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<xTITLE>How Does Your Organization Rate in How it Responds to Conflict?</xTITLE>

How Does Your Organization Rate in How it Responds to Conflict?

by Katherine Graham
February 2014

  • CMP Resolution Blog by Lesley Allport and Katherine Graham.

    Katherine Graham

    How robust is your organisation’s approach to conflict? We’ve developed a quick checklist to help you find out.

    How many of these apply to your organisation?

    You know how much conflict at work is costing your team, department or organisation, each year; and whether this figure is rising or falling

    Your grievance and disciplinary investigations are undertaken by trained and accredited managers – either inhouse or outsourced

    You can access mediation within 10 days of a case emerging either through your internal accredited mediators, or an outsourced mediation provision

    You can use mediation as part of your settlement agreements You know when and how to refer a conflict to arbitration

    When a conflict emerges but there is no formal complaint, you can implement a neutral assessment of the situation leading to recommendations for action

    You have volunteer harassment officers or grievance resolvers; colleagues outside of HR or unions who people can turn to for advice and support when they feel unhappy about a work relationship

    Your managers have had training in how to manage conflict early and constructively so can step in and get people in conflict back on track quickly and confidently

    Managers know what their rights and responsibilities are in terms of bullying and harassment

    You provide support and skills training for managers in getting the best out of your performance management processes

    Frontline staff are clear about the behaviours that are required of them in terms of bullying and harassment Staff and managers are given the skills and tools to manage stress in line with HSE standards

    All staff have the skills and confidence to raise difficult issues directly with each other before negatives become conflicts

    The more you have, the stronger your corporate conflict management approach. If you have more at the top of the list, you have a strong ‘close’ culture – you wait for complaints to go formal before tackling them. You could benefit from using mediation, and giving staff and managers stronger conflict management skills.

    More at the bottom mean you invest more in preventing conflict from turning nasty. That’s great; but do you have robust and effective ways of responding to complaints as and when they arise?


    Katherine Graham has worked in the field of dispute resolution for over 15 years’ as a mediator and trainer. She has mediated on the BBC Learning Zone and has given keynote speeches on conflict management and mediation for The MOD’s Equal Opportunities Conference, Women in Business Annual conference and “Getting Beyond Conflict”, a national conference on workplace dispute resolution. Katherine joined CMP Resolutions (formerly Conflict Management Plus) in 1992. She was made a director of the company in 1998 and became Managing Director in May 2009. Prior to this she managed teams in publishing and communications departments for major national charities including The Work Foundation, the RNID and the King’s Fund. She was the inaugural Chair of the Institute of Conflict Management.


    Author of The Directory of Mediation Services for Social Landlords (National Housing Federation)

    Editor, “Equilibrium” – a quarterly journal of dispute resolution

    Co-author Mediation for Managers (NB Books 2002)

    Email Author

    Additional articles by Katherine Graham