. To say this
another way, if one’s aim in becoming a mediator is social transformation,
then job satisfaction becomes a part of social transformation. Both these
speculations need further study.
This chapter focused on “who” is mediating. The analysis showed
that gender, educational background, dispute sector, and years as a
practicing mediator were linked to differences in where mediators work, their
work status, the fees they charge, and their reasons for becoming mediators.
Thus, these four contextual variables continue to be present in the analysis
that follows throughout this dissertation.
What does it mean for the future of mediation that the more recent a
respondent has begun to work as a mediator the stronger the likelihood that
they report being drawn to work in this field for personal growth and job
satisfaction? How widespread is this apparent change? And, how might this
change influence their understanding of practice? The first two questions will
not be answered in this study, however, they do require further research.
139
This latter question is examined in relation to respondents’ understanding of
their role, style and orientation to mediation practice in the ensuing chapters.
An examination of how mediators conceptualize what they do follows.
As will be seen, variations in understandings of the mediator role are linked to
the four contextual factors being examined in this study. They are also more
varied than we might expect to find based on the extant literature.
140
Chapter Five
Common Language, Different Meaning
Introduction
This chapter examines trainer-practitioners’ understanding of their role
as mediators. It builds upon the previous chapter, which found that mediators
are a diverse group. Furthermore, the expectation that mediation is not a
monolithic process, and that variation in mediation practice is connected to an
individual’s perception of his or her understanding of their role as a mediator
guided the research. These latter two expectations were confirmed by the
research results.
When mediators describe their work as “an art and not a science”, they
refer to their role in the process. This focus on role suggests that mediation
strategies are dependent upon the mediator’s perspective of his or her part in
the process as well as their perspective about the other players. A mediator’s
perspective informs him or her about which tactics, and in which order, to use
in the resolution process (Kolb, 1983:23). Role expectation by the mediators
is central to the type of mediation process they employ (Mcfarlane, 1999).
Chapter 5 shows that variations in interpretation of the mediator role
are linked to internal and external contexts, and those differences are
manifest in the understanding respondents have about their work as
mediators. For instance, while most respondents describe their role as
141
“facilitative” they do not always attribute the same meaning to the word. In
some cases “facilitative” is connected to the management of process, in
others it is about enhancing communication between the parties, and in still
others it has to do with resolving a dispute. Finding this convergence in
language but divergence in meaning is an important insight from this study.
Even though the form of mediation has been contested 47, little research has
been done to probe the meanings of these forms. And even less research
has been done to link them to contextual factors. This insight also heightens
our awareness about the need to understand more fully what mediators mean
when they talk about their work. This need is increased as mediation
continues to grow and diversify. No longer can we be content to think about
mediation as a single-model process, nor in terms of dichotomous models
that position one conceptualization against the other. This chapter presents
mediation as a complex and varied social activity and deserving of more
complex and fluid constructions of its goals.
Parts of the analysis in this chapter, and in later ones, were done with
mediators clustered into groups based upon the similarities and differences in
their characteristics found in Chapter 4. These clusters are 1) newcomer
men with law or business backgrounds; 2) newcomer women with law and
47
For a discussion of these contested views see Chapter 2 which overviews the work of Silbey and
Merry, 1986; Bush and Folger, 1994; Kolb and Associates, 1994; Riskin, 1996; and, Waldman, 1996.
142
business backgrounds; 3) veteran men with law and business backgrounds;
4) veteran women with law or business backgrounds; 5) newcomer men with
social science backgrounds; 6) newcomer women with social science
backgrounds; 7) veteran men with social science backgrounds; and, 8)
veteran women with social science backgrounds. Newcomers are
individuals with six or less years practicing as a mediator. Veterans have
seven or more years experience as practicing mediators.
The rationale for clustering respondents in this manner is based upon
a number of factors. Firstly, the sample size in this study is not large and
ungrouped data would result in cell sizes being so small that they would be
rendered meaningless. Secondly, relationships between ungrouped data
would be difficult to assess and reporting on them would be cumbersome.
Thirdly, while mediators may not be homogeneous they do have some similar
characteristics and it is sensible to group like individuals into clusters for
analytical purposes. For example, individuals with six or less years of
experience were found to be more similar to each other than collegues with
more years of experience. Similarly, individuals with law and business
backgrounds were found to have many of the same characteristics so they
were clustered into one group.
Once again, the method of grounded theory has been used to code the
data and SPSS was used to generate theoretical specificity and identify
143
patterns. The chapter begins with an examination of the role of the mediator.
As will be seen, gender, dispute sector, educational background and length of
time mediating are associated with variations in role. What will also become
apparent in respondents’ descriptions of their role and orientation to
mediation is that while they might use a common language, they oftentimes
mean different things by it.
I. Conceptualizing the Mediator Role
q
q
q
q
Highlights
Most respondents understand themselves to have more than one role as
a mediator.
The majority conceptualize their main role as that of facilitation.
There are three understandings of the facilitator role - “facilitating
process”, “facilitating communication”, and “facilitating resolution”.
Women more often describe their role as “facilitating communication”; men
more often describe their role as “facilitating process”. Only a very few
respondents describe their role as “facilitating resolution”.
The majority of respondents in this study conceptualize their role as
that of facilitation. When asked in an open-ended question format how they
describe their role to parties in the opening stages of mediation, eighty-nine
(89%) percent of respondents had at least one of their responses coded as
“facilitator”48. This finding is not surprising as it has been said that mediation
in its “purest” form is facilitative (Menkel-Meadow, 1995). A facilitative model
48
Eight other role categories were coded from the responses, however, none of these categories
accounted for more than ten percent of total responses. They included “monitor” (9% of responses),
“advisor” (5% of responses), “coach” (4% of responses), “normalizer” (2% of responses), “agent of
reality” (1% of responses), and “recorder” (1% of responses). Given these low percentages, further
analysis of each code was dropped.
144
of mediation has also been associated with a particular set of process-related
activities and it is often contrasted with more substantive and outcomefocused goals (Riskin, 1996).
While for the most part respondents depict their role as largely
facilitative, they do not see this role as singular 49. The next most frequently
occurring role response after “facilitator” was “neutral third party”
50
(29% of
responses). More than half of respondents (52%) conceptualized their role in
this way. Veteran respondents with business backgrounds used the term
“neutral third party” the most often (78% of responses).
Given that “facilitator” was the most common understanding of role for
all respondents, examination of what individuals mean by “facilitator” seemed
appropriate and in keeping with interpretive research practice. As suspected,
deeper analysis showed that respondents did not always attribute the same
meaning to their role as “facilitative” mediators. In addition, variations in
understanding were connected to the contextual factors under investigation in
this study - dispute sector, gender, the number of years they have been
mediating, and educational background. Axial coding (Neuman, 1994) was
49
Two-thirds (65%) of respondents identified two roles and close to half (42%) identified three distinct
roles when asked to describe their role to parties in the opening stage of a mediation.
50
Respondents rarely described what they meant by “neutral-third party”. Those that did, emphasized
that they were not a judge; that they were neutral and impartial; that they would not make decisions or
determine right and wrong; that they would not give legal advice; and, that parties would come up with
their own solutions.
145
used to expand the data, open up analytical possibilities and make
connections between concepts. This next section discusses the “facilitator”
role in greater detail beginning with some descriptions of the “facilitator” role
given by individuals in the sample.
Mediator as Facilitator
The “facilitator” role category includes descriptive terms and
metaphors such as guide, conduit, catalyst, bridge-builder, and assistant.
One respondent described her role as a guide who:
insures a respectful exchange of perspectives and who explore
needs and concerns that must be addressed if the issues are to
be resolved; I will ask questions, summarize and generally
guide the discussion; I will ensure that the emotions are
acknowledged and yet not allowed to escalate to inhibit the
process or become disrespectful. [41/F/W/SS51]
Other individuals describe their “facilitating” role in the following ways:
[I am] an impartial facilitator; I assist in guiding process,
maintain channels of communication and help parties to explore
settlement options. [195/M/B/L]
My role is to act as a guide or helper making it possible for
people to tackle problems together who otherwise were not able
to do so on their own; my task is to help people gather what
they need to make their own decisions or agreements.
[290/M/W/B]
My role is to help the parties communicate with each other, to
enable them to hear each other and understand each other's
positions and perspectives, needs and interests. [255/F/F/L]
51
Attribution codes refer to case number / gender / dispute sector / educational background.
146
[I] provide a structure and climate for respectful and productive
discussions and assist parties to identify and obtain information
they need to discuss the issues; [I] re-establish contact between
the parties, provide a face-to-face forum [neutral] for
discussions and provide an impartial presence that is
supportive of negotiators; [I] facilitate the exchange of
information within a structured framework, [I] help to identify
common interests and objectives and develop options for
agreement. [143/F/W/SS]
As can be seen from the above few quotes a variety of tasks are
associated with the facilitative role. Some include the exploration of needs
and concerns, the acknowledging of emotions, the heightening of
understanding, the guiding of process, the exploration of options for
settlement, as well as making possible joint-problem solving, empowerment
and self-determination. This very cursory look at the variation in respondents’
interpretation of the facilitator role led to a fuller exploration of their
understanding of this role and ultimately the intent of mediation.
The first question used to interrogate the meaning of the role factor
“facilitator” was - what is it that respondents are facilitating? This examination
led to the creation of four sub-categories of the “facilitator” role category: 1)
“facilitate process”, 2) “facilitate communication”, 3) “facilitate communication
and process”, and 4) “facilitate resolution”.
147
As a conceptual category, “facilitate process” reflects an emphasis by
respondents on activities specific to managing the process of mediation. For
example, one respondent said,
my role is that of process facilitator, [I do] not contribute to the
substantive discussion but I do insure that the group moves
through the process. [69/M/C/SS]
This is in contrast to individuals who did not mention process and instead
focused on communication within mediation, creating the conceptual category
“facilitate communication”. The following is an example of comments coded
as “facilitate communication”,
I remind parties that my role is to help them communicate and
see the problem from each other’s perspective”. [80/F/C/B]
The category “facilitate communication and process” included responses
where emphasis was placed on the management of process and
communication between parties. To cite one respondent,
my role is to assist with communication (and I talk about how
that will happen), and to manage the conflict, [I am] director of
the process not the content”. [354/F/F/SS]
The conceptual category “facilitate resolution” included responses where
emphasis was placed on reaching a settlement more than on attending to
process issues or the exchange of information. An example of this type of
response is,
I am here to assist you to reach decisions about the matters in
issue between you, the two of you will be making the decisions.
[355/F/F/L]
148
A frequency analysis carried out on those who answered this question
showed that slightly more than one-third (35%) of respondents understood
their role as facilitating “process”. One quarter (26%) of respondents saw
their role as facilitating both “communication and process”, while seventeen
(17%) percent conceptualized their role as facilitating “communication” alone.
Only five percent (5%) of respondents identified their role as facilitating
“resolution” (Diagram 7).
Diagram 7: What Mediators “Facilitate”
Resolution
Communication
and Process
Communication
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Process
149
The “Facilitator” Role and Contextual Variables
Before presenting this analysis, a cautionary note is in order. Some
respondents answered the question about their role using only the phrase
“neutral third party” (10% of responses) or “facilitator” (6% of responses).
Given the absence of explanation for “neutral third party” and the “facilitator”
role, these cases could not be included in the ensuing analysis. This reduced
the sample from eighty-eight to sixty-nine cases. Even with this reduction in
number of cases, insights have been generated from the patterns that
emerged. Further study is needed to confirm these insights.
Gender appears to be linked to differences in how respondents
understand their “facilitative” role as mediators (Diagram 8).
Diagram 8: Facilitate Role and Gender
60
50
40
30
P
e
20
r
c
e
10
n
t
Gender
Male
0
Female
Process
Both communication
and process
Communication
Resolution
What Mediators Facilitate
150
Women respondents tend to identify their role as facilitating “communication“
or “communication and process” more than facilitating “process”. The reverse
was found to be the case for male mediators. This finding correlates with
other studies that have found gendered perceptions of the mediator role. To
cite one example, Weingarten and Douvan (1985) found that female
mediators envisioned their role as collaborative and described themselves as
a bridge between parties, while male mediators described mediation as a
game and envisioned their role as acting on the parties (p.78). Studies have
also shown that gender influences mediator behaviour (Gourley, 1994).
Dispute sector also has some connection to the way respondents
understand their “facilitative” role as mediators (Table 19). Individuals who
work in the business sector showed the strongest connection - more than half
of this group conceptualized their role as facilitating “process”.
Table 19: Facilitator Role and Dispute Sector
COMMUNITY
FAMILY
PROCESS
41% (7)
35% (6)
53% (9)
33% (5)
41% (27)
COMMUNICATION
35% (6)
12% (2)
18% (3)
27% (4)
23% (15)
COMMUNICATION
AND PROCESS
24% (4)
35% (6)
24% (4)
40% (6)
30% (20)
18% (3)
6% (1)
100% (17)
100% (17)
RESOLUTION
TOTAL
100% (17)
66 valid cases 66; 22 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
BUSINESS WORKPLACE
TOTAL
6% (4)
100% (15)
100% (66)
151
Mediators from the community sector also identify their role as facilitating
“process”. Community mediators, however, also understand their role as
facilitating “communication”. Family and workplace mediators were mixed in
their descriptions describing their role typically as facilitating “process” or both
“communication and process”.
Educational background is also related to how an individual
understands his or her “facilitative” role (Table 20).
Almost half of the
individuals with law or business and social science backgrounds were coded
as facilitating “process”.
Table 20. Facilitator Role and Educational Background
LAW
SOCIAL
SCIENCE
BUSINESS
TOTAL
PROCESS
40% (8)
44% (18)
43% (3)
43% (29)
COMMUNICATION
25% (5)
20% (8)
29% (2)
22% (15)
COMMUNICATION AND
PROCESS
30% (6)
32% (13)
14% (1)
29% (20)
RESOLUTION
5% (1)
5% (2)
14% (1)
6% (4)
TOTAL
100% (20)
100% (41)
100% (7)
100% (68)
66 valid cases 66; 22 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
The number of years respondents have been mediating is also
connected to how they understand their “facilitator” role. One-third of
newcomers conceptualize this role as “process” (38%) or “communication”
(38%). And, close to half of the veteran respondents (47%) conceptualize the
role as facilitating “process” (Diagram 9).
152
Diagram 9: Facilitator Role and Experience
50
40
30
P 20
e
r
c 10
e
n
t
Years
Mediating
0-6yrs
0
7+yrs
Process
Communication
Communication
and process
Resolution
What mediators facilitate
The “Facilitator” Role and Clusters of Contextual Factors
Newcomer 52 women in the community, workplace and business
sectors have a strong tendency to describe their facilitator role as “facilitating
communication” (Table 21). In the family sector newcomer women do not
conceptualize their role in this way. They were divided between the “facilitate
process” and “facilitate communication and process” role definitions, with the
remaining quarter describing their role as “facilitating communication”.
Veteran women do not see their role as “facilitating communication”. In all
four sectors, these women had a stronger tendency to understand their role
as “facilitating communication and process” or “facilitating process” alone.
52
Newcomers are individuals with less than 6 years of experience and veterans are those with 6 or
more years of mediation experience.
153
Table 21. What Mediators Facilitate, Dispute Sector, Experience and Gender
Process
Newcomer
Communication
Men
Communication
and process
Total
FAMILY
BUSINESS
67% (4)
50% (1)
50% (2)
54% (7)
25% (1)
15% (2)
17% (1)
Total
50% (1)
25% (1)
100% (1)
31% (4)
100% (6)
100% (2)
100% (4)
100% (1)
100% (13)
20% (1)
19% (3)
60% (3)
63% (10)
20% (1)
19% (3)
40% (2)
100% (4)
100% (4)
100% (2)
100% (5)
100% (2)
100% (5)
100 (16)
33% (1)
63% (5)
60% (3)
56% (9)
20% (1)
6% (1)
20% (1)
19% (3)
Communication
Communication
and process
25% (2)
Resolution
Veteran
Women
20% (1)
40% (2)
Process
Veteran
Men
Total
17% (1)
Process
Newcomer Communication
Women Communication
and process
WORK
PLACE
COMMUNITY
67% (2)
13% (1)
19% (3)
Total
0
100% (3)
100% (8)
100% (5)
100% (16)
Process
43% (3)
29% (2)
67% (2)
25% (1)
38% (8)
Communication
14% (1)
14% (1)
Communication
and process
43% (3)
43% (3)
Resolution
10% (2)
33% (1)
75% (3)
48% (10)
14% (1)
5% (1)
Total
100% (7)
100% (7)
100% (3)
100% (4)
100% (21)
TOTAL
100% (17)
100% (17)
100% (71)
100% (15)
100% (66)
66 valid cases; 22 missing cases.
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Turning to look at newcomer and veteran men in the four dispute
sectors shows a similar pattern of shifting their understanding of role over
time (Table 21). Whereas half of newcomers in the family sector described
154
their role as “facilitating process” and the other half as “facilitating
communication and process”, two thirds of veterans in this sector
conceptualized their role as “facilitating resolution”. Similarly, newcomer men
in the workplace sector reported that they understood their role as “facilitating
communication and process” while veterans described it as “facilitating
process”. In the business sector both newcomers and veterans described
their role as “facilitating process”. Veterans, however, had a stronger
tendency to do so than newcomers.
It is not clear what this shift in conceptualization of the mediator role is
revealing; further study is called for. It is, however, important to note that the
longer individuals have been working as mediators the less they tend to
conceptualize their role as facilitating “communication”. Speculating on the
reasons for this. It may be that the changing profile of those who now work
as mediators (see Chapter 4) is having an effect on how the role of a
mediator is constructed. It may also be that mediators change their view of
their role as they work in different sectors and gain experience.53 Then again
it may be that mediators are more “idealistic” in the beginning of their practice
and over time become more practical. Or, it may also be indicative of a
similar trend found to be happening in the United States where the problem-
53
This possibility seems to get confirmed in Chapter 7. In this Chapter it was found that more
experienced mediators had more pluralistic understandings of mediation than respondents with fewer
years of experience.
155
solving approach is being emphasized at the expense of more communicative
and transformative mediation approaches (Bush and Folger, 1994). This
latter thought prompted further analysis of the “facilitator” role.
II. Outcome and No-Outcome Meanings
Deeper examination of “facilitator” role descriptions revealed that some
respondents made reference to resolution, settlement, or closure of the
conflict situation while others did not. This caused me to investigate if there
were particular groups that favoured the use of what were labeled “outcome”
meanings or “no-outcome” meanings. It was suspected that the use of
“outcome” and “no-outcome” meanings might be linked to differences in how
respondents understood their “facilitator” role and to contextual factors.
Following this train of thought, patterns in the use of “outcome” and “nooutcome” meanings by the four contextual factors used throughout this study,
and by meanings attributed to the “facilitator” role were examined. Before
looking at this analysis, however, it is useful to note that a frequency analysis
showed that two-thirds of the sample (64%) did not use “outcome focused”
meanings when describing their role as facilitative (Diagram 10). This
supports the earlier finding that few respondents understand their role as
facilitating “resolution” alone. It suggests that Canadian trainer-practitioners
view their work more broadly than settlement-oriented.
Diagram 10: Outcome and No-Outcome Meanings
Outcome
156
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Outcome and No-outcome Meanings and the “Facilitator” Role
Not surprisingly, there was a connection between respondents
understanding of their facilitation role and their use of “outcome” focused
meanings. All respondents who identified their role as facilitating “resolution”
used “outcome” focused meanings. Respondents who understood their role
as facilitating “communication” used “outcome” focused meanings the least
often – only twenty percent (20%) had their responses coded as “outcome”
focused 54. It is not surprising to find that how mediators “talk” about their work
would differ based on their understanding of their role as a mediator. Others
have also found that a person’s view of mediation informs his or her use of
54
Slightly less than two-thirds (61%) of the respondents who were coded as understanding their
facilitative role as “process” used non-outcome meanings, as did slightly more than half (58%) of
those who were grouped in the “process and communication” facilitative role category.
157
particular discourse (Tracy and Spradlin, 1994). It has also been
demonstrated that one’s social reality influences how mediation is understood
and acted upon (Littlejohn, Shailor and Pearce, 1994). This latter study found
that mediators’ social realities not only guide their interactions in mediation,
they were consistent with the mediation training they had received (p. 78).
