Integrated Conflict Management Programs Emerge as an Organization Development Strategy Chapter 19
Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., is president of PDG Personnel Direction Group Inc., an Ottawa, Ontario, conflict management systems design consulting firm. The firm’s Web site is www.pdggroup.com. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and practiced as a quasi-judicial reviewer of police grievance and discipline cases. She became a full-time conflict management systems designer in 1995. She co-chaired the Organizational Conflict Management Section of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution, now known as the Association for Conflict Resolution, from 1997-2002, and is a coauthor of ACR’s “Designing Integrated Conflict Management Systems within Organizations – Guidelines for Practitioners and Decision-Makers within Organizations,” Cornell Studies in Conflict Resolution, No. 4 (2002). The “Lynch Integrated Conflict Management System” methodology – originally created for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – is now in use in seven organizations ranging in size from 5,000 to 150,000 employees.”
Conflict management systems ... [are] apparently an emerging phenomenon in American corporations. ... In many companies with strong ADR policies, ADR isn’t simply a set of techniques added to others the company uses but represents a change in the company’s mindset about how it needs to manage conflict.”
--David B. Lipsky and Ronald L. Seeber, “The Appropriate Resolution of Corporate Disputes: A Report on the Growing Use of ADR by U.S. Corporations,” Cornell/PERC Institute on Conflict Resolution, 23 (1998).
For decades, every first-year law student in North America has been welcomed to the adversarial system, and told that this system is a cornerstone of democracy, where the legal representatives for all adversaries will advance their clients’ positions as strongly as possible. The theory is that the judge will have the benefit of the best presentations and make the wisest decision.
Today, only a tiny percentage of disputes arrive before a judge, and just a fraction of those cases go all the way to trial and judgment without being settled. This is partially due to the fact that lawyers and disputants have begun to use other ways of resolving their disputes, such as negotiations, among themselves or through their lawyers; arbitration, where a neutral third party makes a binding decision; and mediation, where a neutral third party does not decide but rather assists the disputants in developing their own solutions. These approaches fall under the umbrella of alternative dispute resolution.