Mediators and Metaphorical Analysis: The TIMS Model

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This interactive presentation is based on a two year study of Florida family court based mediators. Analysis of their metaphors about conflict concepts resulted in the Theoretical Integrative Model of Systems (TIMS). This theoretical model identifies layers of influence that become our accepted reality in mediation. Participants will use the resulting assessment instruments to identify how metaphors and language contribute to mediation style and delivery. The presentation will conclude with practical ways for mediators and managers to utilize the TIMS model and assessment tools to initiate program changes.

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Mediators and Metaphorical Analysis: The TIMS Model

  1. 1. Mediators and Metaphorical Analysis: The TIMS Model Association for Conflict Resolution Annual Conference October 10, 2013 2:00-3:30pm Minneapolis, Minnesota Rebecca Storrow, Ph.D. Vice President American Arbitration Association storrowr@adr.org 954-372-4341
  2. 2. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Today’s Presentation 1. What research reveals about decisions we make in mediation. 2. What metaphors reveal to us in mediation 3. Description of the study and TIMS Model 2
  3. 3. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Why we should study language in mediation … 1. 2. 3. 4. Quality Improvement Economy Diversity Mediation is Complex 3
  4. 4. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences ● Metaphors structure our perceptions (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980) ● Metaphorical analysis provides insight into thought patterns and understandings (Cameron & Low, 1999; de Guerrero & Villamil, 2002) ● Metaphorical Coherence: supports what we pay attention to (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). 4
  5. 5. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Current assessment measures - quantitative statistics, settlement rates, and credentials - do not reveal: 1. Who we are (Essential Nature) 2. How we practice ○ stage-based approach, contingency approach, or purists? 3. How we learn (perceive, predict, and interpret) 5
  6. 6. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Mediation Styles and Models Literature Review ● Mediation styles have been historically difficult to measure and conceptualize. ● Two dimensions - neutrality and normative style (Greenhouse, 1985). ● Gulliver’s (1979) continuum from passive to leader. ● A staged approach cited most frequently. (Black & Joffee, 1985, Coogle, 1985, Kessler, 1985). ● Mediators are usually consistent in their style from case to case, even under varying case dynamics and issues (Kressel, 2000). ● Kolb (1994) cited a disparity between mediators’ espoused orientations and actual practice 6
  7. 7. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Why Metaphors? Literature Review ● Mediators use metaphors frequently (Cohen, 2003) ● Mediator strategies grow out of assumptions about the nature of conflict, conflict resolution, and their own particular capacities (Silbey and Merry, 1986) ● Many mediators are not clearly aware of how their metaphorical orientations impact their work (Lang and Taylor, 2000) ● Metaphorical analysis is an effective tool to understand the complex nature of mediation (Finneran, 2006) 7
  8. 8. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Harvard Negotiation Study of Negotiation using Collage http://people.hbs.edu/mwheeler/ 8
  9. 9. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Research Questions Studied Mediators’: 1. Essential nature 2. Description of practice 3. Perceptions of parties and application 4. System(s) 5. Ethical dilemmas 6. Mediator learning 9
  10. 10. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 Questionnaires ● Qualitative content analysis so metaphors and patterns could emerge freely (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003; Groenwald, 2004; Guba & Lincoln, 1994; Holloway, 1997; Kvale & Brinkman, 2009). ● Openness to information (Sandelowski, 1995a, Huberman, 2002). 10
  11. 11. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 – Site Selection ● Familiarity with Florida ● Florida Supreme Court certification ● Diversity (Florida Courts Website, 2011; US Census Bureau website, 2011). Stage 1 - Participant Selection • Florida Dispute Resolution Center online mediator search function • Random selection of 600 Florida Supreme Court certified family mediators (out of 2,173 family certified in Florida) • 85 completed questionnaires 11
  12. 12. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 - Questionnaire 1. Family mediation is like (a/an)__________ 2. A mediator is like (a/an) ______________ 3. Conflict is like (a/an) _________________ 4. People in conflict are like (a/an) ________ 5. Divorce is like (a/an) _________________ 6. Anger is like (a/an) __________________ 7. Forgiveness is like (a/an) _____________ 12