This connection to training is particularly relevant given that mediation
trainers comprise the sample in this study. It suggests that examination of a
mediators training style and materials may reveal aspects of their ideological
views about mediation. Finding such diverse understandings of mediation,
and finding that understandings are connected to contextual factors has a
number of uses. Three are suggested. First, consumers may be better able
to select the type of mediation trainer they want given the assumptions and
goals they may aspire to, or given the sector in which they will primarily work.
Second, mediators who adopt a particular understanding of mediation may be
assigned to particular cases, or, trainers to particular students. And thirdly,
this information may help in setting policy for mediation training and trainers.
Examples of “outcome” focused meanings included references to
goals such as reaching conclusions, working it out, and making informed
decisions. More specifically, respondents said:
[Mediators] are to work with the parties to help them stay
focused on their problem so they can come to a mutually
satisfactory conclusion whatever that might be. [11/M/B/B]
158
I am there to help each party reach a satisfactory solution.
[64/M/B/B]
My role is to help them make informed decisions, I control the
process; they control the content. [201/F/F/L]
The above statements are in contrast to those below in which respondents
did not use “outcome” meanings when describing their role 55.
My role is to help the parties communicate with each other, to
enable them to hear each other and understand each other's
positions and perspectives, needs and interests. [205/F/F/L]
[I am] a facilitator who will help parties come to a better
understanding of the dynamics leading up to their conflict.
[57/F/C/SS]
My role is to facilitate your negotiation. While I am a
professional accountant, I am not acting in that role. From time
to time I may provide information, however, my primary role is
to help you understand each other by asking appropriate
questions. [360/M/F/B]
Outcome and No-outcome Meanings and Contextual Factors
There were a number of contextual patterns in the use of “outcome”
and “no-outcome” focused meanings. For example, men (43%) tended to
use “outcome” meanings more than women (33%). Community mediators
used “outcome” meanings the least often (24%), while workplace mediators
used it the most often (50%) 56. Both veterans (63%) and newcomers (61%)
used “no-outcome” meanings more often than “outcome” meanings. The
55
Four respondents’ mentioned that “they were not decisions makers” and that “parties decided for
themselves”. Reference to “decision making” in these instances was coded as “no-outcome”.
56
Workplace mediators were followed by family mediators (40%) then individuals working in the
business sector (33%).
159
same was found in relation to educational background – individuals with law
or business (68%) and with social science (59%) backgrounds used “nooutcome” more so than “outcome” focused meanings.
Patterns of difference became stronger when the data were clustered,
continuing to support the finding that variations in the meanings attributed to
mediation are contextual. To illustrate this point, three-quarters of newcomer
men working in the business sector used “outcome” meanings when
conceptualizing their facilitator role. Veteran men in the workplace sector
also had a strong tendency to use “outcome” focused meanings (68%).
Veteran women in this sector and in the family sector were evenly split
between “outcome” and “no-outcome” meanings.
This line of inquiry supports the assumption that there is a connection
between respondents’ conceptualization of their role as mediators and
contextual factors such as gender, background, dispute sector and when
respondents began practicing as mediators. The insight that emerged from
the analysis is that although the majority of mediators in this study understand
their role as one of facilitation, the “facilitator” role does not have the same
meaning for everyone. As a general comment and not to stereotype, women
mediators tend to conceptualize the “facilitator” role as having to do with
“facilitating communication” more than “facilitating process” and they use “nooutcome” meanings to describe this role. On the other hand, male mediators
160
conceptualize the “facilitator” role as “facilitating process” and they describe
the “facilitator” role using “outcome” meanings more than “no-outcome”
meanings. These findings of gender difference are not strongly supported in
the extant literature as there are mixed views about whether or not men and
women perceive and react to conflict differently (see Chapter 2). Further
study on the influence of gender and conceptualizations of mediation is
needed. One of the notable insights from this analysis is that gender patterns
of difference are linked to the length of time respondents are involved in
mediation. This suggests that how mediation is understood may change with
experience or with age. This is another area needing further investigation.
Another striking finding from the analysis carried out in this chapter is
that while mediators may be using the same words they do not always mean
the same thing. This is particularly interesting given that the study sample
are all trainer-practitioners and they were chosen because of their assumed
familiarity with “standard” mediation discourse. How much more different
might the conceptualizations of non-trainer mediators be? To investigate
further, re-examination of the question in the data collection instrument that
asked respondents to define the term that most reflected their orientation to
mediation was carried out. The discussion that follows exemplifies this
convergence of language and divergence in meaning.
161
III. Common Words, Different Meanings
As set out in Chapter 2, there are many ways that mediation is
understood and acted upon. One of the dichotomies that has been presented
locates mediators as being either facilitative or evaluative (Riskin, 1996).
According to Riskin, evaluative mediators’ approach to mediation is to
assess, predict, propose and press for settlement. When I examined how
respondents who “label” themselves as having an evaluative orientation to
mediation defined the term on the questionnaire, I found contrasting
definitions within the sample and with the definition given by Riskin. Whereas
one respondent focused on the content of the mediation session, another
respondent focused more on relations to define the evaluative orientation; no
respondent defined the term evaluative in a similar fashion to Riskin. In the
first instance, which emphasized evaluation of content, the evaluative
orientation was defined as:
evaluating the positions, attitudes, options, the problems
impeding or helping the mediation; carefully evaluating the
situation as it unfolds. [32/M/B/L]
In contrast, the other respondent defined evaluative in more relational terms
saying that it:
enabled the parties to be self aware, to be aware of perceptions
and feelings of others, to look at common goals, to make
choices based on all factors. [300/M/C/L]
Continuing with this line of inquiry, a similar comparison with the
facilitative orientation was carried out. This approach to mediation practice,
according to Riskin (1996), is one where the mediator helps parties
162
understand and define the problems they wish to address as well as facilitate
a discussion of underlying interests rather than positions. Contrasting this
definition with the ones respondents gave below also displays an overlapping
of terms but divergence in meaning. Even with just a cursory look, five
different conceptions of the facilitative orientation are apparent – education,
settlement, communication, process and self-determination. One respondent
accentuated the educational function of the facilitative orientation this way,
[it] starts from the assumption that there is no cookie cutter
model that can be superimposed on conflict; it is a field of
counseling, no two clients are alike. Teaching mediation as a
flexible and educational experience would seek the disputants
input in process design, allow the disputants to educate the
intervenor and each other about their perspectives, and about
ways they can effectively communicate to address issues of
significance to them. [143/F/W/SS]
In another case, the facilitative orientation meant creating the opportunity to
reach settlement:
the role of the mediator is to provide opportunities for the parties
to negotiate their own settlement. [40/F/W/SS]
In this next example of what the facilitative orientation means emphasis is
placed on communication:
I facilitate communication and facilitate each party changing
how they see the problem. [57/F/C/SS]
For many respondents, the facilitative orientation found meaning in
overseeing the process of mediation. To cite one respondent,
[I] guide the process, deal with what comes up around the table,
do what's necessary to move on, where movement is frustrated
[I] find out why, caucus. [209/F/F/SS]
163
And finally, as an example of understanding the facilitator role as selfdetermining one respondent said,
[I] create an environment -- physically and through questions
which permit parties to be aware of their own needs to arrive at
their own solution. [144/M/C/L]
As further evidence of the insight that the terms used by today’s
mediators do not always have the same meaning, I looked at the definitions
for the transformative orientation given by respondents. Bush and Folger’s
(1994) definition of transformative mediation is one of the more recent and
contested found in the literature. In their view, transformative mediation
requires that participants in mediation be empowered to resolve their dispute,
and be able to recognize what the other party is going through. While some
respondents in this study did have similar understandings to those of Bush
and Folger, others offered different meanings for the word transformative as
evidenced in the following. Some respondents defined transformative as
having the potential to change institutional structures; this understanding
correlates with understandings of early mediation proponents (Wahrhaftig,
1982; Shonholtz, 1984). The following is a good example of this
understanding:
[Transformative mediation provides] the opportunity to transform
social process and systems into user-friendly satisfying and
empowering experiences. [22/F/C/B]
164
In another instance, emphasis was placed on the relational aspects of
mediation as seen in this comment:
“[I] work on shifting the relationship between the parties [by]
seeing each other's pain. [131/M/W/L]
Another meaning attributed to the transformative orientation was directed
toward personal transformation. One respondent said:
that the parties involved in the conflict will be transformed in
some way by the process of mediation, in the way they may
behave in the future (problem-solve, communicate, etc.); from
adversarial and confrontational to cooperative and integrate that
even worst situations can be transformed into positive
outcomes. [271/F/C/SS]
In a fourth instance, a respondent understood transformative as a spiritual
event:
the person or people in essence experience a spiritual shift and
would look at other conflict situations through different glasses.
I as the mediator focus and believe in the essential goodness of
the disputants. [312/M/C/L]
To further illustrate, when I examined other definitions of the same
term this divergence in meaning continued to be present. While it is not
pertinent that I demonstrate all of the variations in terms, I would like to
highlight a few more examples. The settlement orientation was defined, as
might be expected, with an emphasis on resolution,
I help parties resolve their immediate problem. [191/M/B/L]
It was also described in more process-related terms,
165
process expectations, agenda setting, the sufficiency of
information for decision-making, generating options, facilitating
professional input, resolutions. [200/M/F/L]
And, it was conflated with the transformation orientation,
it means that my primary focus for mediation is on settlement. I
really can't differentiate between the settlement and
transformative. I disagree with Folger and Bush that they are
either/or. They are in my mind both equally important and
appropriate focuses. [360/M/F/B]
Definitions of the term humanistic were also varied. In one case a
respondent understood this to mean that she should feel what the parties feel
[I] relate to people as individuals with a specific involved interest
in their problem and a desire to feel what they feel. [9/F/C/SS]
Another respondent simply defined it as being people focused, “people
relationship oriented” [243/F/W/SS]. And a third respondent described the
humanistic orientation in more global terms,
humanistic means to me that people when they are fully known
and honored by themselves for who they are, are divine beings
capable of anything. Mediation at its best serves notice to
people about who they really are and calls on them to begin to
be that in a world that sorely needs them. [282/M/B/L]
What is to be drawn from the confusing usage of these mediation
terms, and what are the implications for the field? Perhaps one of the most
obvious implications is that we can no longer presume to know what people
mean when they talk about mediation. Thus, it will be important to continue
to examine, at the micro level, how men and women understand mediation.
166
And as a follow-up question, how these understandings are reflected in their
practice. A further implication of there not appearing to be a common
language used by the mediation community is that it complicates the task of
setting standards which define what is good mediation and what is not.
Conclusion
The analysis in this chapter suggests that there are many
understandings of mediation and that an individual’s background, experience
and characteristics are shaping understandings of mediation. This may
account for some of the ambiguity that surrounds the mediator role and
preoccupies the field with debates about a best and a right way to mediate.
Although mediation is not usually constructed as a single entity, attempts at
drawing out the plurality of practice have not paid sufficient attention to the
context within which the act of mediation occurs, or to the contextual
experiences of mediators themselves. This work suggests that it is important
to do so, and it highlights the need for further study in this direction.
This chapter also brings to the fore the insight that while mediators
may use the same language they do not necessarily mean similar things. As
the field moves to “professionalize” itself it will be measured on the extent to
which it has a defined body of knowledge (Pavalko, 1971), and by default, a
defined language system. The need to construct a common language will no
doubt draw the attention of those wishing to regulate the field. Understanding
167
that mediation has a variety of meanings to those that both practice and teach
mediation lends insight into the complexities of this task.
In the next chapter differences in meaning continue to be examined.
This time how respondents describe their mediation style, why they change
their style and how variations in style are linked to contextual factors is the
focus of analysis.
168
Chapter Six
Mediation Styles
Introduction
In this chapter attention is turned from how individuals conceptualize
their role as a mediator to how they describe their style of mediation. Once
again, of interest were how understandings of style might vary and how they
were linked to contextual factors. Divergence in meaning with commonly
used terms was also under examination. In this latter quest, a similar pattern
to the discussion in Chapter 5 - that respondents did not always attribute the
same meaning when using the same word, was found. Differences in how
male and female mediators described their style were also striking. Men
tended to use more problem-solving characterizations while women used
more relational terms. That being said, half of the women and half of the men
in this study describe their style as facilitative. Another of the other insights
from the analysis of mediator style was that respondents report they typically
change their style of mediation depending, for the most part, upon the nature
of the parties.
The literature cites many differences in mediation styles that have
their basis in an individual’s ideological views. Two examples of differing sets
of ideologies are represented in the following discussion. Communicative
mediators assume that “relationship is the primary context of interest in
mediation and that a communication perspective is essential to understanding
169
the generative synergy of communication and relationship; the interrelation of
relationship and communication is a central foci of the mediation process”
(Jones, 1994:27). Settlement mediators, on the other hand, operate from an
individualist set of ideologies and “want to find a substantive outcome that will
result in a deal; substantive matters organize their practice” (Kolb, 1994:471).
This emphasis on communication or settlement to distinguish different
approaches to mediation has been characterized in various bi-polar
typologies that have been discussed throughout this dissertation, most
notably in Chapter 2.
The descriptions of mediator styles collected in this study were
organized into three broad types for coding purposes: 1) facilitative, 2)
problem-solving and 3) relational. The facilitative 57 style code included
responses that emphasized the management of process. The problemsolving style code emphasized the settlement of disputes. Both these style
descriptions resemble the settlement style described by Kolb (1994). The
relational style code is similar to Jone’s (1994) communicative style as
respondents made considerable reference to communication and rapportbuilding. Similar to the findings in Chapter 5, which examined respondents’
57
The “facilitative” style is not to be confused with the “facilitative” role found in Chapter 5. While I
would have preferred to use different labels to distinguish style and role, the word facilitative was used
in the descriptions provided by respondents to questions about role and style to such an extant that it
would have been inappropriate to use other labels. This serves to strengthen the conclusion that
mediation terms are used interchangeably but with different meanings attached to them.
170
conceptualization of their role, there is not a single meaning associated with
respondents’ descriptions of their style.
The majority of the sample indicated that their styles have been
influenced by their “experience as a mediator” (90%) and their “life
experience” (82%). To a lesser degree, “continuing education and training”
(65%), “initial training” (60%), and “professional background” (57%) also
influenced the development of their style. This finding is consistent with what
has been written about how mediators ground their approach in ideological
views (Bush and Folger, 1994), and research which shows that mediators are
influenced by past experience, instruction and training (Wall and Lynn, 1993).
Religion and experience as a disputant in mediation were deemed to have
little or no impact on their style.
While most authors would agree that no mediator is fixed in one
approach to the exclusion of the other, there does seem to be a general
assumption that individuals can be characterized as having one mediation
style which impacts most regularly on their practice choices. This chapter
challenges this idea because it shows that, in their minds at least,
respondents believe they use different styles of mediation depending upon
the circumstances of the conflict situation. One respondent put it this way:
[I] tend to respond to the personalities of the disputants. If I
assess they need more structure because of emotions being
high I give them structure. If I sense a need to be more
171
facilitative I will. If my first choice of transformative mediation
does not seem to help us move I will settle for settlement.
[312/F/C/SS]58
One of the noteworthy findings in this chapter on style is that most
(79%) respondents report that they typically use more than one style of
mediation. The characteristics of the disputing parties are what most
frequently cause respondents to change their style - one third (34%) of
responses indicated this reason59. Characteristics of disputants include such
factors as age, gender, language, human needs, and the number of
participants in the mediation session. This finding did not differ when crosstabulated with gender, educational background, dispute sector or length of
time mediating, with one exception. Newcomer males indicated that the
“dynamics” (57% of responses) of the mediation session would cause them to
change their style; their second most frequently occurring response was
“nature of the participants” (43% of responses).
I. Differentiating Mediation Styles
Respondents were asked to describe in an open-ended question
format their typical style of mediation. Six coded factors were generated
from the responses given by respondents using the method of grounded
58
Attribution codes refer to case number/gender/dispute sector/educational background.
“The next most frequently occurring response was “dynamics” (18% of responses), followed by the
“nature of the dispute” (14% of responses), and “impasse” (12% of responses). Dynamics” refers to
what is going on in the mediation room, time constraints, communication patterns, and the
preparedness of the parties or their counsel. “Nature of the dispute” includes reference to issues
59
172
theory. The categories included 1) directive 2) facilitative 3) relational 4) nondirective 5) problem-solving and 6) transformative. A frequency analysis
showed that the “facilitative” factor (48% of responses) was by far the most
frequently occurring response. It was followed by “problem-solving” and
“non-directive” factors (each had 15% of responses). Describing their style
as “facilitative” is consistent with many respondents’ description of their role
as a mediator.
To increase cell size and enable further analysis of how respondents
describe their style of mediation, the six coded factors were recoded into
three factors. The new categories became: 1) problem-solving (includes the
directive and problem-solving factors), 2) facilitative (includes the facilitative
factor), and 3) relational (includes the relational, transformative and nondirective factors). Each of these three styles is described below. It is worth
noting at the outset that respondents’ descriptions of their style shows a
similar pattern of convergence in language but divergence in meaning to that
which was found in the analysis of the facilitative role in Chapter 5.
The Facilitative Style
The majority of respondents who had their definition of style coded as
“facilitative” actually used the word facilitative in their description, however,
(financial or involving children), purpose of the session, or degree of conflict. “Impasse” refers to the
inability to move forward, as well as use of threatening, controlling or other poor behavior.
173
they did not always attribute the same focus to this style of mediation. In
some instances the facilitative style appeared to have an educative goal, in
others it was more personally and emotionally attentive, and in still others it
had more to do with the management of process. This latter focus on
process was included in respondents’ descriptions more often than any of the
others, suggesting that mediators who describe their style as facilitative
understand this style to be one which attends to process. Three examples of
defining one’s style with process-focused meanings follow:
[I] follow the process which I have first explained; go with the
flow afterwards if needed, but always come back to the
process to look for common goals; look to the content and the
relationship at the same time. [25/F/F/SS]
[I am] facilitative in surfacing issues; challenging (through
questions) in exploring the issues; hands off when the parties
are dialoguing in non-blaming ways. [230/M/W/SS]
[I am in] control of process but facilitate information sharing
and discussion; facilitative, not evaluative but interventionist
[267/F/W/SS]
This definition can be contrasted with ones where individuals believe their
style to be more emotionally attentive – both in their personal manner and in
relation to the parties.
[I ] guide process firmly but allow parties to deviate from
stated agenda when it means the real issues are outside the
agenda; carefully manage the emotional climate and power
displays; verbalize my insights; understanding, trust and
integrity are goals for me. [41/F/W/SS]
[I am] easy going, relaxed, calm; oftentimes facilitative but
ready to be directive [325/M/C/SS]
174
Two examples of attributing an educative goal to the facilitative mediation
style are:
[I am] very facilitative but will educate the parties about
choices and alternatives often. [170/M/F/SS]
[I am] an empathetic teacher who is trying to facilitate the
students learning [6/M/F/SS]
Then again, some respondents included many of these goals in their
description of the style of mediation as evidenced in the following description:
[I am] facilitative. [I] focus on both problem solving and
techniques associated with problem solving as well as
relationship building and the development of empathy
between the parties. [I am] genuine and non-directive.
[143/F/W/SS]
It is apparent that for mediators the word “facilitative” has several
meanings. In Chapter 5, we saw that it was used to conceptualize the
mediator role, and now in this chapter it is being used to describe a style of
mediation (Table 22).
Table 22. Contrasting the Facilitative “Style” with the Facilitative “Role”
FACILITATIVE “STYLE”
FACILITATIVE “ROLE”
Process
Attention is focused on controlling the process.
Process
Attention given to managing process.
Personally Attentive
Attention is given to being personally attentive
and to dealing with emotions.
Communication
Attention given to enhancing communication
and understanding between parties.
Educate
Attention is given to educating the parties through
provision of information and modeling of
behaviours.
Resolution
Attention given to reaching a settlement and
resolution to the dispute.
175
In conceptualizing their “role” as facilitative, respondents used it to emphasize
attending to process, to communication, and to resolution. Similarly, when
describing their “style” as facilitative, respondents were also referring to
process-related acts. In addition to attending to process, respondents had a
tendency to describe their “facilitative” style as being emotionally and
personally attentive, and serving an educative function. They talked
considerably less about communication and even less, if at all, about
resolution. As with role definition, we find diversity in how respondents
understand their actions. Looking at what they said, lends further support to
the notion that while mediators use similar words, they often mean different
things by them.
The Problem-Solving Style
The “problem-solving” style category included reference to problem
solving and settlement. The following is an example of a settlement focused
problem-solving style.
[I am] settlement based - process related to specified issues
on agreed agenda reaching resolution. [200/M/F/L]
Quite interestingly, respondents also combined “problem-solving” with being
therapeutic when describing their style.
