Ombudsing in Higher Education: A Contingent Model for Mediation in University Dispute Resolution Processes
University and academia are, due to its nature, its structure and its inside relationships, a perfect breeding ground for the conflicts, disputes, problems, and grievances. In these settings, mediation is one of the dispute resolution mechanisms most used by University Ombudsperson. However, the special characteristics of university contexts make it necessary to consider and evaluate elements that may have a bearing on the effectiveness of the process and outcomes of the mediation. In this paper a model of contingent intervention in mediation processes articulated in three dimensions is put forward: a) level of balance or symmetry of power between the parties involved; b) the foreseeable temporal perspective of the relationship between them; and c) level of formalization of the mediation process. Based on the interaction between the three dimensions, a series of proposals will be formulated in order to design different strategies of intervention for mediation processes in university settings. Practical implications of this contingent model and future research on this topic are discussed.
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