Widespread satisfaction among users of community mediation, but low voluntary usage, provides a context within which institutional isomorphism between state and informal social control organizations can be empirically investigated. Data drawn from a triangulated ethnography of a single community mediation center suggest that community mediation centers come to be isomorphic with more established governmental social control agencies in order to manage resource uncertainties and assure organizational survival. These findings are relevant to an understanding of linkages between community mediation centers and the state, the struggle for autonomy from the state by mediation practitioners, institutional constraints on community mediation centers generating voluntary users, tensions between staff members' and volunteers' framing of organizational premises and practices, and community mediation's limitations as a vanguard of private alternatives to legal dispute settlement.

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