Dr Timea Tallodi, Lecturer in Law at the University of Essex, published a book titled How Parties Experience Mediation: An Interview Study on Relationship Changes in Workplace Mediation (Springer, 2019).
Dr Tallodi’s book is a detailed report of the first study in the literature that uses in-depth interviews with mediation parties and the qualitative methodology of interpretative phenomenological analysis in order to explore participants’ lived experiences of conflict and mediation.
The study focuses on exploring relational changes from the participants’ perspectives. Whilst mediation’s potential to induce changes in parties’ relationships as an advantage of the process is commonly mentioned in the literature, and is identified as a key to reconciliation, this topic has until now not been the object of interpretative qualitative enquiry.
The book combines truly interdisciplinary perspectives, drawing on the literatures on alternative dispute resolution, psychology and business. The applied methodological approach of interpretative phenomenological analysis, a popular methodology in psychology and an increasingly applied approach in other disciplines, e.g. human resources, occupational therapy, and management, adds to the interdisciplinary nature of the study. The phenomenological stance applied throughout the research process ensures a particularly rich data set and a nuanced interpretative analysis.
This pioneering research study seeks to enter mediation parties’ true experiences as closely as possible, moving beyond pre-existing theoretical, quantitative and large-scale qualitative explorations. The themes drawn out in the course of the analysis are discussed in the context of theory, research, and practice.
Dr Tallodi’s book advances knowledge about mediation both in relation to theory and practice. Whilst the study has been conducted in the employment context, it has implications for all areas of mediation where parties tend to have an on-going relationship after mediation, including cases in the fields of family, divorce, commercial, civil and peer mediation. The book offers innovative conclusions and recommendations for developing mediation practice, mediation training programmes, and further research.