[My style is a] combination of problem solving and therapeutic
-- most of my clients want to find solutions/make decisions
and they may want to process some feelings (or doing so
helps with solutions.) [354/F/F/SS]
176
[I am] problem-solving, solution focused; when necessary will
use a more therapeutic approach until parents are ready to
mediate issues. [7/M/F/SS]
The above examples indicate a tendency for respondents to attribute
different emphasis regarding the ‘problem-solving” style. That being said, it
does seem true that the emphasis is toward the settlement of problems.
The Relational Style
Respondents who were coded as having a relational style mentioned
more “people-focused” activities than “problem-focused” tasks. They may
have also made reference to “magical moments” in mediation, to being
transformative, and to making a personal connection to the parties in the
mediation. Examples of conceptualizing one’s role in relational terms follow.
[I am] as neutral and balanced as possible, calm,
continuously optimistic, curious, focused, inspiring hope,
unhurried, trying to find the rhythm and place and space of
participants [101/M/C/SS].
[I am] conversational, [I] focus on relationship and underlying
“wounds”, [I am] low key, [I use] humor when appropriate
[131/M/W/L]
The above two are examples of how respondents understand their style as
understand as needing to make a personal connection with the parties. A
transformative understanding of the relational style is contained in the
following example:
177
[My style is] transformative, [I] aim to find magical moments
were true understanding of the other point of view is reached
and where parties passionately suggest they would do things
differently next time; build in opportunities for empathy”
[312/F/C/SS].
And finally, having a style that helps parties to understand each other is
another emphasis of the relational style:
getting underneath what they say and eliciting meaning,
depth, layers and helping them help each other [318//F/B/SS]
The relational style emphasizes the personal connection between the
mediator and the parties to the mediation. It also is attentive to
transformation by helping parties achieve understanding.
Looking at these three broad categories of mediator styles leads us to
reach similar conclusions to that which has been found in other parts of this
dissertation, namely, that there is not a single understanding for many of the
words used by mediators. Nor does it appear that only two opposing sets of
understandings exist as might be expected based on the extant literature.
Examination of how respondents’ descriptions of their style are linked to
contextual factors is the next item of analysis. It will show that gender,
dispute sector and educational background are connected to differences in
how mediators conceptualize their role.
178
Connecting Style to Contextual Factors
Almost half of respondents described their style as “facilitative” (48%),
followed by “relational” (33%) then “problem-solving” (19%) (Diagram 11).
Diagram 11: Mediation Styles
Relational
Problem-Solving
Facilitative
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
The majority of men used “problem-solving” concepts to describe their style.
The majority of women tended to use “relational” language (Table 23). This
finding concurs with Maxwell’s (1992) conjecture that there are male and
female mediation styles. That being said, close to half of the men and half of
the women in this study described their style as “facilitative”.
179
Table 23. Gender and Mediation Style
MALE
FEMALE
TOTAL
PROBLEMSOLVING
FACILITATIVE
RELATIONAL
TOTAL
69% (11)
43% (17)
37% (10)
46% (38)
31% (5)
58% (23)
63% (17)
54% (45)
100% (16)
100% (40)
100% (27)
100% (83)
83 valid cases; 5 missing cases.
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Analysis revealed that dispute sector also has an association to how
respondents describe his or her mediation style. Slightly more than half
(52%) of the respondents working in the community sector use “relational”
concepts to describe their style. Men (60%) in the community this sector had
a slightly stronger tendency to use “relational” concepts than women (50%).
Both veterans (56%) and newcomers (55%) in the community sector used
relational concepts to describe their style as a mediator. In each of the other
three sectors (family, business and workplace) “facilitative” was the more
common description of style. This latter tendency was more dominant in the
workplace sector (68%) and least dominant in the business sector (40%).
Close to half (45%) of family mediators described their style using “facilitative”
concepts. When gender and years mediating are added to the equation other
factors stand out. For instance, in the business sector almost two-thirds of
newcomer men use problem-solving concepts to describe their style, the
remainder uses more facilitative language (Table 24). This is in contrast to
one-quarter of veteran men who use problem-solving language. They use
180
more facilitative and more relational concepts to describe their style. Veteran
women are more relational than either facilitative or problem-solving, whereas
newcomer women used both facilitative and relational language.
Table 24. Mediators Style, Dispute Sector, Experience and Gender
COMMUNITY
ProblemSolving
NEWCOMER
MEN
Facilitative
40% (2)
Relational
60% (3)
Total
ProblemSolving
NEWCOMER
WOMEN
50% (1)
60% (3)
31% (4)
50% (1)
40% (2)
39% (5)
100% (2)
100% (5)
WORKPLACE
Total
100% (1)
31% (4)
100% (1)
100% (13)
20% (1)
5% (1)
57% (4)
40% (2)
50% (1)
60% (3)
53% (10)
Relational
43% (3)
40% (2)
50% (1)
40% (2)
42% (8)
100% (7)
100% (5)
100% (2)
100% (5)
100% (19)
33% (2)
23% (3)
40% (2)
29% (7)
Facilitative
33% (2)
46% (6)
60% (3)
46% (11)
Relational
33% (2)
31% (4)
100% (6)
100% (13)
11% (1)
29% (2)
20% (1)
Facilitative
33% (3)
57% (4)
20% (1)
Relational
56% (5)
14% (1)
60% (3)
100% (9)
100% (7)
100% (5)
100% (4)
100% (25)
100% (21)
100% (20)
100% (25)
100% (15)
100% (81)
Total
ProblemSolving
VETERAN
WOMEN
BUSINESS
Facilitative
Total
ProblemSolving
VETERAN
MEN
100% (5)
FAMILY
Total
TOTAL
25% (6)
100% (5)
100% (24)
16% (4)
100% (4)
48% (12)
36% (9)
81 valid cases; 7 missing cases.
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Educational background also appears to have an association with
style. Whereas one-third (30%) of respondents with law or business
backgrounds used “problem-solving” language, one third (35%) of
181
respondents with social science backgrounds used “relational” language to
describe their style. That being said, both groups used “facilitative” concepts
the most often.
As has just been seen, differences in respondents’ descriptions of their
style are linked to gender, sector and educational background. As a general
comment and not to stereotype, women working in the community sector and
those with social service backgrounds tend to conceptualize their style of
mediation to be “relational” more so than other groups. These findings are
not surprising given what sociological studies of gender say about the
relational nature of women (Gilligan, 1982). Others have also written that
women are inclined to enhance integration between disputants (Dewhurst
and Wall, 1994), that there are gendered perceptions of the mediator role
(Weingarten and Douvan, 1995), and that there are male and female
mediation styles (Maxwell, 1992).
II. The Use of Caucus
Carrying on with this discussion of mediation style, one of the
distinguishing and contested characteristics of a mediator’s style today is the
extent to which they hold private meetings, called caucuses, in relation to joint
sessions. It seemed prudent in this analysis of mediator styles to ascertain
differences in respondents reporting on their use of caucus, as well as links to
the four contextual factors used throughout this research.
182
The value of using caucus sessions is a subject of controversy (Pruitt,
1995), and various writers have touched upon reasons for, and against, the
use of private sessions (Blades, 1984; Kolb, 1983; Markowitz and Engram,
1983). Some mediators prefer to hold most of the mediation in caucus
because they believe that parties will be freer to speak, that it helps to keep
emotions from escalating, and that they can be more directive in moving
parties to an agreement. Other mediators keep the parties together for as
long as possible and use it as a strategy only when parties appear stuck and
unable to move forward in the negotiation process. Still other mediators
discourage any use of caucus because they believe it denies the parties the
opportunity to learn to engage in creative discussion of their differences and
joint problem-solving. A good example of these differences is that, whereas
labor mediators caucus with the parties as a strategy to build trust, family
mediators avoid the use caucus for fear that private meetings would create
mistrust (Markowitz and Engram, 1983). This next section looks at how the
use of caucus might be connected to differences in how mediators
understand their role, and to how they describe their style.
Frequency of Caucus, Role and Style
The majority (88%) of respondents use a caucus model of mediation.
Groups with the highest incidence of reporting they “frequently” caucus (as
183
opposed to “rarely” or “occasionally”) include men (38%)60, especially
newcomer men (55%); respondents with law or business backgrounds
(35%) 61, and those in the business sector (50%) 62. When contextual
variables are clustered, other patterns emerge63 (Table 25). The business
sector is the only sector where both newcomer and veteran men and women
“frequently” caucus. In the workplace sector we find the reverse – both
veteran and newcomer men and women report that for the most part they
caucus “rarely”.
Table 25. Frequency of Caucus by Clusters
SECTOR
FAMILY
NEWCOMER
MEN
R
O
F
50%
VETERAN
MEN
R
O
F
50%
BUSINESS
(n4)
R
O 50%
F 50%
25%
75%
(n4)
WORKPLACE
R
O
F
100%
COMMUNITY
33%
33%
33%
50%
50%
R
O
F
(n4)
R
O
F
(n3)
R
O
F
(n2)
R
O
F
(n1)
R
O
F
R
O
F
75%
25%
(n2)
R
O
F
NEWCOMER
WOMEN
43%
57
40%
60%
(n5)
9%
55%
36%
(n11)
40%
20%
40%
(n5)
R
O
F
(n7)
VETERAN
WOMEN
R
O
F
17%
83%
R
O
F
20%
20%
60%
R
O
F
75%
(n8)
(n5)
25%
(n4)
R
O
F
86%
14%
(n0)
(n7)
Code: R =rarely; O = occasionally; F = frequently. 72 valid cases; 16 missing cases.
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
60
Eighteen percent (18%) of women said they caucus “frequently’.
This is in contrast to nineteen percent (19%) of respondents with social science backgrounds.
62
The breakdown in the other sectors is workplace (21%), family (12%) and community (12%).
63
While the cell size in the clustered groups is small, the patterns that do emerge are worth noting and
exploring in future research.
61
184
The use of caucus is also connected to how respondents understand
their role. More than half (57%) of mediation trainer-practitioners who report
that they caucus “frequently” understand their role as “facilitating process”.
The same is true for those who (46%) who caucus “occasionally”. Individuals
who “rarely” caucus understand their role as “facilitating communication”
(39%), or “facilitating communication and process” (39%).
There is also a connection between frequency of caucus and reported
descriptions of style (Table 26). Of those respondents who say they “rarely”
caucus, two-thirds describe their mediation style as “facilitative”. They were
followed by respondents who describe their style using more “relational”
terms. Respondents who caucus “occasionally” also describe their style as
“facilitative” and “relational”. Respondents who caucus “frequently” are
mixed in the use of concepts to describe their style. They are also the only
group to use “problem-solving” terms when describing their style of mediation.
Table 26: Mediator Style and Frequency of Caucus
STYLE
RARELY
OCCASIONALLY
FREQUENTLY
TOTAL
PROBLEM-SOLVING
7% (1)
15% (5)
37% (7)
19% (13)
FACILITATIVE
67% (10)
47% (16)
32% (6)
47% (32)
RELATIONAL
27% (4)
38% (13)
32% (6)
34% (23)
TOTAL
100% (15)
100% (34)
100% (19)
100% (68)
68 valid cases; 20 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
185
These findings show that mediators who report that they caucus
“frequently” have a tendency to define their “facilitative” role as “facilitating
process” and to describe their style of mediation as “problem-solving”. On the
other hand, individuals who “rarely” caucus are more apt to describe their
“facilitative” role as “facilitating communication” and describe their style as
“facilitative”. It can be drawn from this that respondents use caucuses more
frequently if they see mediation as a problem solving process than if they see
it as a vehicle for improving communication. This conclusion is consistent
with distinctions made in the literature about problem-solving approaches
versus communicative approaches. This discussion move to why individuals
call a caucus and how this relates to contextual factors.
Reasons for Calling a Caucus and Contextual Factors
Respondents report that they use a caucus for three general purposes:
1) to generate information (50% of responses), 2) to manage the mediation
process (34% of responses) and 3) to deal with emotions and safety issues
(17% of responses) 64. Unlike Markowitz and Engram’s (1983) findings, which
compared labour dispute mediation with divorce mediation, mediators in this
study did not mention building credibility and trust with the parties as a reason
to caucus. Both men (74% of responses) and women (70% of responses)
64
The category “manage process” includes reasons such as breaking impasse, confronting parties and
improving communication. “Emotional issues” includes reference to power and safety concerns, as
well as emotions. “Generating information” included reference to checking-in with parties, gathering,
providing and clarifying information, as well as parties requesting to meet with the mediator.
186
said that they mostly caucus to “generate information”. They also reported
that they caucus for different reasons. Close to half (40%) of the responses
given by women indicated that they caucus for “emotional or safety issues”
while only six percent (6%) of men’s responses indicated this as a reason
they call a caucus; men are more likely to caucus to “confront parties” (38%
of responses).
Both veterans (80% of responses) and newcomers (60% of responses)
say they caucus to “generate information" (Table 27). Newcomer men,
however, said that they would caucus to “manage the mediation process”
(68% of responses). Veteran men (86% of responses) and women (74% of
responses) as well as newcomer women (65% of responses) say they caucus
to “generate information”.
Dispute sector is linked to why individuals use caucus. Community
(71% of responses) and family (56% of responses) mediators say they
caucus to “manage process”, whereas business (96% of responses) and
workplace (77% of responses) mediators report that they caucus primarily to
“generate information”. As might be expected given the nature of the cases
they mediate, family mediators more so than any other sector report that they
caucus to deal with “emotional issues”.
187
Educational background is also connected to their use of caucus. The
most frequently occurring response in each of the three educational contexts
was “information generating”. Individuals with social science backgrounds
were, however, more likely to caucus for “emotional or safety issues” (36% of
responses) than individuals with law (13% of responses) or business
backgrounds (9% of responses). This latter finding is linked to gender. More
of the responses from women (50% of responses) with social science
backgrounds indicated that they would caucus for “emotional or safety issues”
than responses from men with law (7% of responses) or business (0%)
backgrounds. That being said, women with social science backgrounds (50%
of responses) commented more frequently that they would caucus for
“emotional or safety issues” reasons than women from the legal (22% of
responses) or business sectors (20% of responses).
Table 27. Reasons for Calling a Caucus
REASONS TO
CAUCUS
GENDER
PROCESS
Men
GENERATE
INFORMATION
EMOTIONAL AND
SAFETY ISSUES
DISPUTE
SECTOR
Community
Family
EDUCATIONAL
BACKGROUND
Newcomer Men
Both
Workplace
Business
Business
Law
Social Science
Women
Family
Social Science
Women
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
EXPERIENCE
Newcomers
Veterans
Newcomer Men
Newcomer Women
188
Conclusion
Mediators in this study describe their style of mediation differently, and
these differences are linked to contextual factors. Male respondents have
more of tendency to use “problem-solving” concepts to describe their style of
mediation while women respondents use more “relational’ terms. “Relational”
language is also more prevalent among community mediators; respondents
working in the other three sectors tended to describe their style as
“facilitative”. Respondents with law or business backgrounds used more
“problem-solving” concepts to describe their style, while those with social
science backgrounds used more “relational” terms.
Mediators also claim that their style changes depending, for the most
part, on the parties, and to a lesser extent, the nature of the dispute, and the
dynamics in the room. One might conclude from this finding that we may be
able to predict an individual’s mediation style if we know the profile of the
mediator and their clients. Further exploration of this conclusion is beyond
the scope of this study. This topic would, however, make for an interesting
area of study for another project. This insight is likely to be of use to
mediation consumers wanting to engage the skills of a mediator. It is also
useful information to those who assign cases to mediators. Furthermore, the
information may be of use to policy makers assigned the task of deciding who
can and cannot mediate in particular forums. On the other hand, finding that
mediators try to accommodate different dimensions in a mediation session
189
might suggest that rigid guidelines about the form of mediation should not be
created. Instead, it might be best to affirm the diversity of mediation practices
in order to encourage that mediation services are available for a range of
conflict situations and for individuals from different cultures, socio-economic
classes, as well as other social groups.
In the following chapter, a framework for understanding mediation is
presented. This framework was developed from the data relating to
mediators’ roles, orientations and styles presented in Chapters 5 and 6. This
data was then organized on a matrix table (Appendix B). Chapter 7
discusses how the contextual variables interact with each other. It concludes
that an individual’s understanding of mediation has advanced beyond the
bipolar descriptions often presented in the literature. This suggests that more
elaborate analytical tools are needed to understand the increasingly complex
nature of mediation.
190
Chapter Seven
A Framework for Understanding Mediation
Introduction
As others have quite ably set out, there are many ways to mediate
(Kressel, 1972; Silbey and Merry, 1986; Bush and Folger, 1994; Kolb and
Associates, 1994; Riskin, 1994). This study too reveals varied perspectives
on how mediators understand mediation. Unlike the extant literature, which
posits patterns of practice within dualistic indicators, this research reveals at
least four interrelated patterns of understanding. Suggesting that mediators
in this study do not understand their work as having only one or another set of
meanings. In fact, it seems they draw on a range of meanings to
conceptualize their work. While these patterns of understanding do involve
poles, this research suggests these poles do not have entirely separate traits.
Instead, the patterns contain elements of the same traits. In other words,
mediators draw from both ends of the poles to varying degrees to
conceptualize the practice of mediation. Throughout this dissertation it has
been argued that mediation is complex and varied and that it is no longer
sufficient to view it in dichotomous representations. In this chapter a broader
framework for understanding mediation is presented.
To make comparisons, detect patterns and draw conclusions about the
meanings mediators give to their work, the relations among a number of
variables were organized into a matrix table (Appendix B) using a variable-
191
oriented approach (Miles and Huberman, 1994:91). The variables included
were taken from the coded responses to questions found in Section B:
Mediation - The Practice of the research instrument (Appendix A) used in this
study. This section of the questionnaire was designed to gather information
on the practice of mediation as understood by mediation trainer-practitioners
in Canada. Instructions at the beginning of the section encouraged subjects
to respond to each question based on what he or she actually did as a
mediator and not what they thought others might do. Furthermore, when
answering each question respondents were directed to reflect on situations in
the area were they most often mediated as well as indicate which area this
was. While it is not possible to be certain if respondents complied with this
request, the fact that all but two of the sample listed a sector led me to
assume that most had done as directed. Moreover, the first question
respondents were asked to complete in Section A of the instrument asked
that they indicate the dispute area where they had mediated most often
during the past two years. These two questions were used to assign
respondents to a particular sector for analytical purposes and lend confidence
to the analysis of variation within and across the four dispute sectors used in
this study.
Included in the matrix table were questions in which subjects had been
asked to describe their role, style and orientation of mediation, along with
questions about the use of caucus, beliefs about mediation, and coded
192
responses to the vignette questions using Waldman’s (1996) social norm
typology. The combination of responses in the display table was then used to
determine a pattern of mediation meaning for each respondent.
As might be expected there is a tendency for groups 65 of individuals to
use similar concepts to describe their approach to mediation. Less expected
was the extent to which different concepts were used within each group, and
more surprisingly, by individuals. This suggests that individuals and groups
of individuals do not use only one set meanings to define their work. Some of
this diversity in meaning may be accounted for by the growth and expansion
of mediation into new dispute arenas over the past decade or more (Chapter
2). It is also likely a reflection of the diversification of professionals now
working as mediation practitioners. As well, the emergence of mediation as a
new profession (Chapter 3) has created an increasing amount of literature
that posits both expanding and contrasting theories of mediation practice.
That mediators appear to be diversified and flexible in their understandings of
mediation suggests that the field may be becoming more flexible and
diversified. If this is true, it may well be that it would be premature to
designate what mediation is, and is not, for fear of restricting this diversity. It
may also be that a singular definition of mediation is not possible or even
65
Group refers to a clustering of individuals with similar characteristics such as those who work in the
same dispute sector, are of the same gender, educational background or are considered to be
newcomers or veterans based on the number of years they have been mediating.
193
desirable. Furthermore, it suggests that we may need new analytical tools to
make sense of the patterns of meaning within and among groups of
mediators.
The framework for understanding mediation that was constructed from
the matrix table is comprised of four distinct patterns of mediation meanings.
