September 12, 2012

ICCCR Study on Mediator Effectiveness

Attn: Community Mediators

The International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University is seeking your help!

ICCCR is conducting a survey of mediators aimed at identifying the most basic aspects of mediation situations that determine differences in mediator strategies and tactics. In other words, what are the most important features of mediations that effect whether a mediator facilitates or evaluates, seeks to settle or aims to transform, comes on strong or backs-off?

They've reached out to NAFCM to help spread the word about this important new study. They've also generously offered to share their findings with NAFCM and our broader community. As they do, we'll be sure to post some of the interesting findings here. (Oh, and there's also a $10 Starbucks gift card in it for ya!)

In the meantime, give a read to the official invitation letter and instructions below the break. It comes directly from Peter T. Coleman, ICCCR Director and all around field legend!

In community,
Executive Director, NAFCM
Dear Fellow Mediator,

I am Dr. Peter Coleman, Director of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. We are currently launching a research project studying the conditions and processes of effective mediation and are writing to request your participation in our on-line survey.

Although the field of mediation has matured considerably over the last decade – as illustrated last July 11, 2011 when the UN General Assembly passed UN Resolution 65/283 on Strengthening the Role of Mediation in the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, Conflict Prevention and Resolution – our work still faces several considerable challenges:
  • Statistics suggest there are more mediation failures in some domains (international and state-level) than successes.
  • Today, many practical models of mediation are not derived from evidence-based research or sufficiently responsive to situational contingencies.
  • In addition, the findings from research that has been conducted on mediation present a fractured, piecemeal understanding of what constitutes “effective mediation” and how to achieve it.
  • Research is either micro (e.g., mediator style) and decontextualized from the broader system of conflict management, or macro (e.g., case comparisons) and disconnected from mediator decisions and behavior.
  • Knowledge developed within academia oftentimes does not reach practitioners and valuable field experiences and practices rarely inform academia – impeding mutual learning and development.
  • Many approaches to mediation are insufficiently responsive to local culture and indigenous, traditional approaches and tend to exclude women and youth.
  • Finally, international standards and metrics of best practices in mediation are lacking.

To address these concerns, the ICCCR has launched a comprehensive research project on effective mediation. The current study is aimed at identifying the most basic aspects of mediation situations that determine differences in mediator strategies and tactics. In other words, what are the most important features of mediations that effect whether a mediator facilitates or evaluates, seeks to settle or aims to transform, comes on strong or backs-off?

In order to participate in this study, please complete the online questionnaire.

This survey will take about 30 minutes of your time, and will contribute considerably to the scientific development of our field. In addition, we will be happy to share the results of the study and we will compensate you for your participation with a $10 Starbucks gift card.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Peter T. Coleman
Professor of Psychology and Education
Director, ICCCR
Teachers College, Columbia University


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