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Guiding Principle for Conflict – Mediation – Respect of Parties

My guiding principle for conflict is respect for all parties in the process. It is important to give people an opportunity to express their concerns and opinions on an issue that impact their work environment.  Disputants should be allowed to retain decision control in a judgement free zone but moderated as to ensure a fair and unbiased process that is equal for both parties, particularly if the disputants have to continue to work with each together (Lewicki & Sheppard, 1985).  The process also reflects the value an organization places on its employees and fosters good employee relations., I think the method that best reflects my guiding principle is mediation which is where the “third party retains process control but does not exercise decision control.” (e.g. Cropanzano et al., 1999; Folger & Cropanzano, 1998). In mediation, the disputants get an opportunity to voice their concerns with a manager or “mediator” that facilitates the process of the mediation but doesn’t make the decision.  I think it is particularly effective if the mediator advises during the process. Initially, this may give the appearance as if the mediator has less control. However, it gives disputants assurance that they will retain decision control. (Cropanzano et al. 1999; Folger & Cropanzano, 1998).  

Advising or facilitation allows the mediator to encourage the disputants to “engage in productive discussion.” (Kolb, 1986, Kolb & Glidden, 1986).  This allows the disputants to retain face which is critical if both parties are going to continue to work together in any capacity.  (LaTour et al., 1976).  It  also keeps employees integrity and how they perceive their space.

Advising can also be described as orchestration, under the descriptive model for mediators. (Kolb 1983).  It is an action that speaks to the mediator creating an atmosphere of open dialogue without intervention on the part of the mediator in directing disputants’ dialogue. (Lewicki, Weiss & Lewin, 1992).  We can also apply the Transformative mediation model where the idea is to focus on “parties’ abilities to transform their relationship through empowerment and recognition.” (Bush & Folger, 1994). This allows the disputants to create a format to communicate with each other moving forward in a constructive manner.

Lewick, R.J. & Sheppard, B.H.(1985). Choosing how to intervene: Factors affecting the use of process and outcome control in third party disputes. Journal of Occupational Behavior, 31, 465-502.

Cropanzano, R., Aguinis, H., Schminke, M., & Denham, D. (1999). Disputant reactions to managerial conflict resolution tactics: A comparison among Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the United States. Group and Organizational Management, 24, 124-154

Folger, R., Cropanzano, R. (1998). Organizational justice and human resource management. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage

LaTour, S., Houlden, P., Walker, L., & Thibaut, J. (1976). Some determinants of preferences for modes of conflict resolution.  Journal of Conflict Resolution, 20, 319-356.

Lewicki, R.J., Weiss, S.E., & Lewin, D. (1992). Models of conflict, negotiation and third party intervention: A review and synthesis. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 13(3), 209-252.