Conflict and Mediation
OL 7001-8 Assignment 6
September 6, 2015
Workplace-based stress may be triggered by interpersonal differences, which can produce damaged relationships, loss of productivity, decreased job satisfaction, and lowered morale (Cahn & Abigail, 2014; McKenzie, 2015). Stress is the emotional or intellectual response by someone to a perceived threat in his or her workplace or personal life (Cahn & Abigail, 2014; McKenzie, 2015). In many cases stress can result in workplace conflict.
Not all work-place conflict can be resolved without third-party intervention. A third-party is brought in to facilitate a ...view middle of the document...
Their job is to create a positive emotional climate for negotiations.
Mediators must be unbiased or impartial, avoid any conflict of interest, maintain confidentiality, and remove themselves from situations beyond their expertise. It is the parties, not the mediator, who actually settle disputes (Lurie & Lack, 2014). Mediators help the parties to focus on process issues and help the parties identify and address proactively potential obstacles to an agreement (Lurie & Lack, 2014). Mediators work with the parties to first facilitate a discussion on procedural and potential impasse issues, and help them analyze the cause of the dispute, and determine their information needs for settlement (Lurie & Lack, 2014). Normally, procedural issues are not contentious if they are approached as a means for triggering cooperative behavior.
The mediator has four main tasks to accomplish; build credibility and confidence, retrieve information from the disputants, exchange and negotiation, and finally summarizing what has happened and creating a good faith agreement for the way forward (Cahn & Abigail, 2014; Moore, 2004; Wilmot & Hocker, 2013). There are generally two major categories of tactics: General and contingent. The general tactic is almost always used in conflicts and includes methods for beginning the dispute, analyzing the conflict, planning the mediation, and identifying solutions (Moore, 2004). Contingent tactics address conflicts such as value differences, power imbalances, hurtful behaviors, communication problems, strong emotions, misinformation, and differing views.
A significant mediator activity is to identify the causes of the conflict, to decide whether to focus on psychological, procedural, or substantive aspects of the conflict, and to build a hypothesis for the approach to resolution (Cahn & Abigail, 2014; Lurie & Lack, 2014; Moore, 2004; Wilmot & Hocker, 2013). During this information sharing stage, the mediator is collecting data and specifically looking for the cause of competing interests, differing values, dynamic issues or the interests of those involved. The mediator collects data through direct observations, consultations with secondary sources, and interviews with involved parties. Effective mediators apply active listening, paraphrasing and restatement, summarization, and probing or clarifying questions to gather data (Cahn & Abigail, 2014; Lurie & Lack, 2014; Moore, 2004; Wilmot & Hocker, 2013).
During the negotiation phase mediators determine the criteria for satisfactory settlement by identifying what the parties are willing to lose or willing to gain: the bargaining range is known as the zone of possible agreement (ZOPA). The two ranges are minimax principle and the best alternative to negotiated agreements (BATNA) (Cahn & Abigail, 2014; Lurie & Lack, 2014; McKenzie, 2015; Moore, 2004; Wilmot & Hocker, 2013). Knowing this information aids the mediator when it comes time to decide on a settlement.