Dialogue, dispute resolution, and talk-in-interaction: On empirical studies of ephemeral phenomena

Authors


Correspondence

Phillip Glenn, Department of Communication Studies, Emerson College, 120 Boylston, Boston, MA 02116, U.S.A.; e-mail: phillip_glenn@emerson.edu

Abstract

Although relational theories have gained increasing prominence in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), further clarification of the actual communication that constitutes and contributes to a relational approach in the mediation and negotiation processes is still needed. This article begins by presenting a conception of dialogue as a relational practice. Ethnomethodological conversation analysis (CA) is introduced as a research method well suited to explicating practices of talk that contribute to or undermine relational interaction and dialogue in negotiation and conflict resolution contexts. We present two case studies of two parties negotiating a lease. Comparison of the two instances isolates practices that accomplish or move away from relational interaction and dialogue. This precedes a closing discussion of dialogic phenomena that could be mapped onto sequentially organized interactive practices, allowing them to be identified and studied in actual interactions. Such analysis offers valuable potential for understanding the actual discursive forms that contribute to relational approaches and dialogue and that help cultivate relational awareness and dialogic mindset in practice.

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