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World Health Organization Ombuds Says Dysfunctional Management is Impacting Mission

by Tom Kosakowski
February 2018 Tom Kosakowski

Last week, the Ombudsman for the international public health agency told leadership that managers lack the interpersonal skills required for effective team communications, constructive conversations about performance, and conflict resolution. The report was published by Devex, a media platform for the global development community. According to the report, the Ombuds told WHO's executive board about a number of cases of “dysfunctional” relationships between managers and staff across the three country, regional, and headquarters levels of the organization. 

According to the Ombuds, “There appears to be a prevalent perception among staff that the secretariat tolerates disrespectful behavior at different levels, and is not doing enough to put an end to these types of situations, particularly harassment.” The Ombuds, who is not named in the report, had at least two recommendations: 1. Invest in manager trainings to improve their communication and conflict management skills, as well as cultural competencies; and 2. Establish a program allowing different stakeholders to provide confidential feedback to managers on their leadership. This way, any necessary actions, such as additional trainings, can be put in place. José Martínez-Aragón has been the Ombudsman for the World Health Organization since September 2015. (Devex News.) 

Biography


Tom Kosakowski currently serves as the Associate Director of the Office of Ombuds Services at UCLA and as the Ombudsperson for the Center for Health Sciences.  Tom works with faculty, staff and students from UCLA’s hospitals and clinics, professional schools, laboratories, and related institutes on a wide range of matters such as academic and workplace issues, research and authorship conflicts, and fair treatment concerns.

Tom has spent the last 12 years working with individuals involved in conflicts. Prior to joining the UCLA Office of Ombuds Services, Tom established the Ombuds Office at Claremont Graduate University and served as the Interim Director of the Ombuds Office at UC Riverside. Before becoming an ombuds, Tom was an attorney, representing and counseling clients in matters before state, federal and State Bar courts.* Tom trained as a mediator with the L.A. County Bar and served as a court-appointed mediator for the L.A. Superior Court.

Tom graduated with a Bachelor’s in economics from Occidental College and earned a Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School.* Tom is on the Board of Directors of the International Ombudsman Association and the Editorial Board of the Journal of IOA. In addition, he serves as a Trustee and President of the Board of Governors of Occidental College.



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