These patterns represent clusters of mediation traits, based on coded
responses to a number of questions, which interact differently to produce the
distinct patterns. It is important to stress that these patterns are not
monolithic blocks and can be better understood as heuristic devices upon
which to make comparisons more than absolute or rigid generalizations. The
framework should also not be viewed as a linear progression or even a
continuum that posits one against the other. In fact, a major insight from this
dissertation is finding that it is problematic to depict approaches to the
practice of mediation through dichotomous classification schemes as is often
found in the literature 66. Understanding mediation and its complexities
requires more than contrasting the opposites. It requires that the integrative
nature of mediation be recognized. It also requires that we look for traits of
mediation and patterns of interaction that do not locate individuals entirely at
one or another pole of a dichotomy. Taking an integrative approach enables
66
Some classification systems include broad verses narrow and facilitative versus evaluative (Riskin,
1994); problem-solving versus transformative (Bush and Folger, 1994); bargaining versus therapeutic
(Silbey and Merry, 1986); settlement and communicative (Kolb and Associates, 1994).
194
one to glimpse a fuller range of understandings within the practice of
mediation.
I. An Integrative Framework for Understanding Mediation
Simply put, an integrative framework moves beyond binary thinking. It
builds upon previous findings in this study which show that mediators, and
their understandings of mediation practice, are diverse. An integrative
framework seeks to recognize these differences and the variations in patterns
of difference. It accepts that dualistic notions of mediation are present,
however, it argues that such representations are no longer sufficient for
understanding the complexities of mediation practice. In fact, dualistic
notions often serve to hide the diversity within mediation.
To gain insight into how mediators understand and give meaning to
their work (and thus shape the practice of their work 67), an analytical tool that
identifies traits of mediation meanings and patterns of interaction among
these traits is presented. This tool was constructed from the compilation of
responses to questions about how respondents understood their role, style
and orientation to mediation and how they responded to five vignette
questions. The compilation of their answers showed four distinct patterns of
67
A number of sociological theorists stress that action is intentional and can be understood by
examining meanings and motives (Weber, 1962). They hold that our conceptual construction of action
shapes our practice (Bourdieu, 1987), and that the concepts we hold enter constitutively into what we
do (Giddens, 1993). This study has, however, made no attempt to examine the correlation between
meaning and performance.
195
meanings about mediation. These combinations of interactions were labeled
the “pragmatic”, the “socioemotional”, the “pragmatic-socioemotional”, and
the “socioemotional-pragmatic”, patterns 68.
Defining the Framework
Individuals who have a highly “pragmatic” pattern of meaning tend to
define their orientation to mediation with words such as settlement, evaluative
and directive. For the most part, they understand their role to be that of
helping parties to achieve a resolution to their dispute. Based on the
language they use, they appear to be task-focused and problem-oriented.
Mediators who use highly “pragmatic” patterns of meaning report that they
caucus frequently. Furthermore, they attend to social norms in their
mediation practice by using a norm-advocating style 69.
Mediators with a highly “socioemotional” pattern of meaning express
their orientation to mediation practice with terms such as humanistic,
transformative, and relational. They understand their role to be that of
helping parties to communicate and better understand each other. In
68
Considerable time was given to finding the “right” words to define these categories. And, while
they are still perhaps not the “best” words they were chosen based on my interpretation of the
meanings associated with responses to the research questions. Confidence in their usage was gained
after numerous discussions with respected colleagues as well as individuals less familiar with
mediation. The general consensus was that while these terms were not “perfect” they did reflect what
was being constructed. The term socioemotional was borrowed from Kressel and Pruitt (1989:421),
however, it is being used in a broader sense than was depicted by them.
196
mediation they describe themselves as being more focused on the people
than on the problem at hand. Mediators with “socioemotional” patterns are
attentive to emotions. They say they rarely caucus, and they attend to social
norms in mediation by using a norm-generating 70 style.
It is important to stress that classifying a mediator’s pattern of meaning
as highly “pragmatic” does not mean they have no “socioemotional” traits, or
vice versa. In fact, the data would suggest that traits from one pattern are
present to a more or lesser degree in each of the other patterns. It seems
that as the field has developed the tendency for mediators to move back and
forth between patterns of meaning has increased and is connected to the
nature of the parties and the nature of the dispute, as well as their training
and experience.
Individuals classified as leaning toward the “pragmatic-socioemotional”
and the “socioemotional-pragmatic” patterns use a more evenly distributed
mixture of concepts when describing their role, style and orientation to
mediation. For example, in one question they might use terms that would be
classified as “pragmatic” then in another question use terms that would be
coded as “socioemotional”. The “socioemotional-pragmatic” pattern includes
69
Norm-advocating, as a mediation is one in which a mediator weighs disputant autonomy against
social norms in order to ensure that any agreement reached concords with relevant social norms. See
Waldman (1996:735) for a more elaborate discussion of the social-norm model of mediation.
197
individuals who were found on the matrix table to use more “socioemotional”
terms than “pragmatic” terms. The reverse is the case for the “pragmaticsocioemotional” pattern. In both patterns, mediators report that they caucus
occasionally, and they attend to social norms by primarily using a normeducating 71 style of mediation.
This study is not concerned with “proving” that these patterns of
meanings exist. That few respondents described their work using only one
pattern of meaning and that larger groups of individuals did not use a single
set of meanings is considered to be of greater importance. This finding raises
two important questions for future research. How prevalent is it for mediators
to use more than one pattern of meaning when describing their work? And,
how is this flexibility in the use of mediation concepts carried over into the
practice of mediation? A question that is addressed in this research looks at
how patterns of mediation meanings are linked to contextual factors such as
gender, educational background, the dispute sector in which respondents
work, and the length of time they have been mediating. Before reporting on
these findings it is worth noting that respondents in this study were relatively
evenly split between the “pragmatic” and the “socioemotional” poles having
only a slight tendency toward the “socioemotional” pole. The distribution for
70
The hallmark of a norm-generating approach is its deliberate inattention to social norms. It seeks to
ensure parties have maximum control over the outcome of their dispute – autonomy dictates the
mediation structure (Waldman, 1996:733).
71
The norm-educating model is premised on the belief that knowledge of social norms is a
precondition to autonomous decision making (Waldman, 1996:734).
198
the four patterns of mediation meanings is as follows: pragmatic (25%),
socioemotional (21%) pragmatic-socioemotional and (22%), socioemotionalpragmatic (33%) (Diagram12).
Diagram 12: Patterns of Meanings
socioemotional
pragmatic
socioemotional
pragmatic
pragmatic
socioemotional
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
II. Connecting Patterns of Meaning to Contextual Factors
This next section examines patterns of meaning at a basic level
followed by an examination of clusters of contextual variables.
199
Gender
On the whole, women tend to use more “socioemotional” patterns of
meaning while men tend to use more “pragmatic” traits to describe mediation.
Close to half (42%) the men in the study group were categorized as highly
“pragmatic” followed by one-quarter (22%) who were coded as “pragmaticsocioemotional”; less than ten percent (10%) of men were coded as highly
“socioemotional”. This is in contrast to one-third (30%) of the women
respondents who were coded as highly “socioemotional” (30%) and another
third (38%) who were coded as “socioemotional-pragmatic”; only eleven
percent (11%) of the women were highly “pragmatic” (Diagram 13). There
does not appear to be any real change to this pattern if respondents are
newcomers or veterans.
Diagram 13: Patterns of Meanings and Gender
50
40
30
P
e
r
c
e
n
t
20
Gender
10
Male
0
Female
pragmatic
socioemotional-pragmatic
pragmatic-socioemotional
Patterns of Meaning
socioemotional
200
Educational Background
Half of the respondents with backgrounds in business were found to
use highly “pragmatic” patterns of meanings. Others with the same
background were evenly split between the “pragmatic-socioemotional”,
“socioemotional-pragmatic”, and “socioemotional” patterns (15% each). Men
with business backgrounds had highly “pragmatic” tendencies (Table 28).
The women, however, tended to use more “socioemotional-pragmatic” and
“socioemotional” traits. One-third of individuals with law backgrounds used
“pragmatic” concepts while another third used “socioemotional-pragmatic”
concepts. The others were split between the pragmatic-socioemotional” and
socio-emotional patterns of mediation meanings.
Table 28: Patterns of Meaning, Educational Background and Gender
PATTERNS OF MEANING
LAW
SOCIAL
SCIENCE
BUSINESS
TOTAL
Pragmatic
44% (7)
24% (4)
75% (6)
42% (17)
Pragmatic-socioemotional
19% (3)
29% (5)
13% (1)
22% ( 9)
Socioemotional-pragmatic
25% (4)
41% (7)
Socioemotional
13% (2)
6% (1)
13% (1)
10% (4)
Total
100% (16)
100% (17)
100% (8)
100% (41)
Pragmatic
20% (2)
6% (2)
20% (1)
11% (5)
Pragmatic-socioemotional
20% (2)
22% (7)
20% (1)
21% (10)
WOMEN Socioemotional-pragmatic
50% (5)
34% (11)
40% (2)
38% (18)
Socioemotional
10% (1)
38% (12)
20% (1)
30% (14)
Total
100% (10)
100% (32)
100% (5)
100% (47)
MEN
88 valid cases; 0 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
27% (11)
201
There is also a convincing difference between male and female lawyers
(Table 28). Whereas almost half of the male lawyers were coded as highly
pragmatic, less than one-quarter of the women fell into this category. The
majority of women lawyers were found to be “socioemotional-pragmatic”.
Respondents with social science backgrounds had mixed tendencies - slightly
more than one-third (37%) used “socioemotional-pragmatic” patterns of
meaning and another quarter (27%) used “socioemotional” concepts. Onequarter (25%) used “pragmatic-socioemotional” concepts while only twelve
percent (12%) used “pragmatic” patterns of mediation meanings. The
majority of men and women in this sector were found to be either
“socioemotional-pragmatic” or “socioemotional”.
To encapsulate, men with business backgrounds tend to be highly
“pragmatic”, as do men with law backgrounds (Table 29).
Table 29. Summary: Patterns of Meaning, Educational Background, Gender
LAW
SOCIAL SCIENCE
BUSINESS
MALE
Pragmatic
SocioemotionalPragmatic
Pragmatic
FEMALE
SocioemotionalPragmatic
Socioemotional
SocioemotionalPragmatic
That is not the case for men with backgrounds in the social sciences. They
tend to use “socioemotional-pragmatic” patterns of meanings. Women
lawyers and women with backgrounds in business were found to use
202
“socioemotional-pragmatic” patterns of meanings while women with social
science background largely used “socioemotional” concepts.
These findings suggest that an individual’s approach is connected to
his or her educational background and gender. While some scholars believe
that gender influences negotiation strategies (Watson, 1994; Gray, 1994;
Kolb, 1994), differences in how men and women mediate have not been
broadly discussed. Further research is needed to socially identify the extent
and pattern of gender differences.
Dispute Sector
In the workplace sector both men and women use predominantly
socioemotional patterns of meaning (Table 30). There is no difference to this
finding if respondents are veterans or newcomers to the field, nor is there a
difference based on his or her educational background.
Table 30. Summary: Patterns of Meaning, Dispute Sector and Gender
COMMUNITY
MALE
FEMALE
SocioemotionalPragmatic
SocioemotionalPragmatic
FAMILY
BUSINESS
WORKPLACE
Pragmatic
Pragmatic
Socioemotional
PragmaticSocioemotional
SocioemotionalPragmatic
Socioemotional
Respondents working in the business sector use highly “pragmatic” patterns
of meaning (42%) when describing their work as mediators. This may in part
be due to the fact that two-thirds of them are men, and men in this study tend
203
to use more “pragmatic” concepts whereas women tended to use more
“socioemotional traits. Individuals in the workplace sector use highly
“socioemotional” (44%) concepts. This is also not surprising when we recall
that mediators in this group do human rights and harassment mediations
where relational issues are central, as well as labour management and
organizational disputes. More than half (55%) of the mediators who work in
the community sector use “socioemotional-pragmatic” concepts to describe
their approach to mediation. As a group, family mediators use more mixed
concepts in their description of roles, styles, and orientations, although they
do have a slight tendency toward “pragmatic-socioemotional” patterns of
meaning (32%). There is also a tendency for male family mediators to use
“pragmatic” concepts more than their female counterparts (Table 26).
In the business sector the influence of gender is especially apparent
(Table 31). Whereas, half of men in the business sector were coded as using
highly “pragmatic” concepts, few women in the same sector used highly
“pragmatic” concepts. The majority used “socioemotional-pragmatic” patterns
of meaning. Thus, women working in the business sector in this sample tend
to define their work using more socioemotional than pragmatic patterns of
meaning. The reverse is true of men in the business sector.
204
Table 31: Patterns of Meanings, Dispute Sector and Gender
PATTERNS OF MEANING COMMUNITY
FAMILY
BUSINESS
WORK
PLACE
TOTAL
Pragmatic
17% (1)
44% (4)
56% (10)
14%
40% (16)
Pragmatic-socioemotional
33% (2)
22% (2)
22% (4)
14%
23% (9)
Socioemotional-pragmatic
50% (3)
33% (3)
17% (3)
29%
28% (11)
6% (1)
43%
10% (4)
MALE
Socioemotional
FEMALE
Total
100% (6)
100% (9)
100% (18)
100% (7) 100% (40)
Pragmatic
6% (1)
15% (2)
13% (1)
Pragmatic-socioemotional
6% (1)
39% (5)
25% (2)
22% (2)
22% (10)
Socioemotional-pragmatic
56% (9)
15% (2)
50% (4)
33% (3)
39% (18)
Socioemotional
31% (5)
31% (4)
13% (1)
44% (4)
30% (14)
Total
100% (16)
100% (13)
100% (8)
100% (9) 100% (46)
9%( 4)
86 valid cases; 2 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
Length of Time Mediating
Newcomers to mediation tend to be slightly less pragmatic in how they
understand mediation than veterans (Table 32).
Table 32: Length of Time Mediating
Newcomers
Veterans
Pragmatic
22%
28%
25% (n22)
Pragmatic-socioemotional
18%
24%
22% (n19)
Socioemotional-pragmatic
39%
28%
32% (n28)
Socioemotional
21%
20%
21% (n18)
100% (n54)
100 (n87)
Total (n) 100% (n33)
87 valid cases; 1 missing case
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
205
To sum up this section on the connection between contextual factors
and traits of mediation meanings, this research shows that women mediators
tend to use more “socioemotional” traits while men tend to use more
“pragmatic” traits when describing mediation. This finding of gender
difference appears consistent with other analyses of gender differences in
social thought and behavior (Gilligan, C, 1982; Tannen, 1990) and more
specifically in relation to conflict and mediation (Taylor and Beinstein Miller,
1994; Weingarten and Douvan, 1985). Similar to the findings in this study,
their studies showed that men tended to focus on task aspects while women
were more sensitive to feelings and emotions. Social scientists are not
suggesting that only one, or the other, gender practices particular sets of
skills and strategies. Rather, they are saying that gender tendencies in the
selection of goals and styles of behaviour exist based on ones’ view of a
problem. To illustrate this point, Weingarten and Douvan (1985) found that
male mediators tended to construct their role as instruments of a process
aimed at seeking solutions while female mediators emphasized the process
of coming to understand the parties and acceptance of difference more so
than reaching agreement. Although no definitive conclusions can be drawn
from either this research or the Weingarten and Douvan study, the implication
from both studies is that men and women mediators tend to have different
conceptualizations of mediation practice. Of course it is also possible that
this difference is a reflection of how men and women are positioned in their
area of work.
206
In addition to gender differences in the use of mediation patterns of
meaning, this research also found that individuals with backgrounds in
business used more “pragmatic” concepts to conceptualize mediation than
those with law or social science backgrounds. And linked to this,
respondents working in the business sector tend to use more “pragmatic’
concepts than individuals in any of the other sectors.
Patterns of Meaning, Clusters of Factors, and Experience
When patterns of meaning by clusters of contextual factors are
examined, some interesting observations present themselves (Table 32).
Table 33. Patterns of Meaning by Clusters of Factors
SECTOR
NEWCOMER
MEN
P
50%
SE-P 50%
P
P-SE
S-EP
(n2)
P
60%
P-SE 20%
S-EP 20%
(n7)
P
54%
P-SE 23%
S-EP 15%
SE
8%
(n13)
FAMILY
BUSINESS
(n5)
SE
100%
WORKPLACE
(n1)
COMMUNITY
VETERAN
MEN
P
P-SE
S-EP
43%
29%
29%
P
17%
P-SE 17%
S-EP 33%
SE
33%
(n6)
17%
33%
50%
(n6)
(n0)
NEWCOMER
WOMEN
VETERAN
WOMEN
P
20%
P-SE 40%
S-EP 20%
SE
20%
(n5)
(n2)
P
13%
P-SE 38%
S-EP 13%
SE
38%
(n8)
P
17%
P-SE 33%
S-EP 33%
SE
17%
(n6)
P-SE
20%
S-EP
20%
SE
60%
(n5)
P-SE 25%
S-EP 50%
SE
25%
(n4)
S-EP
71%
SE
29%
(n7)
P
11%
P-SE 11%
S-EP 44%
SE
33%
(n9)
S-EP
100%
Code: P-pragmatic; P-SE–pragmatic-socioemotional; SE-P-socioemotional-pragmatic; SE-socioemotional
86 valid cases; 2 missing cases
Source: C. Picard, A Survey of Mediation in Canada, 1998
207
Notably, over time both men and women become more diversified in
how they understand mediation. This is especially apparent for men
mediating in the workplace sector.
Whereas all newcomers in the workplace sector conceptualized
mediation using only “socioemotional” patterns of meaning, veterans used all
four patterns of meaning to conceptualize mediation. As well, veteran men in
the business sector used more highly “socioemotional” concepts, and veteran
men in the family sector used more “pragmatic-socioemotional” patterns of
meaning. There were no veteran men in the community sector to compare
with newcomers. When describing mediation, veteran women in the
community and workplace sectors use “pragmatic” concepts more often than
newcomers. In the family and business sectors the pattern is the reverse.
Veteran women use highly “socioemotional” concepts to describe their work
more than newcomers. Over time women in each of the four sectors exhibit
more diversified understandings of mediation.
What does this mean? Firstly, it leads us to conclude that over time
mediators in this study seem to become more diversified in their
understandings of mediation72. Women working in the community sector
72
It may be that this diversification in understandings of mediation is not a pattern of maturation but
instead reflects differences in generational attitudes. For instance, veteran mediators may have been
trained differently or with a different set of ideologies. They may have always had a different
perspective of mediation from newcomers, and thus have not significantly changed as they matured as
mediators. Exploration of this topic would make for “next-step” research project.
208
come to have more “pragmatic” understandings, as do both men and women
in the workplace sector. In turn, women and men in the business sectors
come to have more “socioemotional” understandings. In the family sector,
women also come to have more “socioemotional” understandings while men
come to have more “pragmatic” understandings. Speculating on the reasons
for this, it may be that respondents have been exposed to more literature on
mediation. They may have taken courses from trainers with different views.
Or, their experiences as mediators may lead them to think more broadly
about their work. It may also be that as mediators have more encounters with
mediation they expand their mediation approach to enable them to respond to
a variety of conflicts and clients. All good reasons to encourage that
mediation continue to be broadly defined. A further observation is that these
findings suggest something different than what Silbey and Merry (1986) tell
us. They say that over time mediators become more pronounced in one style
of mediation. Whatever might be found about their behaviours, in their minds
at least respondents appear to broaden and diversify in their approach to
mediation. In light of the small sample size, these findings cannot be
generalized. There is, however, a distinct enough pattern to encourage future
research to examine whether the pattern extends to the general population,
and whether over time it is true that mediators become more diversified in
their mediation practices. It would also be prudent to examine this question
using other contextual factors, such as class, race, age, to name but a few.
209
Conclusion
This chapter draws the reader’s attention to the amount of variety
within respondents’ understandings of mediation, and to how, over time or
across generations, these understandings become increasingly diverse. Up
until now, the extent of this diversity has been hidden in dichotomous
modeling found in much of the extant research. Based on these bipolar
descriptions of mediation we might expect to find two sets of understandings
based on opposing views about mediation. In contrast to dualistic notions of
what mediation is, this study found combinations of patterns of interaction
suggesting that mediators draw on a range of mediation meanings to
understand their work. It also showed that mediators were not restricted in
the discourse they used. Thus, implying that it may be overly simplistic to
locate meanings of mediation in one or another ideological camp. This
research also shows that certain patterns of mediation meanings are
connected to internal and external factors including gender, educational
background, the dispute sector in which respondents work and the length of
time they have been working as mediators.
Conceptualizing mediation as a dichotomous phenomenon where
individuals who work as mediators are located at opposite poles may be
misleading. It seems increasingly important that those who work as
mediators be able to communicate to others how they understand (and in turn
respond) to conflict, especially in light of the development and expansion of
210
mediation. It will be equally important for users of mediation to be able to
comprehend the differences in types of mediation practice and types of
mediators to ensure they have the best chance of having their needs met.
