First Advisor

Larry Steward

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication





Physical Description

1 online resource (2, vii, 158 p.)


Mediation is a problem-solving approach to conflict management that is used more and more in virtually every context in which conflicts arise. This paper explores the wide range of meaning for the term 'mediation' as found in the social science literature and examines the question of what processes can properly be called mediation. It surveys the literature related to numerous theories of mediation and examines the meaning of the term as established in its various contexts. The mediation literature can be divided into the following contexts: public sector or court connected mediation, divorce mediation, international mediation, environmental mediation, community mediation, small claims, and judicial mediation. This study delineates these contexts and differentiates them for the purpose of conducting an explication of the various meanings of the term mediation. The term mediation is found to be used throughout the literature without operational definition and only broad generic definitions can adequately describe the processes which are called mediation. The boundaries between mediation and other processes are blurred as a result of this expansive use of the term. This study describes mediation as differentiated from other processes such as litigation, arbitration, conciliation, and process consultation. Numerous concepts and issues are found in the literature related to mediation--caucus, goals, strategies and tactics, success, empowerment, ethics, mandatory mediation, neutrality, power and standards of practice. Many of these concepts are informed through contradictory debate within the literature. This paper describes these concepts and issues of mediation for the purpose of developing a further understand of the theory and practice of mediation. This study also reflects on the critical issues, debates and contradictory expectations of mediation that have been raised within the literature and finishes by drawing some conclusions about mediation. Mediation is described as both art and science. No one process is appropriate for handling all or even most mediation situations.


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL

Persistent Identifier