Implicit Theory of Mediation Practice: The Relationships between Mediators' Gender, Professional Background and Construal of Mediation Practice
16 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2004
This study was designed to elucidate implicit theories of mediation embraced by practitioners. The focus was on mediators' construal of their approach to and actual practice of mediation while examining the links to the practitioners' gender and professional background. It also compared mediators' implicit theories of practice to extant formal models of mediation. Qualitative methodology was employed. Six active mediators - three women and three men, two lawyers, one business administration specialist, one psychologist and two educators participated in the study. Their reflections concerning conceptual approach to mediation and the actual practice were elicited by means of semi-structured in-depth interviews. The participants relayed their impetus for joining mediation practice and described a recent mediation case. Reflecting on that case, they explained the underpinnings of their strategic and tactical choice. Their attitudes regarding the 'neutrality' vs. 'fairness' controversy and concerning the impact of gender and professional background on mediation practice were also examined. The findings concerning the impact of gender on construal of mediation practice were ambiguous: Gender seemed to affect some aspects of practice in accordance with previous research, whereas on other aspects its impact was contrary to prior investigations. The findings revealed clear influence of professional background on the conceptions and actual practice. The most prominent demonstration of the professional culture impact was the participants' use of sociolect while depicting their mediation practice. Some links of the implicit theories to formal models were identified. The implications of the findings to mediators' training are discussed.
Keywords: Third party intervention, gender, professional culture
JEL Classification: D74
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation