Portland State University. Department of Conflict Resolution
Date of Award
Master of Science (M.S.) in Conflict Resolution
1 online resource (100 p.)
Alternative Dispute Resolution/Shared Neutrals Program, Conflict management, Personality
The focus of this thesis was around two questions: "Do mediators commonly share a personality typology?" and "Does personality type affect mediators' perceptions of disputants' goals?" The findings of this study have several implications for conflict management and its practitioners. For instance, consideration of one's own personality type can lead to deeper understanding of one's own biases and help develop mediator neutrality. Studies about mediation practitioners can also provide information about this under-represented group for use in career counseling, as well as in public education.
This research suggests that 71% of this group of mediators shared preferences in both the intuition and feeling dimensions, and 42% shared the three dimensions of intuition, feeling and perceiving. According to MBTI literature, individuals who favor intuition tend to focus on relationships and look at the big picture and the connection between the facts. Individuals who prefer to use feeling in decision-making tend to be sympathetic, compassionate, and people-focused. Individuals who prefer to use perceiving tend to be spontaneous and enjoy trusting their resourcefulness in adapting to the demands of a situation.
This study also investigated potential personality affects on mediators’ perceptions of disputants' conflict goals. Personality dimensions, mediator experience, and scenario outcomes were assessed and a statistically significant relationship was found between the intuition dimension and relational goals in one of the four scenarios. Some significant relationships were also found in another of the four scenarios between mediator experience and preferred scenario outcome.
The study group was a small interagency group of workplace mediators called Shared Neutrals, who mediate disputes in Oregon and Washington. The design of the study was different from past studies in its use of contextual conflict scenarios; in the form of an author-developed questionnaire; similar to those used in the medical field to test clinician responses. The study was limited by the restriction of range of the group, by the subjectivity of the author-developed questionnaire, and by the statistical limitations of the MBTI.
Some suggestions are made for future studies, including consideration of factors such as type of training, gender, group dynamics and socialization.
Waller, Karin Alayne, "Mediator Personality Type and Perceived Conflict Goals in Workplace Mediation: A Study of Shared Neutrals" (2000). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2249.