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Common Ground and Degrees of Formality: Insights for Communication Research on Third Party Facilitation
Keywords: mediation, conflict, argumentation, common ground, formality
Abstract: Using an approach in which insights from argumentation (pragma-dialectics) are combined with insights from conflict resolution, this study presents the various ways in which the arsenal of communicative options to design common ground between disputants changes depending on the degree of formality of the resolution process. By means of extensive literature reviews of both fields, preliminary prototypes (i.e. ideal types) of mediation with varying degrees of process formality are constructed. By conducting semi-structured interviews with representative third party facilitators of the different prototypes, the preliminary prototypes and their descriptions are adjusted to provide functional insights that help build a framework that may be used in future empirical studies on discourse and argumentation in mediation.