Ross, W. H. (2000).  Measuring success in mediation. Mediation Journal, 1, 1-16.


Mediation is most commonly measured in terms of settlement rate (i.e., did the parties agree?)  However, this is but one way to measure success in mediation, and it may not be the optimal way.  This paper, which builds on earlier theoretical work by McGrath (1966), Kochan & Jick (1979), Honeyman (1990), and Sander (1995), offers suggestions regarding alternative ways to measure success in mediation.  If an agreement is reached, evaluators should consider subjective measures of success, the objective degree to which the agreement is integrative, and whether the parties implement the agreement.  If no agreement is reached, one must consider issue related criteria. These include the following: clarification of the issues, the number or proportion of the issues that are resolved, concession making on unresolved issues, whether the parties are making concessions to their respective limits, whether the parties have expanded the range of options under consideration, the absence of a "narcotic effect" and whether the mediator helped the parties overcome cognitive errors when considering each sides' proposals. The mediator may also improve the relationship between the parties.  Relationship factors include the following:  re-establishing trust between the parties, de-escalation of  the conflict, addressing power issues in the disputant's relationship, and help the parties establish a cooperative Motivational Orientation.  A decision tree model is offered to help evaluators select the appropriate criteria for assessing the effectiveness of mediation.


The final version of this paper is copyrighted (C) by the Wisconsin Association of Mediators, all rights reserved.

A pre-published (typed draft) of this paper is available at the MINDS@UW repository, by permission of the Wisconsin Association of Mediators.  The link to that version is: