Bridging the theory-and-practice gap: Mediator power in practice

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Abstract

Although mediators are assumed to be neutral third parties, effective fulfillment of their role involves exercising a significant amount of authority and power. Mediators employ a range of approaches, orientations, and strategies. This article reviews some of the scholarship in this area. It then examines the various dimensions of mediator power, looking specifically at (1) the nature of mediator power and (2) its exercise of power through knowledge and expertise, through designing and controlling the process through reframing, and through imposing pressure to settle. Finally, the article discusses “ethical mediation” in light of mediator power.

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