Mediation framing and its affect on two-party negotiation outcomes


Conflict is an inevitable part qf any workplace environment. Mediation is a conflict resolution process whereby a skilled neutral assists conflicting parties in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their positions, and helps them negotiate to reach a compromise. This study examines how one attribute of conflicting parties, their desire to set a precedent, interacts with mediation strategy to facilitate different negotiation outcomes. More specifically, parties may differ in the extent to which they simply wish to minimize the n·egative effects of a current conflict or wish to res,jlve underlying sources of conflict and set a precedent for the future. In addition, mediators can affect negotiation processes by focusing attention on either common interests or conflicting interests between the parties. A two-factor (2x2) ex:perimental design was used to investigate the effects of party intent (set precedent or no precedent) and mediator framing ( common-interest or power-focused) on solution quality, solution creativity, and participant satisfaction. A sample of 61 pairs of undergraduate business students ( 122 total participants) performed role-play scenarios representing each experimental condition, and produced negotiated agreements that were subsequently evaluated by two independent judges. The results of the experiment supported three conclusions. First, interest-based mediations produced higher quality and more creative solutions than power-based mediations. Next, parties not intending to set a precedent produced solutions with the same quality and creativity, and are equally satisfied, regardless of framing (interest-based or power-based). Finally, parties who were intending to set a precedent produced higher quality, more creative solutions and were more satisfi din interest-based mediations; and lower quality, less creative solutions and were less satisfied in power-based mediations.


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Thesis Completion





Ford, Cameron M.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program



Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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