A coach once asked me to predict which way a drop of water would go around a rock up ahead. Of course there is no way of knowing: the water drop may not make it due to evaporation to the atmosphere, absorption by the river bank, and then if it does make it to the rock, whether it goes left or right, over or below. However, even if the future is uncertain, we can still comment on where the drop of water is at the moment. Even its relationship to our imagined future. And of course about its past.
It is impossible to talk about the future, present or past of mediation without putting some sort of definition to that term. Clearly, mediation as dispute resolution has been around as long as disputes. When defined as a process that involves a designated third-party to assist in the resolution of disputes, mediation can be considered an old process.
A key motive for closer integration between workplace mediation and conflict management processes is the desire of organizational clients to control costs. In a manner similar to the evolution from litigation to alternative dispute resolution, organizations are increasingly recognizing the advantages of improved ability of managers and employees to manage their conflicts at the lowest possible level and at the earliest possible time.
The mediation field continues to debate its future with optimists and pessimist talking past each because fundamentally we do not agree on what constitutes mediation. The article takes a different perspective and suggests several ways to tackle the thorny issue of definitions along with using a practitioner to manage these divisive issues.
Several times in the course of my life I’ve been involved with a cohort of people who envisioned themselves as a possible vanguard of fundamental social change even while they were pursuing professional careers In fact, many of the early mediation practitioners were also veterans of civil rights and anti-war activities who were drawn to ADR as an alternative path to justice, equality, and social change.
Many mediators have used the TKI to illustrate concepts of avoidance and collaboration. On the 40th anniversary of the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument, Ralph Kilmann reflects on what they've learned.
Given the creativity of ADR practitioners and scholars, the best of ADR will continue to grow and expand to new areas of practice, and unheard of new ADR practice will emerge.
Many articles on workplace conflict miss out on a key subject area and one which is often best considered first – the context within which the conflict has arisen in the first place. In other words, we cannot consider a conflict situation in isolation from the circumstances in which it has occurred, and the key to its resolution may well lie as much in this contextual realm as it does in appreciating the conflict issue and the people involved in the dispute.
Fortune magazine publishes an annual list of great places to work, and this year, as in many others, Goldman Sachs took first prize. Many people are surprised by that considering the hours and workload, but there are other elements to consider besides hours.
Although the fact patterns of employment cases vary considerably, there is always a common theme. The plaintiffs believe they have been mistreated by their employers, and the employers almost always deny the factual allegations.
The "drift" in our ability to go to war, as written about by Rachael Maddow, is similar to what has become of modern mediation in the litigation arena. Initially a product of the desire for more efficient and cost effective settlements, the mediation session was initially seen as the final play in the drama. Now, almost 25 years later, the mediation session has transformed itself into just one additional step in the litigation menu. The process has become strained to the point that the current approach is to schedule mediation without any sense of urgency. It is done to comply with a court order or simply as a matter of practice, now often with no expectation of finality.
Lucy and Andrew are senior professionals in a small department within a major IT company. Lucy reports to Andrew, but the relationship is an unhappy one. Andrew comes to Karl, the Head of HR, because he’s had enough of Lucy’s behaviour which he describes as difficult, negative, undermining and disloyal. He sees putting her through the Disciplinary process as his only option.
Managing a business can be difficult enough—but when your in-laws are the board of directors and your sister is the CEO, management of a family business can also become a contentious issue. Problems related to leadership and ownership of family businesses arise in a variety of situations. Sometimes there is a power struggle, other times people feel they have been treated unfairly or do not get enough of a say in the company.
How robust is your organisation’s approach to conflict? We’ve developed a quick checklist to help you find out.
Clarks Legal LLP recently undertook a survey on workplace mediation. The survey looked at the use of mediation and what barriers there might be to the use of mediation as well as success rates and what if any further information or support might be required.
Congratulations to my fellow SCMA board member, and new president Barbara Brown, for pulling off a very successful SCMA fall conference at Pepperdine this weekend!
Nina Meierding describes the future of mediation as continuing with much debate and outside influences, but sees the principles and theories expanding throughout society. She also talks about the personal fulfullment she gets from helping others create an agreement.
Margaret Shaw talks about what she hopes to see in the future for mediation: that mediation in schools will make a difference; certification regulations will form slowly, so as not to lose the flexibility of the field; that there will be an increased emphasis on collaboration in society.