Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Major Professor

Krista Wiegand

Committee Members

David Houston, Gary Uzonyi, Jacob Levy


Until this point, research in the field of conflict mediation concerning how third-party entities impact mediation outcomes has largely focused on the macrolevel factors of those entities and the disputing parties – geographic proximity of the mediating states to the disputants, the presence of alliances, the existence of enduring rivalries, etc. However, even when macrolevel factors are relatively similar, differences still exist in mediation outcome. This research proposes that some differences in mediation outcome are due to the impact of individual mediator factors, more specifically individual mediator competency skills in the form of Knowledge, Know-how, and Behavioral competencies. Borrowing from research in Psychology and Human Relations organizational theories, I investigate these three competencies categories by quantitatively examining the impact of mediator training, experience, prior success, position/rank, personality factors, and number (of mediators in a team). Additionally, I conduct qualitative investigations through interviews of current and former mediators to determine how to select the best mediators for particular conflicts to increase the likelihood of conflict mediation success, defined as the achievement of ceasefires, partial settlements, or full settlements at the end of the mediation proceedings. This research will conclude by providing U.S. policy prescriptions for best practices for selecting individual mediators to engage in conflict mediation proceedings.

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