Mediation Guides Are Fine But Let’s Have A Resolution Revolution

From the CMP Resolution Blog of John Crawley, Lesley Allport and Katherine Graham.

ACAS have just published a Guide to Mediation for Trade Unions, launched at the TUC (Trades Union Congress) in September 2010. This is a good step by ACAS and the Unions, as the public is yet to be convinced on mediation.

I’ve put two books about mediation in the marketplace and countless articles, and there are many passionate and evangelical advocates for mediation. But as long as grievance policies dominate the workplace dispute resolution architecture of UK workplaces mediation will remain an ‘informal’ and consequently inferior process to formal grievance settlement. The majority of aggrieved people still want a conflict managed for them and a dispute resolved in their favour. The employee relations landscape is growing ever more individualistic with people willing to voice their concerns and enlist the unions, lawyers and advocates on their behalf. They want to win and be proved right. They often want an apology or similar redress. This is a natural instinct which current grievance procedures encourage with many more pages of text spent on formal process than mediation.

We need a radical change beyond what ACAS were prepared to recommend in the hugely disappointing grievance and disciplinary guidelines issued in 2009. Mediation mainly mentioned in the introduction. ACAS do good campaigning work but they missed a trick here. Be bold everyone, create a resolution policy to replace your grievance policy. No-one loses any rights, you simply reframe the whole process of resolving workplace difficulties emphasising dialogue above argument, win/win above win/lose.
I know of some organisations which are already doing this. Let me know if you are too at:


John Crawley

John Crawley is the Founder and Chair of CMP Resolutions and has been working in organisations who are experiencing conflict for the last 20 years. He has acquired a unique range of conflict narratives illustrating what works and what does not. John developed and utilised the model of Constructive Conflict… MORE >

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