Mediation is at a point in its development when it is constructing a language
and system of knowing. Understanding how patterns of meaning relate to
mediators’ actions and how patterns of meaning are connected to other
contextual factors will be important questions to pursue in future research.
If mediators want to improve their practice, regardless of whether or
not they want it to be a profession, they will need to be much more explicit
about the language they use to discuss their work. And, they will need to use
more detailed examples to explain what they mean when they discuss basic
concepts. Mediators will also need to learn to reflect on their practice and
abstract into general theories that are based upon the realities of their
practices, not ideals. Practice-based theoretical discussions could move
them beyond the implicit and often taken-for-grantedness of their work. If
mediators do want to create a profession they are going to need to take
academic knowledge more seriously. If they do not, it is unlikely that they are
going to be able to compete against others, such as lawyers, who have the
legitimacy of normative and abstract knowledge.
211
Chapter Eight
Conclusions, Implications and Future Research
Introduction
This research has explored how mediation trainers understand the
practice of mediation, how these understandings vary, and how they are
linked to gender, the dispute sector in which a respondent works, educational
background, and how long a respondent has worked as a mediator. It depicts
mediation in the late 1990’s as a dynamic, complex and evolving social
activity where differences in understanding of mediation are linked to
contextual factors.
This study is important because it provides new insights into mediation
through the method of grounded theory. This approach to sociological study
means that conclusions have been drawn from the ground up, in this instance
from depictions of mediation by individuals who currently practice as
mediators and teach others to mediate. The study was highly exploratory.
Further study that builds upon these insights is recommended.
This final chapter of the dissertation begins with a summary of the
major insights from this study and the contributions that it makes to human
knowledge. It concludes with questions raised by the study, implications for
policy, and suggestions for future research.
212
I. Major Insights and Contributions to Human Knowledge
1)
Current understandings of the practice of mediation by individual
mediators and groups of mediators’ appear to be more pluralistic,
dynamic, and complex than indicated by the bipolar depictions of
mediation found in the extant literature.
The extant literature on mediation leads us to conclude that mediators
can be categorized within two opposing ideological approaches to the
practice of mediation. This study, however, reveals at least four patterns of
interrelated traits for understanding current day mediation. To arrive at this
conclusion, respondents’ depictions of their role as mediators, their style of
mediation and their orientation to mediation practice were coded, analyzed
and interpreted using a multiple variable matrix-table approach. The results
suggest that today’s mediators do not understand their work as having only
one or another set of meanings and that they do not hold a single view of
mediation practice. Instead they draw on a range of meanings to
conceptualize their work. Further to this, many mediators report that they
change their style of mediation based on circumstances surrounding the
dispute and characteristics of the disputing parties.
It is important to note that this research found that veteran mediators,
both men and women, were more pluralistic in how they conceptualized their
213
approach to mediation than were newcomer mediators 73. It is not clear what
this diversification in understandings of mediation is saying. These
differences may be a reflection of differences in generational attitudes. Then
again they might reflect the maturation of individuals’ as mediators. What
does stand out is that this finding contradicts earlier studies, which suggest
that over time mediators become more set in their ways (Silbey and Merry,
1986), and that mediators have a predominant style (Riskin, 1994).
Mediation, thus, may be better perceived as a dynamic and evolving activity,
and not as one that, once learned, remains static. Viewing mediation as a
plurality of models need not imply an absence of common practice. It does,
however, suggest that accountability of practice would happen in ways other
than those traditionally constructed by other professions. To offer one
example, rather than restricting who can practice as mediators, consumer
protection might be addressed by educating consumers on how to select the
mediation approach and the mediator best suited to their needs.
Finding that individual mediators and various groupings of mediators
use a combination of meanings rather than a single meaning to depict their
work suggests that they are not rigid in their views of mediation. To some
extent, this both supports and challenges current thinking about mediators. In
support, Kolb (1994) found that mediators were not pre-set in their ways and
73
Veteran mediators have six or more years of mediation experience while newcomers have less than
six years of experience.
214
used on-the-spot decision-making. This study suggests that mediators may
have some tendencies as a result of their background and gender, but that
they change their style to suit a given situation. Silbey and Merry (1986) also
depicted mediators’ styles as changing depending upon the interaction of the
parties but they also suggest that mediator’ strategies become more
pronounced with experience. And, while Riskin (1996) posits that contrasting
mediation approaches are not tightly contained, he also says mediators
usually have a predominant orientation. As a challenge to current thinking,
mediators in this study view their role in more pluralistic ways over time. Not
only does this finding conflict with Riskin’s and Silbey and Merry’s work, it is
also contrary to Bush and Folger’s (1994) thinking that mediators are either
settlement driven or transformative, not both. Of course, comparing the
findings of this study with these other studies is problematic. This study relied
upon self-report measures, not observation, and conclusions reached were
based on what mediators think they do, not what they were seen to do. That
being said, there is enough of a pattern to warrant attention and further study.
Furthermore, interpretive sociology posits that conceptual constructions help
shape our actions (Gergen and Davis, 1985; Bourdieu, 1990; Giddens, 1993)
Hypothesizing that respondents’ understanding of mediation is
pluralistic challenges those who study and write about mediation to move
beyond either/or depictions of mediation. One of problems with bipolar
theories is that they inevitably lead to debates about which theory is “right”,
215
thus masking the merits of each. Thinking about mediation, as this study
suggests, as combinations of patterns of interacting mediation traits allows
the field to conceptualize mediation in more broad-based, inclusive and
dynamic ways. In so doing, the mediation community is encouraged to look
for and value difference and to support mediation applications that are
innovative, flexible and adaptable.
There is a further contribution. Conceptualizing mediation as a
combination of patterns of interacting traits encourages mediators to be
broad-minded in their views of mediation. Furthermore, given that the
patterns found in this study are not exhaustive suggests that other studies
could use the analytic model to draw out additional traits and combinations of
interacting traits. This would likely reveal that mediation is an even more
complex social activity than this study suggests.
2)
Variations in interpretations of the mediator role are linked to
internal and external contexts.
Not only does this study call into question the validity of bipolar
depictions of mediation, it also points to the need to be attentive to how
context impacts on conceptualizations of mediation. For instance, this study
found that the gender of a mediator is linked to differences in how mediation
is conceptualized. As a general statement, but not to stereotype, women
mediators tend to use more “socioemotional” concepts in their depictions of
216
mediation while men tend to use more “pragmatic” traits, irrespective of their
educational background, the dispute sector in which they work, or the how
long they have been mediating 74. Female mediators also tend to depict the
facilitator role as having to do more with communication than with process or
outcome, while for men it is the reverse. These tendencies are also
influenced by educational background, dispute sector and experience. To
illustrate, mediators working in the business sector tend to use more problemsolving language while those working in the workplace and community
sectors use more relational-type language when conceptualizing their work.
Those with law or business backgrounds use more pragmatic concepts to
articulate their work than those with social science backgrounds who use
more relational terms. And, newcomers have a slight tendency to use more
socioemotional language than mediators with experience. Of course, these
differences might be accounted for by contextual factors not examined in this
study. There were however, a sufficient number of re-occurring patterns of
gender and other difference that cannot be ignored and that call for further
research. While it is true others have written about there being a gender
difference in the practice of mediation (Taylor and Beinstein Miller, 1994), this
topic of inquiry has received far too little attention. This study brings to the
74
Examination of these contextual factors alone did show patterns of difference in how mediation was
understood. For instance, individuals working in the business sector, those with law and business
backgrounds, and veterans tended to use more “pragmatic” and “pragmatic-socioemotional” concepts
to conceptualize the practice of mediation. Those working in the workplace and community sectors,
those with social science backgrounds and newcomers to the field tended to use more
“socioemotional” and “socioemotional-pragmatic” concepts. Family mediators showed more of a
mixed pattern in these four patterns of traits.
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fore the need to gather further insights on how gendered experience and
other contextual factors shape, not only the meaning of mediation, but
perhaps more importantly, its practice.
Mediation is not usually constructed as a single entity in the extant
literature. Previous attempts to draw out the plurality of practice have,
however, not paid sufficient attention to the context within which the act of
mediation occurs. Nor, have they paid much attention to contextual factors
relating to the mediator or the disputing parties. This study suggests that a
mediators’ background, experience and characteristics help to shape their
understanding of mediation. It highlights the need for further study on how
these and other contextual factors, such as culture, class, power, to name but
a few, influence conceptions of mediation practice as well as the actual
mediation event.
3)
Mediators do not share a common understanding of the language
they use.
Not surprisingly, most mediators conceptualize their role as one of
facilitation. An important insight of this study is that they do not attach the
same meaning to this term. In some instances the word is used to depict
activities that include the exploration of needs and concerns, the
acknowledging of emotions, and the heightening of understanding. In other
instances it has to do with the guiding of process, the exploration of options
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for settlement, making possible joint-problem solving, empowerment, and
self-determination. Different meanings were also found to exist in
respondents’ definitions of their orientation to mediation. By way of
illustration, in some cases the transformative orientation is understood as
having to do with the potential to change institutional structures. In others it
has to do with the relational aspects of the mediation, and the transforming of
an individual. In still others, it is understood as a spiritual event. It follows
that a mediator’s understanding of their role and their orientation to mediation
is likely to carry over into their mediation practice. A questions for future
research would be, how do different understandings of the mediator role
impact on how an individual mediates?
Does the lack of a universal language reflect a sign of professional
immaturity? Or, might mediation be better imagined as drawing from a range
of professionals each with their own set of assumptions and goals for
mediation75? Following this latter thought, the plurality of understandings
found in this study are likely to continue to be present and even broaden as
mediation continues to expand into new arenas. Efforts to ensure better
understanding of the terms used by mediators may be a more useful way for
policy-makers to spend their time than creating limiting definitions. It seems
75
Morris identified many overlapping goals for mediation including those of personal, group or social
transformation, social justice, social order, community solidarity, party autonomy, and party
satisfaction (1997:304).
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no longer sufficient to call oneself simply “a mediator”. It may be more
appropriate to specify that one is a “divorce mediator”, or, “labour mediator”,
or, “civil court mediator” and, so on. Of course these labels would need to be
more clearly defined to reflect the particular approach and style of mediation
being practiced.
To improve their practice mediators will need to be much more explicit
about the language they use to discuss their work. And, they will need to use
more detailed examples to explain what they mean when they discuss basic
concepts. They also need to learn to reflect on their practice and abstract
into general theories that are based upon the realities of their work, not ideals.
Practice-based theoretical discussions could move them beyond the implicit
and often taken-for-grantedness of their work. To become a profession
mediators are going to need to take academic knowledge more seriously.
Otherwise, it is unlikely that they will be able to compete against others who
have the legitimacy of normative and abstract knowledge.
4)
Individuals who work as mediators are a diverse group.
This study portrays mediators as well educated, from diverse
backgrounds, mostly self-employed and spending about one-quarter of their
professional time doing mediation work. They were also found to offer
mediation services in a range of dispute sectors, and to commonly mediate
more than one type of dispute. The sample is characteristic of practicing
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mediators in other Canadian studies suggesting that trainers may be typical of
the general mediation population. Further study could tell us if this is so.
Currently, mediation in Canada does not appear to be dominated by
any one gender, nor by any one professional group. Gender, educational
background and dispute sector are, however, linked to differences in where
respondents most frequently work, their work status and the fees they charge.
Once again to generalize but not to stereotype, male mediators were found to
mediate in the business sector, to have law or business backgrounds, to
charge higher fees and to work as mediators more often than female
mediators did. On the other hand, women in this study were found to more
typically work in the community and family sectors, and have backgrounds in
the social sciences. This finding may relate as much to who chooses the
mediator as to what the mediator chooses to do. By way of illustration, it
could be that male mediators are chosen for cases involving business
disputes because men in our society are generally believed to be better at
business than women. The opposite could be true in the case of family
mediation, as women may be considered better able to deal with family
matters, especially if they involve children. Carrying this thought further, it is
likely that neither a male or female mediator with a social science background
would be the mediator of first choice in a large business dispute. Stereotypes
in society are strong. Hence, the mediator is both “chosen for” and “chooser
of ” what it is that they do.
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Another insight about the demographical make-up of the sample worth
noting is that lawyers are the most recent group to become mediators. One
can only speculate on how their entry into mediation will have an impact on
the development of the field. Many in this study fear they may come to
dominate mediation and cause it to become a more elitist and competitive
work form. Others link the entry of the law profession with the increasing call
to regulate the practice of mediation. Abbott (1988) would posit that the legal
profession is re-claiming its jurisdiction over conflict as a field of work. This
may account for the growing number of professional law schools who now
offer courses in mediation and other alternative dispute resolution processes.
It may also be the reason that many law firms have created ADR
departments, and that retired judges are claiming jurisdiction over certain
legal disputes through the provision of private courts. There is an argument
to be made that mediation may soon become a two-tiered work activity (if it is
not already). One activity viewed as “professional” and “legitimate” and
available to those who can pay, the other as “soft” and “marginal” and
available to those less able to pay. This possibility calls for diligent scrutiny.
On the other hand, it should be pointed out that all legally trained mediators in
this study did not understand mediation the same way. Some respondents in
this group conceptualize their role and style of mediation using highly
socioemotional and socioemotional-pragmatic patterns traits making them
more similar to community, workplace and family mediators. It may be that
these were some of the individuals who were drawn to mediation by visions of
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social transformation and empowerment and they have always
conceptualized mediation as a more socioemotional than pragmatic activity.
It may also be that their mediation training taught them to conceptualize
mediation as more than a problem-solving process. Or, that they may have
been trained in a relational model of mediation where communicative tools
were taught to replace adversarial tools learned in law school.
5)
The reasons individuals are attracted to work as mediators
appears to be changing over time.
The more recent an individual became a mediator the more likely they
were drawn to do this work for reasons associated with personal growth and
job satisfaction. Conversely, veteran mediators were more likely to be drawn
to work as mediators by visions of social transformation and empowerment.
This finding leads us to wonder if mediation is evolving as an occupation that
has appeal because it provides satisfaction to the worker more than because
it has the potential to influence social change. Perhaps this is an inevitable
outgrowth of institutionalization. Should it concern us that larger social
visions for mediation practice may be replaced by more personal
development and satisfaction needs? This is yet to be seen. Finding this
pattern of change suggests that it is deserving of further attention. Not only is
it important to know how this change in what attracted mediators to this field
might impact their understanding of their work, it is equally, if not more,
important to know what impact this shift may have on how they mediate.
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6)
Mediators have different views on regulating the field.
Given the range of understandings regarding the function of a mediator
by the respondents in this study, it is not surprising to find differing opinions
on how the field should be governed. Or, for that matter, whether or not it
even needs a governance structure at this point in time. It is new mediators
who most want regulation. Mediators with six or more years of experience do
not agree that mediators need to be licensed. What does this say? Perhaps
it supports the view that the need for consumer protection is more of a
“perceived” need by those first entering the field and one that lessens with
experience. It may also be linked to finding that those most recent to
mediation are lawyers, and as a profession, lawyers are more accepting of
controls as they have traditionally limited entry into their practice arenas.
Then again, it may be that new mediators have more formal training in
mediation than veterans and they want to lay claim to the work going to those
with lesser training. These speculations clearly need further study. We are
left with the view, nonetheless, that there is no emerging consensual voice
regarding the development of mediation.
The above six insights provide considerable food for thought. They
challenge existing notions of mediation, they have implications for policy, and
they help to set a course for future research. Thoughts on policy implications
and research directions derived from this study follow.
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II. Implications for Policy and Advancement of the Field
This study has generated a number of implications that would be of
interest to policy-makers, mediation practitioners, trainers, educators,
consumers, the legal profession, and sociologists. Several of these
implications are discussed below. It should be stressed that the ideas
presented are by no means exhaustive. They are, however, intended to
stimulate thinking on how the insights from this study might impact, in a very
broad way, on Canadian society.
i) Policy-makers, researchers and the mediation community as a
whole can no longer be content with conceptualizing mediation in
dichotomous terms.
Mediators are diverse. Understandings of mediation are pluralistic. And,
mediation is in the process of change. Conceptualizing mediation as a
plurality of practice rather than a single-model approach will help legitimate
the broad range of mediation practice and practitioner. It will also encourage
the development of new mediation approaches that may better respond to
social, cultural, economic and other differences that unfold in a multi-cultural
society like Canada.
ii) Policies that control the practice of mediation should be minimal.
They should encourage rather than stifle innovative mediation
approaches. And they should stimulate the flow of insights that emerge when
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people are encouraged to wrestle in innovative ways with issues of diversity.
How the field is regulated can determine whether the potential of mediation,
beyond simply resolving a dispute, can be realized. In many ways, the
concept of a regulatory scheme itself appears antithetical to the larger
potential of mediation.
iii) Linking mediation to the legal profession may defeat its
transformative and restorative justice visions.
While controls may seem a “natural” evolution, the burgeoning links to
the legal profession may in fact relegate mediation to the role of handservant
to the formal legal system and its agenda. Mediation may come to be seen
as a specialization of law thus loosing its “alternative” role. In turn, this will
jeopardize the realization of more transformative goals of mediation, which
have been espoused by many legally trained mediators and others.
Government departments, in particular the Department of Justice, should
weigh heavily the implications of restricting the practice of mediation to the
law profession. Especially in view of their recent efforts to embrace the
practices of restorative justice. A legal orientation may well reduce mediation
to its least meaningful functions. What is required is a governance philosophy
that mandates the full range of mediation approaches and practitioners.
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iv) Turning to custom, as is sometimes done in malpractice suits, will
reveal different standards of care depending on who is deemed to
be “expert”.
An issue arising from the lack of regulatory controls concerns the
question of malpractice 76. Currently, “there is no jurisprudential evidence that
Canadian mediators are committing malpractice, and thus far, none have
been held liable for any actions committed during a mediation session”
(Schulz, 2000). Complaints about mediators are, according to Schulz,
emerging. The lack of formal agreement as to the proper way to mediate is
likely to cause the courts turn to custom to determine whether the standard of
care has been breached. Given that mediators in this study have such
diverse understandings of mediation makes turning to custom problematic.
Case in point, if a court were trying to determine custom they would likely
obtain a different answer if the “expert” mediator they consulted was female
or male. A woman mediator might define mediation as a relational
communicative process, thus, a male mediator who is more pragmatic and
settlement driven may be deemed to have not met the standard of care.
Furthermore, if the courts felt that a lawyer-mediator was more expert than a
community-based mediator, the described standard would be different. So
too, if a man working in the business sector defined the customary mediator
76
The ideas regarding mediator liability and the likelihood of the courts turning to custom as a
legitimate way of determining the standard of care were first raised by Jennifer Schulz, University of
Windsor, at a conference on dispute resolution where she and I delivered concurrent papers on the
issue of professionalization and mediator liability.
227
behaviour for the courts it is likely that the model would be highly pragmatic.
What then becomes of the male mediator working in the workplace sector,
who in this study were found to use highly socioemotional concepts to
conceptualize mediation? And finally, if, as this study suggests, the majority
of mediators have university degrees, will this become a requirement to
mediate? What about the recommendations by most mediation associations
that standards should be performance-based and not academic?
v) Policy-makers can no longer assume that they understand what
someone means when they talk about mediation.
And, they can no longer assume that mediators are of like minds in what
they mean by mediation. This study has shown that common language does
not imply common meaning. Thus, individuals should be encouraged to be
explicit about the assumptions and goals of their mediation practice. In turn,
policy-makers should also make explicit their assumptions and goals for
mediation when they are writing or talking about it. This point is especially
important for those who train others to mediate. Not only should they make
explicit their ideological orientations and understandings of the terms
commonly used in mediation, they need to ensure that their students know
how to do the same. And, both student and teacher need to reflect on their
practice and abstract into general theories.
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vi) Policy-makers can facilitate the development of more clearly
articulated understandings for mediation.
They can do this by soliciting, supporting and funding activities that are
specifically designed to include both researchers and practitioners.
Furthermore, they are encouraged to support research activities that are
designed to provide new insights (as was the case in this study) as well
promote empirical research to test existing theories.
vii) Policies that are developed should provide for the greatest of
flexibility, diversity of practitioner and style of practice.
Policy-makers and mediation leaders should avoid endorsing singlemodel mediation approaches. Court-mandated civil court mediation programs
are an example of the endorsement of a single-model mediation approach.
