Conceptualising the mediator as ‘follower’ instead of ‘leader’
An explorative approach
Keywords:facilitative mediation, neutrality, community mediation, employment mediation
Mediation is a term used to cover a wide and diverse range of practices by which third parties intervene to help others resolve their conflicts. This paper delineates a style of intervention in which the mediator is relatively passive and mostly seeks to follow the parties’ conversation. This follower style is set within a wider spectrum of practice in which mediators, to a lesser or greater extent, manage and lead the parties in their discussions. Resting upon an understanding of the social construction of identity, this paper argues that by predominantly ‘following’ the parties, a conversational space may be opened up, thereby increasing scope for the parties to enter into an exploratory dialogue about their conflict to find their own, robust solutions.
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