Title

Does Mediation Make Us Better? Exploring the Capacity-Building Potential of Community Mediation

Department

Political Science & International Affairs

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Abstract

The prevailing measures of the success of mediation have largely focused on rates of settlement and satisfaction while overlooking the capacity-building goals expressed by many mediation advocates. I address this through empirical study of the effects of mediation on participant capacity at two community mediation organizations in Toronto. I find that mediation has the potential to build participant capacity, but in the majority of cases, it does not have these lasting effects on participants. Based on these findings I conclude that mediation advocates should scale back and reconceptualize, though not entirely abandon, their claims about the capacity-building potential of mediation.