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Discovering the Importance of Mediator Style—An Interdisciplinary Challenge


  • E. Patrick McDermott

    Corresponding author
    • Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, and Center for Conflict Resolution, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD, U.S.A
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E. Patrick McDermott, Professor, Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, Salisbury University, 1101 Camden Ave., Salisbury, MD 21801, U.S.A.; e-mail:


Mediator style research is a continuing interdisciplinary challenge intersecting with professional practice and academic theory. The research discussed herein is drawn from a large database obtained from survey research of mediators, parties, and representatives at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Issues discussed include the importance of researcher background/possible bias in the construction of the methodology; development of effective survey research methodology and survey questions that measure the complex mediation process; the limitations of the use of survey research methodology in addressing the complex issues related to mediator style; the challenge to the identification of an effective mediator style or styles; the interdisciplinary team skills that can contribute to quality research vis-à-vis academic institutional barriers; and the ethical and program-centered contextual challenges to what can be high-stakes research outcomes.