Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Dustin D. Berna

Second Advisor

Judith McKay

Third Advisor

Mary Hope Schwoebel


alternative dispute resolution (ADR), caring professions, conflict resolution (CR), employee performance, mediation, vulnerable populations


Social workers and other professionals who offer caring services to vulnerable populations are oftentimes exposed to stressful environments. Employee burnout, vicarious traumas, and other stressors jeopardize worker’s efficiency. According to previously conducted research studies, organizational and interpersonal conflicts may be effectively addressed through mediation. However, the studies do not address the use of mediation for the resolution of workplace disputes in centers of human services. This study explores effects of mediation on worker’s efficiency in such centers, and this study proposes that mediation positively affects worker’s efficiency. The proposed methodology for testing this proposition involves a single case study with the mixed method design that entails quantitative and qualitative methods of studying documentation and the qualitative analysis of interviews. The goal of this dissertation is to enhance the understanding of the mediation potential in human services; thusly, advancing worker’s improvement in human services. The findings of the quantitative study demonstrate visible declining tendencies of work stoppages with the continuous use of mediation. However, significant correlations are only recorded between four out of ten studied variables; causality may not be concluded. The findings of the analysis of three subcases show the connection between mediation and workplace performance. The findings of the interview analysis demonstrate positive effects of mediation but warn that other variables should be considered. This researcher intends for the findings to advance the knowledge of mediation for caring professionals.