Policy-makers must be careful not to (intentionally or unintentionally) align
themselves with a single ideology of practice. Doing so may stifle the growth
of mediation along with its entry into places where innovative dispute
resolution is badly needed.
viii) As mediation continues to develop it will be increasingly important
for mediators to communicate accurately what it is that they do.
Clarity of meaning will help mediation consumers distinguish the
differences in types of mediation practice and types of mediators, and aid
them to find the mediator that best fits their needs. This does not necessarily
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imply the need for a ubiquitous language system. A universal language at
this point in time may restrict rather than expand the practice of mediation. It
does suggest that the labels used to differentiate conceptual understandings
of mediation be made more explicit. It also means that mediators need to use
more detailed examples to explain what they mean when they discuss basic
concepts. Thus, the word mediation would no longer be used to depict all
forms of activity under the mediation umbrella. Instead, new labels that
clearly differentiate the various ideological and actual mediation approaches
would need to be constructed and used.
ix) No one group should be charged with shaping policy decisions for
the practice of mediation.
Policy-makers might do well to listen to the mediators in this study who
encourage widely based collaborative efforts where practitioners, academics,
user groups, and government officials sit together to discuss how to best
articulate guidelines that help to structure mediation. This is not to suggest
that such efforts have not occurred, they have. It does suggest that
collaborative policy development work be allowed to continue and expand.
x) Policy researchers must be attentive to how individual studies are
used, especially those from other countries.
This research suggests that it is important to include a broad range of
studies in policy considerations. It can no longer be assumed that any one
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study, or any one voice for that matter, is entirely relevant – it just is not
known at this point in time. Policy researchers may want to entertain the idea
of doing a meta-analysis of mediation in many cultures. This would expand
our knowledge about the similarity and variance in mediation practices.
This last point about research leads to the next section, which offers
suggestions for future research.
III. Further Research
As with many studies, this study raises many more questions than it
answers, and throughout this dissertation a number of them have been
mentioned. Many of these questions and other areas for follow-up research
are presented below. The questions raised are intended to aid in setting a
research agenda for mediation in Canada. Before discussing these
questions, a number of general comments about future research are offered.
Perhaps Kressel, Pruitt and Associates say it best, “research in
mediation will be enriched in direct proportion to the degree to which those
who study mediation have direct experience as mediators” (1989:431). The
development of studies that involve both the practitioner and the researcher
are important. So too, are studies that draw on a range of disciplines and
methodological approaches. Some of these approaches might involve
observational studies designed to support exploratory studies such as this
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one. They might also include studies that draw from communication theory
and use discourse analysis methods to study the interactions of disputants
and mediators. The collection and comparison of additional case studies from
a range of contexts is important. So too is the construction of longitudinal
studies that can track the evolution of mediation practice over time. The
development of more outcome-based measurement instruments to
encourage comparative studies should also be encouraged. Some specific
questions that researchers might explore as follow-up to this study follow.
Question 1: Does action conform to meaning?
Throughout this dissertation many claims have been made and
substantiated about the way mediators view their mediation practice. While
there is considerable social theory that links meaning to action (Weber, 1962;
Gergen and Davis, 1985; Bourdieu, 1990; Giddens, 1993), care has been
taken not to draw implications for practice. Using the insights from this study
as the basis for a study that would examine whether mediators do what they
say they do would be the next step in the quest to learn more about the
nature of mediation.
Question 2: Are there other mediation traits that combine in patterns to
yield different and even more complex patterns of mediation meanings?
This study found a matrix of patterns of meanings based on only a few
combinations of traits. Given that the study sample was small and, for the
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most part, culturally homogenous, it is expected a similar study on a larger
and more diverse sample of mediators would define other traits to yield
different and more complex patterns of mediation meanings.
Question 3: Is there a correlation between how mediators understand
mediation and the types of disputes they mediate?
It would be interesting to know if the different meanings given to mediation
are linked to types of disputes rather than to sector? One might ask, what is
the variance in understandings of mediation by those who primarily mediate
disputes that involve issues of harassment, child custody, finances, health
care, or overtime, to name only a few? This question stems from finding that
individuals who worked within the same sector do not understand mediation
the same way. Given that most of the sample work in more than one dispute
sector may account for some of this plurality of understanding. Then again,
other factors may be contributing to this finding. Does a highly relational-type
dispute (for example, a child custody dispute) have more of one particular set
of interacting traits than a highly technical-type dispute (for example, the
division of property). Building upon this question - what do different types of
disputes reveal about the language used by a mediator? Is there a common
understanding of mediation concepts within dispute-type?
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Question 4: What might a similar study reveal if it were to use other
internal and external contextual factors?
Recall that this investigation of the links between differences in
understandings and contextual factors focused on only four contextual
factors. Also that considerable evidence was found in this study to suggest
that differences in conceptualization of mediation are linked to contextual
factors. The extant literature also supports the connections between
differences in conflict behavior and contextual factors. Both of these
encourage us to do further exploration in this area. Taylor and Beinstein
Miller (1994) suggest that differences in conflict behavior may be better
explained by power, status and expertise factors than by gender. The
relationship between conflict and culture, where culture refers to a range of
differences based on age, gender, socioeconomic status, national origin,
recency of immigration, education, sexual orientation, and disability, will be
important to consider in future studies. Mediation as a dispute resolution
process is already labeled to reflect only individualistic, low-context, modern
society. Study is needed to assess the advantages and limitations of different
understandings of, and approaches to, mediation in culturally sensitive
circumstances.
Linked to the question of context, it would be useful in a future study to
examine the training mediators receive. Were they trained in an academic
setting or a professional program? Who trained them? What was the
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trainer’s educational background? What was included in the course content?
What ideological viewpoint was stressed? What model of mediation practice?
The questions could go on. Professional education and training provides
more than facts and techniques. Students come to have particular ways of
thinking about themselves and their profession, they learn values and
attitudes towards the work that result in differing conceptions of the
practitioner role (McFarlane, 1961). Thus, much could be learned about
mediation and its stage of development by examining the training of its
workers.
Question 5: How does this sample of mediation trainer-practitioners
compare with the larger population of mediators?
While it was found that the sample of mediation trainers used in this
study had similar characteristics to mediators in other Canadian studies, this
connection needs further study. It would be interesting to follow-up this study
with a much larger sample of Canadian mediators and one which has ample
representation from the francophone community. Variances in provincial,
regional and national factors, as well as language and cultural differences
could be determined. Comparison could also be made across a range of
sectors including public, private and government work places. A further area
of exploration might be directed at examining how this sample (and the
sample from a larger study) compares with provincial, regional and national
information on gender, ethnicity and occupational variables such as wage
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disparity, status, and workplaces, to name only a few. Are profiles of
mediators the same in different parts of Canada? Building from this, how do
these profiles compare to those in different counties?
One of the contributions of this research is that it provides a new
analytical tool to carry out such studies. It also provides some baseline data
to compare mediation trainers with other trainers and with the general
mediation community. Such a study could use the coded categories
constructed from the data gathered in this study to conduct a larger survey of
mediators in Canada. It would allow for stronger claims about who is
mediating in Canada and how the practice of mediation is conceptualized to
be made. The survey questionnaire in this larger study would be less openended and less intent on gathering new insights. Instead its purpose would
be to confirm, reject or expand upon the findings in this study.
Question 6: How widespread is the apparent shift from visions of social
transformation to job satisfaction, and what impact is this having on the
practice of mediation?
This is an interesting question. Finding how widespread the apparent
shift from socially-orientated to more personally-oriented motives could be
indicative of the changing field. This may be a predictor for how these
changes might play out in the development of regulations and the
legitimization of particular models of practice. Then again, they could simply
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be reflective of the passage of time. Schwerin (1995) found that newly
trained mediators had more feelings of personal empowerment than those
who had been mediating for a time. He linked this with the possibility that:
…the psychological empowerment associated with the training
is intense, but short lived, and that doing the actual mediation
work does not provide the mediator what any additional
psychological empowerment. It is likely that the high
expectations and high levels of enthusiasm experienced in
mediation training fades quickly for many of the mediators. This
phenomenon is commonly observed in other types of human
development training (p.126).
This study also found that after individuals work as mediators for a time, job
satisfaction and personal growth are what sustain their interest. An important
area still to be studied is how these changes in motivations may impact an
individual’s approach to mediation. Are some trait patterns more typical of
those who are motivated by personal goals than those who are motivated by
social transformation?
Question 7: What do disputants understand to be going on in mediation,
and what do they think the mediator is attempting to do?
This is an another very interesting question. This study looked at what
mediators understand themselves to be doing in a mediation session. No
studies examining what disputing parties think is happening in mediation were
found, nor were there studies which asked what parties expect will go on in
mediation. Studies where disputants are the subjects of investigation mostly
focus on party satisfaction rates and rates of compliance. One study by Bush
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(1996) found that parties’ favorable attitudes to mediation stem from how the
process works, not from the outcome of the process itself. Parties were
satisfied with the process if they had the opportunity to participate in resolving
their conflict, just having it settled was not as satisfying. This suggests a
number of directions for further research. How do parties conceptualize
mediation? How are these understandings affected by contextual factors?
How do parties define success in mediation, and how do these vary?
Question 8: What can the study of the professionalization of mediation
in other countries tell us about mediation in this country?
There is a considerable activity taking place regarding the
professionalization of mediation in Canada, the United States and elsewhere.
A comparative analysis that involves activities and research in various
countries could advance our knowledge about the complexity of mediation
practice at the start of the millennium and about the emergence of mediation
as a profession. We might also compare the many activities going on within
mediation with those of other newly formed professions, such as social work
and nursing, to determine if mediation is emerging as a new profession.
Another possibility is to examine mediation activities using system theory.
Abbott (1988) offers a model for examining why professionalization is being
sought; and who is seeking it. Doing so might help answer the following
questions. Is professionalization a natural progression, or, is it being pushed?
Who will be included and who will be excluded through the professionalization
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of mediation? What makes mediation attractive to the legal community, and
why now? How does professionalization relate to new forms of work? One
might hypothesize that the legal profession is seeking both to maintain and
expand its jurisdiction on conflict as a work claim.
Question 9: What might be learned by doing a longitudinal study of
mediators?
It is increasingly important to pursue studies designed to trace a group of
mediators though their professional careers. Longitudinal studies would
confirm whether mediators’ understandings change over time, and why. They
would also provide us with answers to a host of other questions. Do different
events in different contexts happen differently over time? Are they different
for men and for women? How are they different for individuals from a variety
of cultural orientations? Are mediators picking up tools during their careers to
differentiate the types of disputes? How does this happen? Do mediators
become more pluralistic over time? If so, why?
Question 10: Are mediators from some sectors, in particular the
community sector, feeling in a vulnerable position as mediation
becomes more “professionalized”. If so, are they adopting a more
business-like way of talking about mediation?
This question arises from finding that some community mediators
describe their work using many of the same traits as business mediators. Are
239
mediators becoming more eclectic in the use of other discourses because of
experience and training? Or, is this an attempt to legitimate themselves and
their work? This question might also be asked of those who volunteer their
time as mediators then contrasted with those who charge for their services.
Question 11: Can the style of a mediator be predicted by knowing their
characteristics and the characteristics of their clients?
In Chapter 6, which examined differences in how mediators
understood their style of mediation and how these were linked contextual
variables, the notion was raised that an individuals’ style of mediation might
be predicted if their profile and that of their clients was known. This idea
stemmed from finding that patterns of style were linked to educational
background and gender. To illustrate, female mediators, in general, use more
relational language to describe their style. So do mediators with social
science backgrounds. On the other hand, male mediators, in general, use
more problem-solving language, as do those with backgrounds in law or
business. It would be interesting to test this question in a controlled study.
The findings might lend insight to how best regulate the field. They would
also be useful to consumers of mediation, as well as those who run mediation
programs or have the task of assigning mediators to cases.
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Question 12. Does the plurality of understandings and language with
multiple meanings reveal a moment in the development of mediation
that can be generalized to other professions?
This research would suggest that a profession “in development” goes
through a period of confusion that results in simultaneous and multiple visions
of its field of work. If the results of this research can be generalized to other
professions, it can be said that this period has two features: 1) having a
common language with multiple meanings, and 2) a process of selfarticulation. This latter point involves individuals bringing to the conscious
level their idea of themselves as a profession. It is being suggested that this
self-articulating process is a significant phase in the emergence of a
profession and a profession in-transition (as may be the case with law).
Thus, sociologists might expect developing professions to have
different visions that are described using the same language. Yet, when the
language is tested for meaning, the meanings are found to be multifarious.
Of course, the fact that mediators have many educational and training routes,
not just one, could account for some of the diversity found in this study.
Professional workers develop their professional character, values, attitudes
and knowledge through their training. In fact, their training is viewed as a
process of “socialization” (McFarlane, 1961). It is not surprising then, to find
that mediators have varying conceptions of their work. But perhaps there is
more going on than this. Looking behind common language to find a plurality
241
of meanings as part of a self-articulating process may itself be a legitimate
way to understand the growth process of occupational groups.
Stable professions fit easily into models. It would seem that emerging
professions do not. This study moved beyond trying to fit mediation into a
dualistic trait-based continuum by examining the meaning of mediation. It
posits that the plurality of meaning it found represents a process of selfdiscovery where members of the occupation are engaged in actively
discovering themselves and each other. And, it suggests that this represents
a key time in the emergence of a profession. Further research could test this
hypothesis for its application to other developing professions.
In summary, these and other questions emanating from this study call
for a research agenda to be set in Canada. Mediation leaders, practitioners,
consumers, researchers, and policy-makers along with representatives from
the public, private and government sectors are encouraged to collaboratively
construct this agenda. This would help to ensure that the needs of the
various interest groups were met. It would also allow a research agenda to
be constructed in an integrative and inclusive fashion. Before concluding this
chapter comments on some of the limitations of this study will be made.
242
IV. Limitations of the Study
One of the first limitations of this study might be the use of self-report
data. This form of data collection was chosen for this highly exploratory study
because it provided the opportunity to gather rich data on mediators
conceptions of their work based on their “lived experience”. The self-report
data was then used to construct the coded conceptual categories for
understanding mediation approaches, which in many instances were
generated from the actual words used by respondents. These conceptual
categories can now be used in larger studies. This method of data collection
led to the insight that mediators use the same words to mean different things.
Given some of the limitations of self-report measures including establishing
validity of the measure and the problem of social desirability (Podsakoff and
Organ, 1986), caution is urged in generalizing to the larger mediation
community.
A second limitation of this study concerns the length and complexity of
the questionnaire. Many respondents reported taking in excess of five hours
to complete. The extent of the time required for completing the survey might
well have deterred some from responding. Still and all the response level
was quite high at fifty-two percent.
A third limitation of this study is the size of the sample. Eighty-eight
(88) mediation trainer-practitioners were included in the study. Many of the
243
analytical cells used to interpret the data were small, which limit making any
generalizations from these findings. Given that this was an exploratory, not
an evaluative study, generalizations from these findings can be the work of
future research.
A fourth limitation relates to the use of mediation trainers as the study
group. At this point in time there is not sufficient evidence to confidently
know whether trainers form a population of their own, or whether they share
general characteristics with the wider population of Canadian mediators.
A fifth limitation has to do with using professional association
membership lists and self-report databases for research purposes. The
information contained in the databases used in this study was found to have
considerably fewer numbers of trainer-practitioners than indicated. To
speculate on this, it may be that the rapid turnover in those doing the work of
a mediator makes it difficult to keep lists current. To speculate further, it may
also be that individuals report activities that are exaggerated because they
would like to be doing the work, not because they actually are. A word of
caution to other researchers wishing to replicate this study using the same
databases is that these lists are less than reliable.
A sixth limitation concerns the limited relevance of certain questions.
Eliminating some of the questions on the instrument would have shorted the
244
time needed to complete it and in turn more mediation trainer-practitioners
might have completed the survey increasing the sample. Furthermore,
asking questions related to the types of disputes that were being mediated,
not just in what sector respondents mediated would have allowed for analysis
to be done on the type of disputes mediated within each sector and across
sectors. Analysis on various types of disputes and different understandings
of mediation could have been undertaken.
A final limitation of this study was the lack of detailed information on
respondents’ mediation training. The information collected was not all that
useful other than it indicated when respondents had taken their first mediation
training. Collecting more information on the content of respondents’ training
would have allowed analysis of an individual’s pattern of conceptual
understandings of mediation with their mediation training. Given that this
research did find connections between patterns of meaning and educational
background, it likely that there are connections between how mediators
conceptualize their approach to mediation and the mediation model in which
they were trained.
Conclusion
This study provides a snapshot of how mediation is conceptualized in
the late 1990’s by those who both work as mediators and teach others to
mediate. It depicts mediation as a dynamic, complex and evolving work form
245
where differences in understandings about its nature were found to be linked
to gender, educational background of the mediator, the dispute sector in
which an individual mediates, and the amount of time they have been
practicing as a mediator. Given the amount of diversity in how mediators
understand their work, it is not surprising to find considerable difference of
opinion on how the field should be organized. In Chapter 3, some of these
conflicting views as well as mediators’ concerns over what they see to be
taking place in the field are discussed. The strongest of these concerns is
that mediation will take on a more legalistic form with the entry of the legal
profession and that it will loose its grassroots focus and alternative goals.
The primary task of this study was to unmask the richness and
complexities of mediation that were lost in bipolar views of “best practice”.
The study was exploratory, qualitative and based on grounded theory. It drew
from interpretive sociology to legitimate its efforts to obtain knowledge about
the nature of mediation by revealing what mediators mean by the work they
do. In Chapters 5 and 6, an in depth analysis of how respondents
conceptualize their role, their style and their orientation to mediation can be
found. The results of this analysis were depicted on a matrix table as a way
to study clusters of mediation traits. As discussed in Chapter 7, these
mediation traits interact to form at least four interrelated patterns of mediation
meanings. Finding more than two sets of meanings led to one of this study’s
important insights – that dichotomous modeling of mediation approaches
246
presented in the extant literature is not the way mediators think about their
work. As an outgrowth of this study an analytical model from which to engage
and study interacting patterns of meanings has been developed. This
heuristic “tool” is not a rigid concept but is imagined as an emerging and
dynamic construct that can help examine not only mediation traits and
interacting patterns of meaning found in this study but others which remain to
be discovered in other studies.
Suffice it to say at this point that there are many meanings for
mediation, and differences in what mediation means for mediators have some
connection to contextual factors. This study makes major contributions to the
knowledge about mediation. At the same time, it has only begun to scratch
the surface on the interrelatedness between context and meaning. As an
exploratory study, this work presents some exciting insights about what is
meant by mediation. Insights that hopefully will motivate further inquiry. And,
it offers some tools to aid with this task.
The Many Ways Of Mediation: A Survey Of Mediation In Canada
March 1998
Dear Practising Mediator:
I am writing to ask for your help in compiling, for the first time, a comprehensive description of how
mediation is conceptualized by Canadian mediators. This research is being conducted as part of my
doctoral studies.
As you know, many debates dominate the field of mediation - who should practice, what standards
should be set, and which model to use, all of which have resulted in conflicting views of “best practice”.
For some time, I have felt that these debates masked much of the richness and complexities of the
work that mediators do. I have also wondered if the practice of mediation in Canada differed in some
ways from what is practiced elsewhere. Both these reasons drew me to design a study that would
examine how mediation is conceptualized in Canada and how these conceptualizations might vary, for
example, by nature of the dispute, or, by occupational background and gender of the mediator.
One way to address these questions is to ask you how you understand your work as a mediator. In an
attempt to uncover new insights about mediation in Canada, this survey covers a lot of ground; I hope
you will take the time to complete it in order that important baseline line research can be established in
our field. You are the only one who can provide this critical view. Many of the questions in this
survey are open-ended, and answering them is likely to take some time. I would suggest that you
approach completing the questionnaire in stages rather than trying to answer all the questions
at once. Please return the completed questionnaire on or before April 17, 1998 in the enclosed
postage-paid envelope.
This questionnaire is confidential but it is not anonymous. The label on the last page of the
questionnaire is only there to control the postage and paper costs of the survey so that I can avoid
having to send you reminders once you have responded. I would ask that you make any necessary
changes to the label but do not remove it. Please be assured that your answers will be held in the
strictest confidence. The information you provide on this questionnaire will be used only in a
summary form which does not identify individuals. This study has been approved by the Carleton
University Ethics Committee and has the support of the Network: Interaction for Conflict Resolution.
The study has also received funding support from the Department of Justice Canada.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to participate; I hope you find the questionnaire stimulating and
interesting to answer.
