Cultural contingencies of mediation: Effectiveness of mediator styles in intercultural disputes


Correspondence to: Elizabeth Salmon, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, 1147 Biology/Psychology Building, College Park, MD 20742, U.S.A. E-mail:


The difficulties of intercultural negotiations are well established, yet few studies have examined the factors that facilitate the successful resolution of these disputes. This research took a dynamic approach and examined the types of mediation tactics that are most effective in intercultural disputes given specific disputant characteristics. One hundred and ten participants from the United States and Turkey negotiated a community-based dispute in real time from their respective countries using a newly developed virtual lab. Dyads were randomly assigned to negotiate with a formulative computer mediator, a manipulative computer mediator, or in an unmediated control condition. As predicted, the results showed a significant interaction between manipulative mediation and markers of disputant difficulty on Pareto efficiency. Manipulative mediation produced agreements of higher Pareto efficiency in intercultural dyads with more difficult disputants (low openness to mediation, low motivational cultural intelligence (CQ), low trust, and low willingness to concede) but lower Pareto efficiency in dyads with more favorable disputant factors (high openness to mediation, high motivational CQ, high trust, and high willingness to concede). The results for subjective value also partially supported the hypotheses. Theoretical and practical implications for the study of intercultural disputes are discussed. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.