International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution

Article

@ Face Value?

Non-Verbal Communication and Trust Development in Online Video-Based Mediation

Keywords trust, mediation, non-verbal communication, rapport, technology
Authors Noam Ebner en Jeff Thompson
Author's information

234648 Noam Ebner
Noam Ebner is Associate Professor and Online Program Chair at the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law: 2500 California Pl., Omaha, NE 68178, NoamEbner@creighton.edu

234650 Jeff Thompson
Jeff Thompson is PhD candidate at the Griffith University Law School: 170 Kessels Road, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 4111, Jeff.Thompson@griffithuni.edu.au.
  • Abstract

      Mediation is a process wherein a third party, or mediator, attempts to assist two conflicting parties in dealing with their dispute. Research has identified party trust in the mediator as a key element required for mediator effectiveness. In online video-based mediation, the addition of technology to the mix poses both challenges and opportunities to the capacity of the mediator to build trust with the parties through non-verbal communication. While authors researching the field of online dispute resolution have often focused on trust, their work has typically targeted text-based processes. As online dispute resolution embraces video-based processes, non-verbal communication becomes more salient. Non-verbal communication research has identified examples of specific actions that can contribute to trust. This article combines that research with current scholarship on trust in mediation and on non-verbal communication in mediation to map out the landscape mediators face while seeking to build trust through non-verbal communication in online video-based mediation. Suggestions for future research and implications for practice are noted, holding relevance to researchers and practitioners in any field in which trust, non-verbal communication and technology converge.

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