  13. 13. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 – Statewide Survey Findings 13
  14. 14. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 – Frequency of metaphors ● mediation the most frequently stated metaphor was “opportunity” (8 items) ● mediator resulted in “referee” (10 items) ● conflict resulted in both “battle/war” (10 items) and “animals” (10 items) ● people in conflict resulted in “child(ren)/kids” (14 items) and “animals” (8 items) ● divorce resulted in “death” (14 items) ● Neutral and Positive anger resulted in “destructive acts of nature” (18 items) and “fire/flame” (11 items) ● forgiveness resulted in “soothing acts of nature” (5 items). Negative Positive 14
  15. 15. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 Metaphorical Content Analysis 15
  16. 16. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 Metaphorical Content Analysis (continued) 16
  17. 17. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 Metaphorical Content Analysis (continued) 17
  18. 18. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 Metaphorical Content Analysis (continued) 18
  19. 19. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 Metaphorical Content Analysis (continued) 19
  20. 20. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 Metaphorical Content Analysis (continued) 20
  21. 21. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 Metaphorical Content Analysis (continued) 21
  22. 22. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 1 Metaphorical Content Analysis (continued) 22
  23. 23. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Discussion  Predominantly negative metaphors for conflict, people in conflict, anger, and divorce  Mediators often described parties as “lost”, “fighting children”, “pack of dogs”, or “wild animals”; this may effect how these mediators empathize with and empower parties  Mediators often described conflict as a destructive force such as an “earthquake” or something unhealthy such as illness or “cancer.”  What is the impact of a lack of focus on the benefits in conflict? 23
  24. 24. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Discussion Continued ● Predominance of positive metaphors for forgiveness, mediators, and mediation ● More research is needed regarding mediators’ positive self perceptions as experts and guides. ○ How do mediators rationalize parties who are unable to grasp their “opportunity” Anger was described as an “act of nature”, inevitable and controllable. Conflict however, was described as a battle or war which would generally be considered a proactive and manmade event. ● ○ What might this dynamic contribute to expression of strong emotions in mediation? 24
  25. 25. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 2 Rationale for Phenomenological Approach ● Phenomenology examined mediators’ internal meanings made from lived experience (van Manen, 1990) ● Mediators were able to tell their stories (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003) ● It provided a complex picture of mediators Court mediators’ common complaint of not being understood (Heliker, 1997) 25
  26. 26. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 2 - Participant Selection ● Process ○ Half hour guided interviews with 22 participants ● Demographics ○ 13 female ○ 9 male ○ 20 Caucasians ○ 2 Hispanics born and raised outside of the United States ○ 14 mediators married ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ 3 divorced 1 single 4 unknown marital status. Ages 33 to 80 50% currently or previously court staff mediators ○ 50%private mediators. 26
  27. 27. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Stage 2 – Analysis Clark Moustakas’ (1994) modification of the van Kaam method of analysis of phenomenological data ● Double Coding with two independent researchers ● Horizonalized the data – gave equal weight ● Considered the full scope of relationships and experiences ● Reduced to core themes and root metaphors ● Developed a composite description and global analysis (Marshall and Rossman, 1999). ● Considered through the lenses of four interpretive theories 27
  28. 28. Stage 2 – Interview Findings Uniqueness of Approach • Many of the mediators described having a “unique” approach that came from their distinctive set of experiences in life. – Several mediators stated to have spent years to discover a technique or tool that can is well documented and taught in courses on mediation, i.e. “Ra ra” method. • They stated they have not observed other mediators 28
  29. 29. Stage 2 – Interview Findings Private Versus Court Staff Mediators • Private mediators tended to look unfavorably on the skill level of court staff mediators. – Court program mediation is like “public transportation … you get a ride on the bus”, whereas private mediation is like “Hertz Rent-a-Car ... you get a working vehicle to get you from here to there.” 29
