Ombudsing in Higher Education: A Contingent Model for Mediation in University Dispute Resolution Processes

By Alcover, Carlos-María | The Spanish Journal of Psychology, January 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

Ombudsing in Higher Education: A Contingent Model for Mediation in University Dispute Resolution Processes


Alcover, Carlos-María, The Spanish Journal of Psychology


University and academia are, due to its nature, its structure and its inside relationships, a perfect breeding ground for the conflicts, disputes, problems, and grievances. In these settings, mediation is one of the dispute resolution mechanisms most used by University Ombudsperson. However, the special characteristics of university contexts make it necessary to consider and evaluate elements that may have a bearing on the effectiveness of the process and outcomes of the mediation. In this paper a model of contingent intervention in mediation processes articulated in three dimensions is put forward: a) level of balance or symmetry of power between the parties involved; b) the foreseeable temporal perspective of the relationship between them; and c) level of formalization of the mediation process. Based on the interaction between the three dimensions, a series of proposals will be formulated in order to design different strategies of intervention for mediation processes in university settings. Practical implications of this contingent model and future research on this topic are discussed.

Keywords: mediation, university ombudsman, conflict resolution, higher education

Debido a su naturaleza, a su estructura y a las relaciones que se establecen en ellos los contextos universitarios son lugares donde surgen con frecuencia desacuerdos, problemas, conflictos y enfrentamientos. La mediación es una de las herramientas más utilizadas por los Defensores Universitarios para resolverlos. Sin embargo, las características propias de estos contextos obligan a considerar y evaluar ciertos elementos que pueden influir sobre la eficacia de los procesos y los resultados de la mediación. En este artículo se presenta un modelo contingente de mediación articulado en torno a tres dimensiones: a) nivel de simetría de poder entre las partes implicadas; b) perspectiva temporal de las relaciones entre ellas; y c) nivel de formalización del proceso de mediación. A partir de la interacción de las tres dimensiones se formula una serie de estrategias de intervención en procesos de mediación en contextos universitarios, y se discuten las implicaciones prácticas del modelo así como las futuras líneas de investigación en este ámbito.

Palabras clave: mediación, defensor universitario, resolución de conflictos, educación superior

Since the second half of the twentieth century and especially during the last two decades, internal dispute resolution mechanisms have become very important in all types of organizations: financial entities, health systems, prisons, universities, large corporations, and institutions (Harrison, 2004; Harrison & Morrill, 2004). These mechanisms aim at the direct participation of the parties involved in the resolution of the conflict, complaint or other type of dispute, as well as the opportunity to express and use their voice (Hirschman, 1970) in order to change situations, demand their rights, defend their interests or call for the compliance of a norm. Among the mechanisms used for alternative dispute resolution, that avoid lawsuits, formal adjudication or the intervention of punitive actions, are mediation and ombuds dispute resolution, whose spheres of implementation have increased considerably during the last 25 years (Ambroz, 2005; Rowe, 1987, 1991; Shapiro & Kolb, 1994; Shestowsky, 2004).

Not only is mediation one of the oldest forms of conflict resolution, but is also used worldwide (Folberg, 1983), as well as in many contexts, especially in international relations, labor-management negotiations, community disputes, school conflicts, and legal disputes (Wall, Stark, & Standifer, 2001). More recently an important increase in the use of mediation in all types of settings and organizations has been observed: schools, families, neighbours, intercultural, law courts, etc., a tendency accompanied by the formulation of different models and approaches aimed both at research and practice (Bush & Folger, 1994; Carnevale, 1992; Folger & Jones, 1994; Holaday, 2002; Kressel & Pruitt, 1989; Menkel- Maedow, 1995; Picard, 2004; Winslade & Monk, 2000). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ombudsing in Higher Education: A Contingent Model for Mediation in University Dispute Resolution Processes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.