The purpose of this literature review is to discern and articulate common and/or inter related themes present in mediation and conflict communication research. I havereviewed articles, books, and theses on the topic. Several themes have emerged from myreading. Before I start identifying themes, let me define conflict and mediation.
Definition of Conflict
Mayer (2000), author of
The Dynamics of Conflict Resolution
, builds a“framework for understanding conflict” for his readers as “an organizing lens that bringsconflict into better focus.” In this framework, “conflict may be viewed as occurring alongcognitive (perception), emotional (feeling), and behavior (action) dimensions” (p. 4).Mayer (2000) elaborates on the nature of each dimension. The author states that as a setof perceptions, “conflict is a belief or understanding that one’s own needs, interests,wants, or values are incompatible with someone else’s.” Later on, the author states, “it ishard for people to compromise when core beliefs are in play, because they feel they arecompromising themselves or their integrity” (p.12). This claim is reinforced by Frank’s(2004) assertion that both participants in an “argument could hold different values thatmay conflict; yet both still articulate logical” argumentation (p. 269).The “feeling” dimension Mayer (2000) conceptualized involves “an emotionalreaction to a situation or interaction that signals a disagreement of some kind” (p.4).Mayer (2000) claims “conflict as action” “consists of the actions that we take to expressour feelings, articulate our perceptions, and get our needs met in a way that has the potential for interfering with someone else’s ability to get his or her needs met” (p.5).Wilmot and Hocker (2001) also see conflict as action in speech, defining conflict as a- 2 -