Negotiation versus mediation in international conflict: Deciding how to manage violent conflicts
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The thesis is an attempt to fill the theoretical and empirical gap in current conflict management research, which has failed to examine methods of conflict management comparatively. Two dominant paradigms exist, neither of which is adequate to the task of comparing negotiation and mediation in the real world of international politics: the Psychology paradigm and the Third Party Intervention paradigm. An alternative theoretical framework, the Contingency framework of negotiation and mediation was therefore, constructed. This model suggests that negotiation and mediation are conceptually and empirically different, and specifies a series of contextual and process variables which are vital to any examination of conflict management. Utilising a unique data set of thousands of cases of negotiation and mediation coded according to the variables specified in the Contingency model, a general bivariate analysis, followed by a more in-depth multivariate analysis, revealed a number of important differences and similarities between the two methods. The results suggest that negotiation and mediation are different forms of conflict management, which are most likely to be successful under contrasting conditions in international politics. Negotiation is the most successful method overall, but tends to be limited to low intensity, interstate conflicts. Mediation tends to occur in the most intense, intractable, and primarily civil conflicts, and is useful under a number of onerous circumstances.