Face First: Pre-Mediation Caucus and Face in Employment Disputes
36 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2009 Last revised: 4 Nov 2009
Date Written: June 15, 2009
Building on face theory, we propose that managers can mediate disputes more effectively when they use a pre-mediation caucus (a separate meeting with each disputant prior to any joint meeting) to give face to each disputant. A field study of 540 employment disputes indicates that mediators who use the pre-mediation caucus to affirm face by establishing trust but not to resolve the dispute by having a substantive discussion, increase settlement quality and reduce conflict. A second interview and survey study confirmed these findings but also suggested that pre-mediation caucuses are more effectively used by experienced mediators.
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