UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mediation as a form of social exchange Floyd, Richard Heath


This thesis analyses the dynamics of mediation, as a dispute resolution process, from an Exchange Theory perspective. The argument is presented that the efficacy of the mediation process is a function of a triad of exchange relationships; between the disputants, and between the mediator and each of the disputants. The ability of the mediator to guide the progress of a negotiation towards settlement is determined by his or her success in manipulating the behaviours of the disputants. This is accomplished through a series of exchanges of sentiment, dispensed by the mediator, for behaviours by the disputants. The mediator seeks to gain the cooperation of the disputants by punishing or rewarding their behaviour. Rewards in the form of praise are provided in return for behaviours that the mediator perceives as conciliatory. Punishments in the form of critcism are imposed on behaviours that the mediator perceives as confrontational. Through this system of exchanges, the mediator is able to control the course of a negotiation, and ultimately, influence the probability of resolving a dispute.

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