We have provided mediation services to a range of organisations including the Department of Defence, SA Water, City of Campbelltown, Adelaide Hills Council and more. We have also delivered a training package in the skills of mediation to staff at Emirates Airlines.
Mediation is defined as “Any process for resolving disputes in which another person helps the parties negotiate a settlement”. The guiding principals are to include respect and dignity to the situation and ensure both parties are able to actively participate. To do this well we recommend that the mediator meet the parties separately to establish an awareness of their experience and their goals for the process. We also recommend that there be a written document which is shared by both parties and other stakeholders. Who has access to this document needs to be resolved at the time all parties commit to the process.
What is Mediation?
Does it Really Help?
- Intense conflict tends to generate misunderstanding and suspicion
- Mediation offers people the chance to air grievances
- Mediation is not bound by formal rules, therefore parties can discuss whatever is of concern
- Written agreement offers a way forward
Characteristics of the Mediation Process
- Voluntary participation
- Variety of Mediators
- No representatives - each speak for self
- Flexible process
- Informal tone
- Look at wider picture - not just immediate complaints
- Airing emotions - appropriate but not the focus
- The solutions are theirs
- Success is more than problem solving – improve future relations; gain confidence in handling conflicts
- Valuing reconciliation but "friendship" is not the aim
When Does Mediation Work?
Mediation is most likely to resolve a conflict when:
- The parties want resolution / change
- All the stakeholders are present
- Parties are able to express reasons for discomfort / distress
- Mediator is able to control and sustain the process
- The parties are capable of living up to their promises
When is Mediation Useful?
- The issues are complicated by a strong emotional element
- The parties know each other
- Maintaining a relationship is important
- A decision must be reached soon
- The parties doubt their own ability to work out the problem
- Many people are involved or indirectly affected
When is Mediation Inappropriate?
Mediation may be unsuccessful or even harmful. It is not recommended if any of the following are true:
- A serious incident has just occurred and people are still very upset
- You suspect one party intends to use the mediation to escalate the dispute
- One party is incapable of listening / disturbed
- The main problem is not mediatable
- There is a power imbalance
- The issue deserves public attention
- Key parties are unwilling to participate
We look forward to discussing your needs at this time. Our experience is that there are many stakeholders when mediation is required. They include the organisation as represented by the CEO, Human Resources as well as the Managers of those persons involved in the dispute, their colleagues and of course families and friends all of whom in our experience want the matter resolved as expeditiously as possible. Generally the matter has grown out of other events and so the advice that mediation serves to address previous issues and increase the likelihood of better workplace communication in the future makes the trouble and cost of mediation well worth it to the organisation.