Group & Organization Management, Vol. 15, No. 1, 105-124 (1990)
DOI: 10.1177/105960119001500108


The Mediator as Leader

Effects of Behavioral Style and Deadline Certainty on Negotiator Behavior

William H. Ross, Jr

Donald E. Conlon

E. Allan Lind


This study investigated the effects of different mediator behavioral styles and disputant knowledge regarding negotiation deadline on bargaining behavior. A 2 x 2 factorial design varied mediator behavioral style (task-oriented versus person-oriented) and deadline certainty (certain versus uncertain) in a simulated laboratory dispute. Disputants with task-oriented mediators made larger initial offers and reached settlement more rapidly under uncertain-deadline rather than certain-deadline conditions. Subjects with person-oriented mediators did not differ significantly in the size of their initial offers or speed of settlement across deadline condition. Similar interactions emerged for a number of attitudinal measures. The results suggest that person-oriented mediators are effective regardless of deadline uncertainty, while the effectiveness of task-oriented mediators is contingent on the ambiguity inherent in the dispute. Implications of the results for procedural and distributive justice theory and research are also discussed.

Note:  At the time of publication, this journal was called Group & Organization Studies; it has since changed its name to Group & Organization Management.






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