Conceptualising the mediator as ‘follower’ instead of ‘leader’

An explorative approach


  • Roger Seaman Workplace Mediation South



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.

Author Biography

Roger Seaman, Workplace Mediation South

Roger Seaman has been a mediator and facilitator since 2002. He was awarded a PhD for a study of workplace mediation in 2011. He interleaves practice, reflection and writing on mediation with part-time community work.


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How to Cite

Seaman, R. (2020). Conceptualising the mediator as ‘follower’ instead of ‘leader’: An explorative approach. Mediation Theory and Practice, 4, 27–48.



Practice Articles