The Effects of Conflict Asymmetry on Mediation Outcomes: Linking Theory and Practice
22 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2005
Date Written: June 1, 2005
In this paper we link conflict and mediation theory to practice using an asymmetry framework. Past conflict research has provided important insights into the types of conflict that exist in organizations; however, little research on conflict types has been directly related to the process of conflict management in organizations. In addition, past work often assumes that both conflict parties perceive the same amount of conflict, neglecting that members may have different perceptions about the amount of conflict that exists in their group or dyad. In this study, we interviewed 30 conflict parties involved in mediation and examined how the asymmetry of parties' perceptions of the conflict influenced absenteeism, motivation, and satisfaction with the mediation. In addition, we considered mediator bias as another asymmetry variable that influences mediation success. We hypothesized and found that asymmetry of relationship and task conflict was negatively associated with work motivation and satisfaction with the mediation. In addition, mediator bias was associated with decreased satisfaction and increased bsenteeism. We use the qualitative and quantitative data to formulate recommendations for mediators involved with conflict parties to assist them in decreasing the negative effects of asymmetry of conflict and mediator bias associated with successful mediation outcomes.
Keywords: Asymmetry, conflict, mediation
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