Yours sincerely,
Cheryl Picard
Mediation Centre at Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive, DT 2211
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Phone: (613) 738-4750 Fax: (613) 738-0706
Email: [email protected]
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
1
Some Notes and Instructions on Completing the Questionnaire
Please take the time to read these instructions before you begin.
1.
Specific directions are given for completing many of the questions in the questionnaire. Where
no directions are given, please circle the number or letter of the most appropriate response,
such as in the example below:
Example:
What language do you most often use when you mediate?
1. English
2. French 3. English and French
4. Other Ô specify: __________
2.
The questionnaire is organized into five sections with points of clarification at the beginning of
each section. Please read these carefully before answering the questions. As it was difficult to
gauge how much space you might need to answer each question, feel free to use extra paper
(remember to number the question you are answering) and insert them in your completed
booklet. I have also left some space for your answers on pages 4 and 12.
3.
Given that many of you mediate in more than one dispute area, I am asking that you answer
the questions based on the dispute area in which you mediate most (for example, divorce, civil
court, community). Please use the same dispute area throughout the questionnaire.
4.
Because there has been so little Canadian research on mediation, I have had to construct
many of the questions in an open-ended format. These may take an hour or more to complete
but your participation will be worthwhile for at least two reasons. First, it will help to uncover the
deeper meaning of mediation in Canada and advance mediation practice and policy
development. Second, it presents you with the opportunity to engage in some self-reflection (a
luxury seldom afforded), one that I hope will enhance your mediation practice and training
courses. It is important that you keep in mind that I am looking for your views, not consensus.
5.
And finally, if I am to conclude anything with confidence from this study, it will be very important
that you complete and return the questionnaire at your earliest convenience and please no
later than April 17,1998. Your help in this regard is greatly appreciated.
INFORMED CONSENT
By completing this questionnaire you are giving informed consent to participate in the research study
“The Many Ways of Mediation“. Your consent is given on the understanding that the information
collected will be used for research purposes only, and that procedures to ensure confidentiality will be
followed. Should you have any questions regarding your participation in this study, you may contact me
at 613-738-4750, or, my advisor, Dr. Janet Siltanen, at 613-520-2600 ext. 2611.
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
2
SECTION A: YOUR MEDIATION WORK This section asks about your work as a mediator and as a
mediation trainer. Most of the questions in this section require only short answers and should not take
long to complete. Let’s begin with your work as a mediator…
A1.
Over the past two years, in what dispute area did you most often mediate?_________________
A2.
Over the past two years, how often did you mediate in each of the following areas? (Please circle
the number corresponding to the scale value for each item listed.)
Never
Rarely
Sometimes
Frequently
Routinely
Community
0
1
2
3
4
Family/divorce
0
1
2
3
4
Public policy
0
1
2
3
4
Environmental
0
1
2
3
4
Criminal court
0
1
2
3
4
Civil court
0
1
2
3
4
Commercial/Corporate
0
1
2
3
4
Workplace
0
1
2
3
4
Union/management
0
1
2
3
4
School/University
0
1
2
3
4
Church
0
1
2
3
4
Other -- please specify below:
________________________
0
1
2
3
4
________________________
0
1
2
3
4
________________________
0
1
2
3
4
________________________
0
1
2
3
4
A3.
For how many years have you been a practicing mediator? ______________(years).
A4.
Which language do you most often use when you mediate?
1. English
2. French
3. English and French
4. Other Ô specify: __________
A5.
During the past 2 years, how many times a month on average did you mediate? _______
A6.
When did you last mediate? _______(month) / _______ (year).
A7.
Out of 100%, what percentage of your paid time is spent mediating cases?
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
__________%
3
A8.
Out of 100%, what percentage of your mediation work is spent convening or doing intake? _____%
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
4
A9.
During the past two years, what percentage of your mediation work was done in each of the
following ways? Please ensure that the values you enter sum to 100%.
On a fee for services basis
As part of a salaried job
As a non-paid volunteer
Other - specify below:
____________________
__________%
__________%
__________%
__________%
=================================
TOTAL
100%
A10. If you charge a fee, what is your most typical hourly rate? $__________________/hr.
A11. Do you use a sliding scale when determining your fee?
A12. What factors motivated you to become a mediator?
1. Yes
2. No
(Please try to be specific in your answer)
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
A13. What sustains your interest in mediation? _________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
A14. Please list the mediation training you have taken as a participant (not trainer or coach).
Organization &/or Trainer:
Course Title:
# of hrs. or days:
Year:
__________________________________________________________________________________________
___
__________________________________________________________________________________________
____
__________________________________________________________________________________________
____
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
5
__________________________________________________________________________________________
____
__________________________________________________________________________________________
____
__________________________________________________________________________________________
____
__________________________________________________________________________________________
____
A15. From whom did you take your first mediation training course, and when?
Organization &/or Trainer:
Year:
__________________________________________________________________________________________
____
__________________________________________________________________________________________
____
__________________________________________________________________________________________
____
A16. What was his, her, or, their professional background?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
____
Now, some questions about your work as a mediation trainer . . .
A17. How many years have you been training people to mediate? ___________(years)
A18. Typically, how long are your mediation courses? __________________________
A19. How many people, on average, attend one of your training courses? ___________
A20. Roughly what percentage of your paid time is spent training mediators? ________%
A21. During the past two years, approximately how many mediation courses did you deliver?________
A22. When did you last deliver a mediation course? ________(month) / __________(year)
A23. During the past two years, what percentage of your mediation training was done in each of the
following ways? Please ensure that the values you enter sum to 100%.
On a fee for services basis
As part of a salaried job
As a non-paid volunteer
Other - specify below:
__________%
__________%
__________%
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
6
_____________________
__________%
================================
TOTAL
100 %
A24. If you charge for mediation training, what is your most typical daily rate? __________________
A25. Do you use a sliding scale to determine your fee?
1. Yes
2. No
A26. Which language do you most often use when you train?
1. English
2. French
3. English and French
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
4. Other Ô specify: __________
7
A27. During the past two years, how frequently did each of the following types of people attend
mediation courses in which you were the trainer?
Never
Lawyers
Rarely
0
Sometimes Frequently
1
2
Routinely
3
4
Social workers
0
1
2
3
4
Government workers
0
1
2
3
4
Union Officials
0
1
2
3
4
Managers/Supervisors
Human Resource personnel
0
0
Heath care workers
1
1
0
2
2
1
3
3
2
4
4
3
4
Clergy
0
1
2
3
4
Volunteers
0
1
2
3
4
Teachers/Professors
0
1
2
3
4
Students - university/college
0
1
2
3
4
Students - primary/high school
0
1
2
3
4
Community groups
0
1
2
3
4
Other - please specify below:
______________________
0
1
2
3
4
______________________
0
1
2
3
4
______________________
0
1
2
3
4
Extra space for any of your answers. Please reference the question number you are answering.
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
8
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
9
SECTION B: MEDIATION - THE PRACTICE This section asks you to describe your work as a mediator.
Remember, I am most interested in what you do, not what you think others might do. This will likely take some
time, so grab a cup of tea or coffee and settle in. When answering each question, please reflect on situations in the
area in which you mediate most.
For you, the area in which you most often mediate is (list only one): _____________________________
B1. In the opening stage of mediation how do you describe the process and purpose of mediation
to the parties?
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
B2. In the opening stage of mediation how do you describe your role to the parties?
_____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
B3. As a mediator, what other roles do you take on throughout the mediation?
_____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
10
B4. In the area where you most often mediate, how often do the following occur?
Never
Rarely
Sometimes
Frequently
Routinely
A fee is not charged.
0
More than one mediation session occurs.
1
0
2
1
3
2
4
3
4
There are time limits to complete the mediation. 0
1
2
3
4
Parties are mandated by the court to attend.
0
1
2
3
4
You co-mediate.
0
1
2
3
4
A written agreement is reached.
0
1
2
3
4
There is a power imbalance.
0
1
2
3
4
Lawyers are present.
0
1
2
3
4
Parties have an on-going relationship.
You mediate financial issues.
0
0
One party is in a subordinate position.
Children participate in the mediation.
1
0
0
There are more than 3 stakeholder groups.
There are allegations of physical abuse.
1
2
1
1
0
0
2
3
2
2
1
1
3
4
3
3
2
2
4
4
4
3
3
4
4
One or both parties are from visible minorities.
0
1
2
3
4
Parties are from different ethnocultural groups.
0
1
2
3
4
An interpreter is required.
0
1
2
3
4
B5. In the area where you mediate most, what circumstances about the parties, the dispute, or the
environment most enhance a mediation. (Please be specific and explain why.)
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
B6. In the area where you mediate most, what circumstances about the parties, the dispute, or the
environment most detract from a mediation (Please be specific and explain why.)
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
11
____________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
12
B7. How likely would it be for you to talk about dispute resolution options other than mediation
to parties who are seeking help to resolve their dispute?
1. Never
2. Rarely
3. Sometimes
B8. Do you use a caucus model of mediation?
4. Frequently
1. Yes
5. Routinely
2. No Ô Skip to Question B11
B9. In what, for you, would be a typical mediation session lasting 3 to 4 hours, how often do you
caucus with the parties separately?
0. Never 1. Rarely
2. Occasionally
3. Frequently
4. Most of the work is done in caucus
B10. What has been the most common reason for you calling a caucus?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
B11. In your view, what constitutes success in a mediation? List the 3 most important factors.
1. ___________________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________________
B12. What would you say are your most important strengths as a mediator?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
B13. In the area where you mediate most, would you typically use more than one style or manner?
1. Yes
2. No
Ô If yes, what factors cause you to change your style or manner? _______________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
B14. Please describe your typical style or manner of mediation. ____________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
13
B15. How significant were each of the following factors in the development of your mediation style?
Not at all
Important
Professional background
Somewhat
Important
0
Highly
Important
1
Not
Applicable
2
No
Opinion
6
8
Initial mediation training
0
1
2
6
8
Continuing education/training
0
1
2
6
8
Experience as a mediator
Experience as a party in mediation
0
0
Reading books and journals
1
1
0
2
2
1
6
8
6
2
8
6
8
Culture/Ethnicity
0
1
2
6
8
Gender
0
1
2
6
8
Religion
0
1
2
6
8
Life experience
0
1
2
6
8
Other - please specify below
___________________
0
1
2
6
8
___________________
0
1
2
6
8
___________________
0
1
2
6
8
B16. With which orientation or ideology of mediation do you most identify? Choose only one.
1. Settlement
3. Evaluative
2. Transformative 4. Facilitative
5. Directive
7. Relational
6. Non-Directive
8. Structured
9. Humanistic
10. Therapeutic
B17. What does the term you chose in B15 mean to you? __
________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
B18. Do you use other terms to describe your orientation or ideology of mediation?
1. Yes Ô If yes, what terms do you use? ___________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
2. No
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
14
B19. How likely would it be for you to talk about the various orientations or ideologies of mediation
in what, for you, would be a typical mediation training course?
1. Never
2. Rarely
3. Sometimes
4. Frequently
5. Routinely
B20. Which of following statements best describes what you believe to be most important about
mediation? Please choose only one.
1. Parties must have maximum control over the outcome of their dispute; autonomy is important
2. Parties should receive information about legal entitlements and relevant financial, technical
and psychological data before making decisions about the outcome of their dispute
3. Parties must not only have all relevant information to make informed decisions, their
agreements must also reflect social norms and normative principles
4. None of the above Ô Please describe what you believe about mediation:
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
B21. How significant are each of the following factors to you as a mediator?
Not at all
Important
Somewhat
Highly
Important
Important
No
Opinion
Fairness
0
1
2
8
Achieving resolution
0
1
2
8
Self-determination
0
1
2
8
Expediency
0
1
2
8
Order of story telling
0
1
2
8
Face saving
0
1
2
8
Mutual understanding
0
1
2
8
Reconciliation
0
1
2
8
Preserving relationships
0
1
2
8
Restoring harmony
0
1
2
8
Neutrality
0
1
2
8
Not as formal or legalistic
0
1
2
8
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
15
Other - please specify:
____________________
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
16
B22. How significant are each of the following factors to the parties in a mediation?
Not at all
Important
Somewhat
Highly
Important
Important
No
Opinion
Fairness
0
1
2
8
Achieving resolution
0
1
2
8
Self-determination
0
1
2
8
Expediency
0
1
2
8
Face saving
0
1
2
8
Mutual understanding
0
1
2
8
Preserving relationships
0
1
2
8
Restoring harmony
0
1
2
8
Neutrality
0
1
2
8
Order of story telling
0
1
2
8
Saving money
Not as formal or legalistic
0
1
2
8
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
Other - please specify:
In the next series of questions I describe five different scenarios. For each of these situations
please tell me what you would do if you were the mediator. If I have not identified the mediation
context, use the area where you mediate most.
Please be as specific as possible, for example, tell me what strategy or skill you would
use, whether you would do this in joint session or in caucus, and what you hope to
achieve by taking this particular action.
B23. In a divorce mediation where the couple have been married 27 years, because of a pending
inheritance the wife chooses not to seek any portion of the husband’s pension (the law says she is
entitled to half). What would you do and what would you hope to achieve?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
17
_____________________________________________________________________________
B24. In a community mediation, one of the parties, a recent immigrant from Bosnia, was injured in a
corner store. The owner has offered to pay 10% of what would likely be awarded in court. Due to
the immigrant’s fear of “the establishment” the man is prepared to settle. What would you do and
what would you hope to achieve?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
B25. Negotiations are leading to an agreement that you believe to be quite unfair because of a power
imbalance between the parties. What would you do and what would you hope to achieve?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
B26. You are mediating an harassment complaint. In caucus the complainant tells you she is deeply
in debt and will agree to drop her allegation if assured of keeping her job. You are convinced she
would win her case at a Human Rights Commission hearing. What would you do and what would
you hope to achieve?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
18
_____________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
19
B27. The parties appear to have reached an impasse and are ready to terminate without an
agreement. Tensions are high. What would you do and what would you hope to achieve?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
Extra space for any of your answers. Please reference the question number you are answering.
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
20
SECTION C: MEDIATION - THE PROFESSION There has been much debate about standardizing
the practice of mediation. This section asks for your views on accreditation, as well as changes that are
taking place within the field.
C1. In the area where you mediate most, how strongly do you agree or disagree with the following?
Strongly
Disagree
Disagree
Agree
Strongly
Agree
No
Opinion
Mediators should be licensed.
0
1
2
3
8
Competency should be based on
performance, not education.
0
1
2
3
8
Standards are needed to ensure
delivery of quality services.
0
1
2
3
8
Mediators should have legal backgrounds.
0
1
2
3
8
Only mediation associations should decide
who is qualified to mediate.
0
1
2
3
8
No single organization should dictate
standards.
A market-based approach is
to protect consumers.
0
sufficient
Mediators should be trained in university
or community colleges.
0
0
The number of licensed mediators should
be controlled.
Mediation trainers should be accredited.
1
2
1
1
0
0
3
2
2
1
1
8
3
3
2
2
8
8
3
3
8
8
The content of mediation training courses
should be regulated.
0
1
2
3
8
The field is becoming over populated with
minimally trained mediators.
0
1
2
3
8
C2. How would you like to see the issue of standards and accreditation addressed in Canada?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
21
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
C3. In the area in which you mediate most, what are the three most important “content” areas that
every mediator should be required to know?
1. ___________________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________________
C4. In the area in which you mediate most, what are the three most important “skills” every
mediator should be able to demonstrate competently ?
1. ___________________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________________
C5. In the area in which you mediate most, what are the three most important “personal
attributes” a mediator should possess?
1. ___________________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________________
C6. In the area in which you mediate most, what would constitute unethical behavior?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
C7. Have you ever had occasion to refuse to mediate for reasons of principle/values/beliefs?
1. Yes Ô Please describe the circumstances ______________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
2. No, I have never had occasion to refuse on grounds of principle/values/beliefs.
C8. In the area in which you mediate most, what are some of the most important benefits to
disputants of mediation?
_____________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
22
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
23
C9. In the area in which you mediate most, what are some of the most important institutional or
organizational benefits of mediation?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
C10. In the area in which you mediate most, what are some of the most important benefits for
society of mediation?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
C11. What are some of the positive changes you see taking place within the field of mediation?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
C12. What are some of your concerns about what is happening within the field of mediation?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
C13. Are any of these changes affecting your work as a mediator?
1. Yes Ô How have they affected your work? _______________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
2. No, they have not affected my work.
C14. Are any of these changes affecting your work as a mediation trainer?
1. Yes Ô How have they affected your work? _______________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
2. No, they have not affected my work.
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
24
C15. If you had a crystal ball and could look upon mediation in Canada 10 to 15 years from now, what
would you most hope to see?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
SECTION D: PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF I have just a few more questions to ask about
who you are, your background and where you work. Hang in there, you are almost finished!
D1. Sex: 1. Male
2. Female
D2. Year of birth: _____________
D3. What is your highest university or college education?
1. Business diploma
7. Bachelor’s level professional degree (e.g., LLB)
2. Some community college
8. Some graduate school
3. Community college diploma
9. Master’s degree
4. Some university
10. Some doctoral study
5. Undergraduate-level diploma
11. Doctorate (including medicine and theology)
6. Bachelor’s degree
15. Other -- please specify: ________________________
D4. From which university/college did you earn your highest degree? _________________________
D5. In what discipline (i.e., law, business, social work) did you earn your highest degree?
_____________________________________________________________________________
D6. Outside of mediation, with which profession do you most identify? ________________________
D7. In what province do you live? _____________________________________________________
D8. In what country were you born? ____________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
25
D9. In what country/ies were your parents born? __________________________________________
D10. What is your ethno-cultural heritage? _______________________________________________
D11. Do you identify with a minority group?
1. Yes, Ô Which one or ones? ___________________________________________________
2. No
D12. Which of the following categories best describes you as party to a conflict? Choose only one.
1. I tend to become competitive
5. I tend to take things personally and feel hurt
2. I tend to give in too easily
6. I tend to seek a solution on which everyone can agree
3. I try to ignore the situation
7. Other Ô please specify:
4. I tend to seek a fair solution
____________________________________________
D13. What is your current work status?
1. Full-time, self-employed
5. Part-time (fewer than 35 hours/week)
2. Full-time, single employer (35+ hours/ week)
6. Part-time, self-employed
3. Full-time, more than one employer
7. Volunteer, not in labour market
4. Full-time, self-employed and other employer
8. Other -- please specify: ________________
D14. In your current work, do you have a designated job title?
1. Yes, Ô What is your job title?
__________________________________________________
2. No
D15. Do you do work other than mediation or mediation training?
1. Yes, Ô Briefly describe the nature of your other work or business. _____________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
2. No
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
26
D16. What else, if anything, would you like to tell me about your work as a mediator or the process of
mediation in general?
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
THANK YOU VERY MUCH for participating in this study.
Please return your completed questionnaire on or before April 17, 1998.
Are you interested in receiving a summary of this study?
Yes ___ No ___
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
27
Important Note
This questionnaire is to be completed
only by people who both mediate and
train others to mediate. If you do not meet
this requirement please indicate on the
line below and return it with the
uncompleted questionnaire in the selfaddressed, stamped envelope. Thank
you.
______ I am not currently a practising
mediator and mediation trainer.
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
28
The Many Ways Of Mediation: A Survey Of Mediation In Canada
March 1998
Dear Practising Mediator:
I am writing to ask for your help in compiling, for the first time, a comprehensive description of how
mediation is conceptualized by Canadian mediators. This research is being conducted as part of my
doctoral studies.
As you know, many debates dominate the field of mediation - who should practice, what standards
should be set, and which model to use, all of which have resulted in conflicting views of “best
practice”. For some time, I have felt that these debates masked much of the richness and
complexities of the work that mediators do. I have also wondered if the practice of mediation in
Canada differed in some ways from what is practiced elsewhere. Both these reasons drew me to
design a study that would examine how mediation is conceptualized in Canada and how these
conceptualizations might vary, for example, by nature of the dispute, or, by occupational background
and gender of the mediator.
One way to address these questions is to ask you how you understand your work as a mediator. In
an attempt to uncover new insights about mediation in Canada, this survey covers a lot of ground; I
hope you will take the time to complete it in order that important baseline line research can be
established in our field. You are the only one who can provide this critical view. Many of the
questions in this survey are open-ended, and answering them is likely to take some time. I would
suggest that you approach completing the questionnaire in stages rather than trying to answer
all the questions at once. Please return the completed questionnaire on or before April 17, 1998
in the enclosed postage-paid envelope.