  30. 30. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences 30
  31. 31. Stage 2 – Interviews 1 – Control • “I try to keep people here”, “I wouldn’t want to adjourn because it’s difficult to get them back.” • Focus on settling came predominantly from private mediators, whereas it has been institutionalized mediation that have often been cited by private mediators as using more settlement focused styles (Alfini, et al., 1994). 31
  32. 32. Stage 2 – Interviews 2 – Cognition / Logic “business” metaphor including learning / logic • “If you want the warm and fuzzies, you need a different kind of mediator.” • “I don’t do that anymore” and “I’ve learned through time.” 32
  33. 33. Stage 2 – Interviews 3 – Movement / Change “journey” metaphor • “Cut and run” “buck up and move forward” • Two people in a boat on the water who must “row together, work together to get to shore.” • Mediator was usually a guide or facilitator for movement/ change. • Longer interviews 33
  34. 34. Stage 2 – Interviews 4 – Balance • “…bring things back to whole”, “Wholeness is up to the parties…” and “…it just spirals.” • Neutrality, dichotomy, circles or cycles, and even juggling. • Juggling – this professed multi-tasker used statements such as “missed our meeting” and “I missed an e-mail”. 34
  35. 35. Stage 2 – Interviews 5 – Communication • A tool that helps parties communicate effectively. • Humor to “…keep it light.” • “Active listening” and using “…reframing when appropriate.” • Caucus more important among Communication oriented mediators. 35
  36. 36. Stage 2 – Interviews 6 – Gender • Benevolent Sexism: protecting the female parties “…wanting to help the wife” and “…going into advocate position for the wife.” - Stereotypes - “Nowadays women are resentful if they have to support their husbands for a while.” • “…the issue of power balancing” 36
  37. 37. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Contributions ○ A complex understanding ○ Training might emphasize (1) positive benefits of conflict, (2) experiential learning like observation, (3) mutual learning opportunities, and (4) effects of language/metaphors (5) Qualitative research as a complement to quantitative statistics (6) Identification of layers of metaphorical influence supported the emergence of four theories 37
  38. 38. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Theories That Emerged Through Analysis 4. Systems Theory: Systems, rules, and statutes create a structure which influences how we do things in institutionalized programs 3. Structuration Theory: Activities are repeated and reinforced, and then codified in procedures. 2. Habitus & Field Theory: People who do the same things are drawn to each other developing fields of relationships (ADR field, legal field, Conferences, Professional Associations, etc.). People in similar fields develop similar understandings, i.e. Court Staff and Private Mediators 1. Symbolic Interactionism Theory: Mediators/practitioners are influenced by each level of the system (Metaphorical Coherence) when making meanings in mediation, developing style, and learning. 38
  39. 39. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Qualitative Assessment of Institutionalized Mediation Service Delivery Four Intervention Points SYSTEM Activities Fields Engagement Practice/Service 1. Experience 2. Style 3. Learning 4. Delivery INTERVENTION POINTS for Assessment, Training, Change, etc. © 2013 Rebecca Storrow 39
  40. 40. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences SAFE Assessment IV SYSTEM III ACTIVITIES • INTERNAL SYSTEM • ORGANIZATIONAL TYPE • ORGANIZATIONAL SIZE • ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE – Mission, Vision, Values • EXTERNAL SYSTEM • OUTSIDE STRESSES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR SYSTEM • INTERNAL ACTIVITIES • INTERNAL PROCESSES, SYSTEMS • SYSTEMS OF MEASURMENT / QUALITY ASSURANCE MEASURES • EXTERNAL ACTIVITIES • SERVICES PROVIDED • INTERNAL FIELDS • RELATIONSHIPS WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION II FIELDS • EXTERNAL FIELDS • RELATIONSHIPS TO OTHER ORGANIZATIONS • RELATIONSHIPS IN MARKETPLACE • INTERNAL ENGAGEMENT • Symbols, Language, and Meaning Making of Practitioners or Service Providers I ENGAGEMENT • EXTERNAL ENGAGEMENT • Quality Assurance Assessments of Practice or Service • External Feedback © 2013 Rebecca Storrow 40
  41. 41. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Exercise Using the interviews, enter metaphors into the matrix to complete your assigned Assessment Tool. We will then look for metaphorical coherence down and across layers 41
  42. 42. TIMS Model of Mediation Influences Discussion and Questions? Thank you, Dr. Rebecca Storrow storrowr@adr.org 954-372-4341 www.adr.org Mediation.org ProQuest Link to complete study: http://gradworks.umi.com/35/10/3510548.html Articles posted on http://jocm.net/ Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space. Orson Scott Card 42

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