Facework in Mediation: The Need for "Face" Time


This paper was written for my Communication and Conflict class in 2005. The premise of the article is that mediators are intervenors in a dispute who, in addition to assessing the climate of the parties’ pre-mediation relationship, dealing with problems of perceptions, being on the lookout for imbalances of power, correcting false attributions and shepherding the parties’ negotiations must be prepared to anticipate, identify and handle the below-surface image needs or perceptions of the parties. The enclosed article discusses “facework” as a communication behavior that is evaluated and posits that “face” and “facework” strategies should be considered in any mediation because “face” is a universal, cross-cultural characteristic of all human behavior.


Dispute Resolution and Arbitration

Date of this Version

October 2005