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

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2014
Keywords trust, mediation, non-verbal communication, rapport, technology
Authors Noam Ebner and Jeff Thompson
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.


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

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.
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