Source: (2006) Review of Policy Research. 23(4):843-863.

Community mediation programs could be viewed simply as community-based alternatives to court-based adjudicatory systems. Alternatively, they provide broader services and offers deeper benefits as “community-owned” programs that foster citizen participation and democratic governance. However, little research has been conducted on the extent to which they fulfill these expectations. This study of the scope and structure of relationships forged by community mediation centers with their stakeholders, funders, and referral sources attempts to fill this gap in the scholarship. Data were obtained from a national sample of 174 agencies through the National Association for Community Mediation. Qualitative and quantitative data suggest that community mediation centers have established moderate to strong inter-organizational linkages, multiple funding and referral streams, and broadly representative boards of directors. Their experience with participatory decision making and other means of citizen involvement is also present, although weaker. (author’s abstract)