Mediation: The Influence of Style and Gender on Disputants' Perceptions of Justice


  • Virginia Phillips



This study examines the effect of mediator style and mediator gender on perceptions of justice held about the mediation process by disputants. Undergraduate students participated in a simulated mediation, assuming the roles of either employees or employers in a personal grievance involving dismissal. The employees alleged that the dismissal was unjustified on the grounds of personal conflict with their supervisor. The employers countered that the dismissal was justifiable on the grounds of insubordination. The third parties involved in the mediated negotiation were trained, postgraduate students taking an advanced industrial relations course. Post-simulation the disputants were invited to complete a questionnaire. Evidence was found to suggest that there is more than one li'GY to successfully mediate disputes. Mediator gender was found not to effect disputant perceptions of justice. The principle finding of this research is that mediator style affects disputant perceptions ofjustice, with disputants being more likely to feel that they have been dealt with justly when the mediator exhibited an orchestrating style. No moder,ating interactions were found between perceptions of justice, physical gender, stereotype and mediator use of a particular style.


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Author Biography

Virginia Phillips,