This questionnaire is confidential but it is not anonymous. The label on the last page of the
questionnaire is only there to control the postage and paper costs of the survey so that I can avoid
having to send you reminders once you have responded. I would ask that you make any necessary
changes to the label but do not remove it. Please be assured that your answers will be held in the
strictest confidence. The information you provide on this questionnaire will be used only in a
summary form which does not identify individuals. This study has been approved by the Carleton
University Ethics Committee and has the support of the Network: Interaction for Conflict Resolution.
The study has also received funding support from the Department of Justice Canada.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to participate; I hope you find the questionnaire stimulating
and interesting to answer.
Yours sincerely,
Cheryl Picard
Mediation Centre at Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive, DT 2211
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Phone: (613) 738-4750 Fax: (613) 738-0706
Email: [email protected]
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
1
Some Notes and Instructions on Completing the Questionnaire
Please take the time to read these instructions before you begin.
1.
Specific directions are given for completing many of the questions in the questionnaire.
Where no directions are given, please circle the number or letter of the most appropriate
response, such as in the example below:
Example:
What language do you most often use when you mediate?
1. English 2. French 3. English and French
4. Other Ô specify: __________
2.
The questionnaire is organized into five sections with points of clarification at the beginning
of each section. Please read these carefully before answering the questions. As it was
difficult to gauge how much space you might need to answer each question, feel free to use
extra paper (remember to number the question you are answering) and insert them in your
completed booklet. I have also left some space for your answers on pages 4 and 12.
3.
Given that many of you mediate in more than one dispute area, I am asking that you answer
the questions based on the dispute area in which you mediate most (for example, divorce,
civil court, community). Please use the same dispute area throughout the questionnaire.
4.
Because there has been so little Canadian research on mediation, I have had to construct
many of the questions in an open-ended format. These may take an hour or more to
complete but your participation will be worthwhile for at least two reasons. First, it will help to
uncover the deeper meaning of mediation in Canada and advance mediation practice and
policy development. Second, it presents you with the opportunity to engage in some selfreflection (a luxury seldom afforded), one that I hope will enhance your mediation practice
and training courses. It is important that you keep in mind that I am looking for your views, not
consensus.
5.
And finally, if I am to conclude anything with confidence from this study, it will be very
important that you complete and return the questionnaire at your earliest convenience and
please no later than April 17,1998. Your help in this regard is greatly appreciated.
INFORMED CONSENT
By completing this questionnaire you are giving informed consent to participate in the research study
“The Many Ways of Mediation“. Your consent is given on the understanding that the information
collected will be used for research purposes only, and that procedures to ensure confidentiality will be
followed. Should you have any questions regarding your participation in this study, you may contact
me at 613-738-4750, or, my advisor, Dr. Janet Siltanen, at 613-520-2600 ext. 2611.
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
2
SECTION A: YOUR MEDIATION WORK This section asks about your work as a mediator and as a
mediation trainer. Most of the questions in this section require only short answers and should not take
long to complete. Let’s begin with your work as a mediator…
A1.
Over the past two years, in what dispute area did you most often mediate? _______________
A2.
Over the past two years, how often did you mediate in each of the following areas? (Please
circle the number corresponding to the scale value for each item listed.)
Never
Rarely
Sometimes
Frequently
Routinely
Community
0
1
2
3
4
Family/divorce
0
1
2
3
4
Public policy
0
1
2
3
4
Environmental
0
1
2
3
4
Criminal court
0
1
2
3
4
Civil court
0
1
2
3
4
Commercial/Corporate
0
1
2
3
4
Workplace
0
1
2
3
4
Union/management
0
1
2
3
4
School/University
0
1
2
3
4
Church
0
1
2
3
4
________________________
0
1
2
3
4
________________________
0
1
2
3
4
________________________
0
1
2
3
4
________________________
0
1
2
3
4
Other -- please specify below:
A3.
For how many years have you been a practicing mediator? ______________ (years).
A4.
Which language do you most often use when you mediate?
1. English
2. French
3. English and French
4. Other Ô specify: __________
A5.
During the past 2 years, how many times a month on average did you mediate? _______
A6.
When did you last mediate? _______ (month) / _______ (year).
A7.
Out of 100%, what percentage of your paid time is spent mediating cases?
A8.
Out of 100%, what percentage of your mediation work is spent convening or doing intake? ___%
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
__________%
3
A9.
During the past two years, what percentage of your mediation work was done in each of the
following ways? Please ensure that the values you enter sum to 100%.
On a fee for services basis
As part of a salaried job
As a non-paid volunteer
Other - specify below:
____________________
__________%
__________%
__________%
__________%
=================================
TOTAL
100%
A10. If you charge a fee, what is your most typical hourly rate? $__________________/hr.
A11. Do you use a sliding scale when determining your fee?
A12. What factors motivated you to become a mediator?
1. Yes
2. No
(Please try to be specific in your answer)
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
A13. What sustains your interest in mediation?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
A14. Please list the mediation training you have taken as a participant (not trainer or coach).
Organization &/or Trainer:
Course Title:
# of hrs. or days:
Year:
___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
4
A15. From whom did you take your first mediation training course, and when?
Organization &/or Trainer:
Year:
___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________
A16. What was his, her, or, their professional background?
___________________________________________________________________________________________
Now, some questions about your work as a mediation trainer . . .
A17. How many years have you been training people to mediate?
___________ (years)
A18. Typically, how long are your mediation courses? __________________________
A19. How many people, on average, attend one of your training courses? ___________
A20. Roughly what percentage of your paid time is spent training mediators? ________%
A21. During the past two years, approximately how many mediation courses did you deliver? ____
A22. When did you last deliver a mediation course? ________ (month) / __________(year)
A23. During the past two years, what percentage of your mediation training was done in each of the
following ways? Please ensure that the values you enter sum to 100%.
On a fee for services basis
As part of a salaried job
As a non-paid volunteer
Other - specify below:
____________________
__________%
__________%
__________%
__________%
================================
TOTAL
100 %
A24. If you charge for mediation training, what is your most typical daily rate? _______________
A25. Do you use a sliding scale to determine your fee?
1. Yes
2. No
A26. Which language do you most often use when you train?
1. English
2. French
3. English and French
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
4. Other Ô specify: __________
5
A27. During the past two years, how frequently did each of the following types of people attend
mediation courses in which you were the trainer?
Never
Rarely
Sometimes Frequently
Routinely
Lawyers
0
1
2
3
4
Social workers
0
1
2
3
4
Government workers
0
1
2
3
4
Union Officials
0
1
2
3
4
Managers/Supervisors
0
1
2
3
4
Human Resource personnel
0
1
2
3
4
Heath care workers
0
1
2
3
4
Clergy
0
1
2
3
4
Volunteers
0
1
2
3
4
Teachers/Professors
0
1
2
3
4
Students - university/college
0
1
2
3
4
Students - primary/high school
0
1
2
3
4
Community groups
0
1
2
3
4
______________________
0
1
2
3
4
______________________
0
1
2
3
4
______________________
0
1
2
3
4
Other - please specify below:
Extra space for any of your answers. Please reference the question number you are answering.
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
6
SECTION B: MEDIATION - THE PRACTICE This section asks you to describe your work as a mediator.
Remember, I am most interested in what you do, not what you think others might do. This will likely take some
time, so grab a cup of tea or coffee and settle in. When answering each question, please reflect on situations in
the area in which you mediate most.
For you, the area in which you most often mediate is (list only one): _____________________________
B1.
In the opening stage of mediation how do you describe the process and purpose of mediation
to the parties?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
B2.
In the opening stage of mediation how do you describe your role to the parties?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
B3.
As a mediator, what other roles do you take on throughout the mediation?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
7
B4.
In the area where you most often mediate, how often do the following occur?
Never
B5.
Rarely
Sometimes
Frequently
Routinely
A fee is not charged.
0
1
2
3
4
More than one mediation session occurs.
0
1
2
3
4
There are time limits to complete the mediation. 0
1
2
3
4
Parties are mandated by the court to attend.
0
1
2
3
4
You co-mediate.
0
1
2
3
4
A written agreement is reached.
0
1
2
3
4
There is a power imbalance.
0
1
2
3
4
Lawyers are present.
0
1
2
3
4
Parties have an on-going relationship.
0
1
2
3
4
You mediate financial issues.
0
1
2
3
4
One party is in a subordinate position.
0
1
2
3
4
Children participate in the mediation.
0
1
2
3
4
There are more than 3 stakeholder groups.
0
1
2
3
4
There are allegations of physical abuse.
0
1
2
3
4
One or both parties are from visible minorities.
0
1
2
3
4
Parties are from different ethnocultural groups.
0
1
2
3
4
An interpreter is required.
0
1
2
3
4
In the area where you mediate most, what circumstances about the parties, the dispute, or the
environment most enhance a mediation. (Please be specific and explain why.)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
B6.
In the area where you mediate most, what circumstances about the parties, the dispute, or the
environment most detract from a mediation (Please be specific and explain why.)
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
8
B7.
How likely would it be for you to talk about dispute resolution options other than mediation
to parties who are seeking help to resolve their dispute?
1. Never
2. Rarely
3. Sometimes
4. Frequently
2. No Ô Skip to Question B11
B8.
Do you use a caucus model of mediation?
B9.
In what, for you, would be a typical mediation session lasting 3 to 4 hours, how often do you
caucus with the parties separately?
0. Never
1. Rarely
2. Occasionally
1. Yes
5. Routinely
3. Frequently
4. Most of the work is done in caucus
B10. What has been the most common reason for you calling a caucus?
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
B11. In your view, what constitutes success in a mediation? List the 3 most important factors.
1. _______________________________________________________________________
2. _______________________________________________________________________
3. _______________________________________________________________________
B12. What would you say are your most important strengths as a mediator?
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
B13. In the area where you mediate most, would you typically use more than one style or manner?
1. Yes
2. No
Ô If yes, what factors cause you to change your style or manner? _____________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
B14. Please describe your typical style or manner of mediation. __________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
9
B15. How significant were each of the following factors in the development of your mediation
style?
Not at all
Important
Somewhat
Important
Highly
Important
Not
Applicable
No
Opinion
Professional background
0
1
2
6
8
Initial mediation training
0
1
2
6
8
Continuing education/training
0
1
2
6
8
Experience as a mediator
0
1
2
6
8
Experience as a party in mediation
0
1
2
6
8
Reading books and journals
0
1
2
6
8
Culture/Ethnicity
0
1
2
6
8
Gender
0
1
2
6
8
Religion
0
1
2
6
8
Life experience
0
1
2
6
8
___________________
0
1
2
6
8
___________________
0
1
2
6
8
___________________
0
1
2
6
8
Other - please specify below
B16. With which orientation or ideology of mediation do you most identify? Choose only one.
1. Settlement
3. Evaluative
2. Transformative 4. Facilitative
5. Directive
7. Relational
9. Humanistic
6. Non-Directive
8. Structured
10. Therapeutic
B17. What does the term you chose in B15 mean to you?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
B18. Do you use other terms to describe your orientation or ideology of mediation?
1. Yes Ô If yes, what terms do you use? _________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
2. No
B19. How likely would it be for you to talk about the various orientations or ideologies of
mediation in what, for you, would be a typical mediation training course?
1. Never
2. Rarely
3. Sometimes
4. Frequently
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
5. Routinely
10
B20. Which of following statements best describes what you believe to be most important about
mediation? Please choose only one.
1. Parties must have maximum control over the outcome of their dispute; autonomy is important
2. Parties should receive information about legal entitlements and relevant financial, technical
and psychological data before making decisions about the outcome of their dispute
3. Parties must not only have all relevant information to make informed decisions, their
agreements must also reflect social norms and normative principles
4. None of the above Ô Please describe what you believe about mediation:
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
B21. How significant are each of the following factors to you as a mediator?
Not at all
Important
Somewhat
Important
Highly
Important
No
Opinion
Fairness
0
1
2
8
Achieving resolution
0
1
2
8
Self-determination
0
1
2
8
Expediency
0
1
2
8
Order of story telling
0
1
2
8
Face saving
0
1
2
8
Mutual understanding
0
1
2
8
Reconciliation
0
1
2
8
Preserving relationships
0
1
2
8
Restoring harmony
0
1
2
8
Neutrality
0
1
2
8
Not as formal or legalistic
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
Other - please specify:
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
11
B22. How significant are each of the following factors to the parties in a mediation?
Not at all
Important
Somewhat
Important
Highly
Important
No
Opinion
Fairness
0
1
2
8
Achieving resolution
0
1
2
8
Self-determination
0
1
2
8
Expediency
0
1
2
8
Face saving
0
1
2
8
Mutual understanding
0
1
2
8
Preserving relationships
0
1
2
8
Restoring harmony
0
1
2
8
Neutrality
0
1
2
8
Order of story telling
0
1
2
8
Saving money
0
1
2
8
Not as formal or legalistic
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
____________________
0
1
2
8
Other - please specify:
In the next series of questions I describe five different scenarios. For each of these situations
please tell me what you would do if you were the mediator. If I have not identified the
mediation context, use the area where you mediate most.
Please be as specific as possible, for example, tell me what strategy or skill you would
use, whether you would do this in joint session or in caucus, and what you hope to
achieve by taking this particular action.
B23. In a divorce mediation where the couple have been married 27 years, because of a pending
inheritance the wife chooses not to seek any portion of the husband’s pension (the law says she
is entitled to half). What would you do and what would you hope to achieve?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
12
B24. In a community mediation, one of the parties, a recent immigrant from Bosnia, was injured in a
corner store. The owner has offered to pay 10% of what would likely be awarded in court.
Due to the immigrant’s fear of “the establishment” the man is prepared to settle. What would
you do and what would you hope to achieve?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
B25. Negotiations are leading to an agreement that you believe to be quite unfair because of a power
imbalance between the parties. What would you do and what would you hope to achieve?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
B26. You are mediating an harassment complaint. In caucus the complainant tells you she is deeply
in debt and will agree to drop her allegation if assured of keeping her job. You are convinced
she would win her case at a Human Rights Commission hearing. What would you do and what
would you hope to achieve?
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
13
B27. The parties appear to have reached an impasse and are ready to terminate without an
agreement. Tensions are high. What would you do and what would you hope to achieve?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
Extra space for any of your answers. Please reference the question number you are answering.
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
14
SECTION C: MEDIATION - THE PROFESSION There has been much debate about standardizing
the practice of mediation. This section asks for your views on accreditation, as well as changes that
are taking place within the field.
C1.
In the area where you mediate most, how strongly do you agree or disagree with the following?
Strongly
Disagree
C2.
Disagree
Agree
Strongly
Agree
No
Opinion
Mediators should be licensed.
0
1
2
3
8
Competency should be based on
performance, not education.
0
1
2
3
8
Standards are needed to ensure
delivery of quality services.
0
1
2
3
8
Mediators should have legal backgrounds.
0
1
2
3
8
Only mediation associations should decide
who is qualified to mediate.
0
1
2
3
8
No single organization should dictate
standards.
0
1
2
3
8
A market-based approach is sufficient
to protect consumers.
0
1
2
3
8
Mediators should be trained in university
or community colleges.
0
1
2
3
8
The number of licensed mediators should
be controlled.
0
1
2
3
8
Mediation trainers should be accredited.
0
1
2
3
8
The content of mediation training courses
should be regulated.
0
1
2
3
8
The field is becoming over populated with
minimally trained mediators.
0
1
2
3
8
How would you like to see the issue of standards and accreditation addressed in Canada?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
15
C3.
In the area in which you mediate most, what are the three most important “content” areas that
every mediator should be required to know?
1. ________________________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________________________
3. ________________________________________________________________________
C4.
In the area in which you mediate most, what are the three most important “skills” every
mediator should be able to demonstrate competently ?
1. ________________________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________________________
3. ________________________________________________________________________
C5.
In the area in which you mediate most, what are the three most important “personal
attributes” a mediator should possess?
1. ________________________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________________________
3. ________________________________________________________________________
C6.
In the area in which you mediate most, what would constitute unethical behavior?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
C7.
Have you ever had occasion to refuse to mediate for reasons of principle/values/beliefs?
1. Yes Ô Please describe the circumstances ____________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
2. No, I have never had occasion to refuse on grounds of principle/values/beliefs.
C8.
In the area in which you mediate most, what are some of the most important benefits to
disputants of mediation?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
16
C9.
In the area in which you mediate most, what are some of the most important institutional or
organizational benefits of mediation?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
C10. In the area in which you mediate most, what are some of the most important benefits for
society of mediation?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
C11. What are some of the positive changes you see taking place within the field of mediation?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
C12. What are some of your concerns about what is happening within the field of mediation?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
C13. Are any of these changes affecting your work as a mediator?
1. Yes Ô How have they affected your work? ____________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
2. No, they have not affected my work.
C14. Are any of these changes affecting your work as a mediation trainer?
1. Yes Ô How have they affected your work? ____________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
2. No, they have not affected my work.
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
17
C15. If you had a crystal ball and could look upon mediation in Canada 10 to 15 years from now, what
would you most hope to see?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
SECTION D: PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF I have just a few more questions to ask about
who you are, your background and where you work. Hang in there, you are almost finished!
D1.
Sex: 1. Male
2. Female
D2.
Year of birth: _____________
D3.
What is your highest university or college education?
1. Business diploma
7. Bachelor’s level professional degree (e.g., LLB)
2. Some community college
8. Some graduate school
3. Community college diploma
9. Master’s degree
4. Some university
10. Some doctoral study
5. Undergraduate-level diploma
11. Doctorate (including medicine and theology)
6. Bachelor’s degree
15. Other -- please specify: _____________________
D4.
From which university/college did you earn your highest degree? ______________________
D5.
In what discipline (i.e., law, business, social work) did you earn your highest degree?
__________________________________________________________________________
D6.
Outside of mediation, with which profession do you most identify? _____________________
D7.
In what province do you live? __________________________________________________
D8.
In what country were you born? ________________________________________________
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
18
D9.
In what country/ies were your parents born? ______________________________________
D10. What is your ethno-cultural heritage? ___________________________________________
D11. Do you identify with a minority group?
1. Yes, Ô Which one or ones? _______________________________________________
2. No
D12. Which of the following categories best describes you as party to a conflict? Choose only one.
1. I tend to become competitive
5. I tend to take things personally and feel hurt
2. I tend to give in too easily
6. I tend to seek a solution on which everyone can agree
3. I try to ignore the situation
7. Other Ô please specify:
4. I tend to seek a fair solution
_________________________________________
D13. What is your current work status?
1. Full-time, self-employed
5. Part-time (fewer than 35 hours/week)
2. Full-time, single employer (35+ hours/ week) 6. Part-time, self-employed
3. Full-time, more than one employer
7. Volunteer, not in labour market
4. Full-time, self-employed and other employer
8. Other -- please specify: _____________
D14. In your current work, do you have a designated job title?
1. Yes, Ô What is your job title?
______________________________________________
2. No
D15. Do you do work other than mediation or mediation training?
1. Yes, Ô Briefly describe the nature of your other work or business. ___________________
_________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
2. No
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
19
D16. What else, if anything, would you like to tell me about your work as a mediator or the process of
mediation in general?
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
THANK YOU VERY MUCH for participating in this study.
Please return your completed questionnaire on or before April 17, 1998.
Are you interested in receiving a summary of this study?
Yes ___ No ___
The Many Ways of Mediation: A Survey of Mediation in Canada
20
Appendix A.
Table 3. Concerns by Gender
CONCERNS
MEN
WOMEN
Lack of Work
15.6%
20%
Incompetence
42.5%
24.4%
Domination
35%
37.8%
Regulation
10%
22.2%
Training
17.5%
8.9%
Underuse
20%
4.4%
Style
10%
11.1%
Inappropriate Use
10%
28.9%
None
0%
2.3%
TOTAL
47.1%
(n=40)
52.9%
(n=45)
Percentages based on number of responses. 85 valid cases.
Table 4. Concerns by Dispute Sector
CONCERNS
Community
Family
Business
Workplace
Lack of Work
22.7%
14.3%
20.8%
12.5%
Incompetence
22.7%
Domination
22.7%
47.6%
38.1%
20.8%
43.8%
45.8%
43.8%
Regulation
18.2%
4.8%
16.7%
18.8%
Training
4.5%
14.3%
25%
6.3%
Underuse
18.2%
14.3%
8.3%
6.3%
Style
9.1%
9.5%
16.7%
6.3%
Inappropriate Use
36.4%
9.5%
8.3%
25%
None
4.5
0%
0%
0%
28.9%
(n=24)
19.3%
(n=16)
TOTAL
26.5%
25.3%
(n=22)
(n=21)
Percentages based on number of responses. 83 valid cases.
247
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