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Mediator as ‘follower’ instead of ‘leader’


ASWM member Roger Seaman has had an article accepted for publication in the forthcoming edition of the UK Journal Mediation Theory Theory and Practice available in print or online. Drawing upon his personal experience and the academic literature, the article paints a picture of the wide diversity of mediation practice. A spectrum emerges in which mediators to greater or lesser degrees tend to exercise influence over the parties to a mediation. He describes his interest in the transformative method in order to delineate his own explorative practice and to locate it on this spectrum of influence.

Here is the article’s title and Abstract:

Title: Conceptualising the mediator as ‘follower’ instead of ‘leader’: An explorative approach

Abstract: 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

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