When Managers Mediate... Stuck in the Middle With You - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 54, No. 3
Cynthia F. Cohen
The author is a professor in the management and organization department at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she teaches courses in conflict resolution, employment law, and human resource management. She serves on the labor arbitration rosters of the AAA and the FMCS.
When there's trouble at the workplace, all too often managers adopt such resolutions as coercion or just plain avoidance. In this article, Cynthia Cohen recommends replacing these techniques with informal mediation programs. She outlines ways in which managers can effectively conduct such programs and points to the potential problems of mediation in the workplace-- and how such problems can be avoided.
Mediation is increasingly used in the legal system, in business, labor, government, in neighborhood justice centers, and in schoolyards across the county. It is also used as an informal tool to resolve conflicts in the workplace. Informal mediation can occur when disputing parties request the intervention of a third party. Often, managers find themselves in a position to resolve disputes between subordinates, other managers, or between groups in the organization. Mediation is one of a number of methods that could be used to handle these disputes. Other methods include avoidance, coercion, and informal arbitration of the dispute.