Third Party Intervention and Relationship Outcomes: Extending Social Exchange Theory Through the Incorporation of Intermediaries
AuthorCollett, Jessica L
AdvisorMolm, Linda D
Committee ChairMolm, Linda D
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMost dispute resolution is between employers and employees, family or friends, neighbors, and other groups who have continued contact after they leave the courtroom, mediator's office, or agree to contract terms. Because of such ongoing relationships, a vital component of any kind of dispute resolution is how conflicting parties feel about each other after the process is over. Although previous conflict resolution research focuses primarily on the perceived fairness of the third-party, process or outcome, my dissertation centers around how the two parties engaged in the process perceive each other and their relations. Specifically, I ask how intermediaries' intervention in a resolution process affects disputing individuals' perceptions of fairness of one another, general positive regard toward one another, and predictions for positive future interactions with one another.I explore the relationship between third party intervention and such relationship outcomes using two experimental methods, vignettes and laboratory research. In each experiment I vary the level of third party intervention (high, low, absent), while holding dispute resolution outcomes constant, and then measure disputants' perceptions of one another. I also test three potential intervening mechanisms for the relationship between intervention and perceptions - procedural fairness, situational attributions, and salience of conflict.Results indicate that third party intervention does affect perceptions disputants' have of one another and that such results vary based on the method used. In the vignettes, the method typical of research in third party intervention, intervention is negatively related to perceptions of the other party. However, the opposite is true in the laboratory experiment. The results from the laboratory suggest that third party intervention is positively related to perceptions of the other party and that both the increased likelihood of situational attributions and decreased salience of conflict with high third party intervention partially explain this relationship.Implications of these results, and potential areas of future research, are discussed.