Sobota, 19 czerwca 2021 r.

Wypowiedź Andrew Grossman'a - Dyrektora Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution z Londynu

„CEDR experience of workplace mediation in the UK”

Specjalnie dla nas Andrew opisuje doświadczenia swojego Centrum przy realizacji projektów mediacji w organizacjach w Wielkiej Brytanii tego, w jaki sposób brytyjskie organizacje radzą sobie w rozwiązywaniu konfliktów, a także jakie znaczenie i miejsce ma mediacja we współczesnym zarządzaniu.

CEDR experience of workplace mediation in the UK

Since 2007, following the publication of a major government review of all aspects of employment dispute resolution in the UK (the Gibbons Review) mediation has been promoted and increasingly used as an informal alternative to disciplinary and grievance procedures for resolving conflict within organisations. In particular,
organisations have been encouraged to place less reliance on employment tribunals and other formal procedures.

Certainly, we are seeing more employers using mediation skills to develop their conflict management capability by encouraging managers to engage more effectively in difficult conversations with their team members and place more self-reliance in dealing with their own issues. And, in recent years, workplace mediation has accounted for 25-30 per cent of CEDR’s commercial caseload some of which have also been incorporated in our independent investigation work. These investigations have included dealing with corporate governance, disciplinary and grievance matters, and while the investigation has looked at the facts and rights and wrongs of a situation, and possibly offered recommendations on howto resolve an issue, mediation has often been introduced as a final phase of the process to achieve a more effective outcome.

More generally, we are finding that organisations are slowly showing signs of emerging from the thinking that mediation skills are for mediators only, to thinking that mediation skills are necessary for managers as part of a strategic approach in managing conflict across all levels of the organisation. This means that rather than being left solely to the HR department, stakeholders across the organisation need to be involved in all aspects of the promotion and use of mediation.

Of course, that is easy to say but not so easy to achieve; challenges in developing strategic conflict management approaches in organisations are ever present, particularly as more and more responsibility shifts to managers who may not have the skills, if not the confidence, to deal with conflict effectively. This was highlighted in CEDR’s “Tough Talk” survey (2010) of 1000 UK employees which found that 35% of managers would rather parachute jump than address a problem with colleagues at work. It further supports other research which suggests that junior managers are often anxious that they will blamed if they handle things badly, and for some it is still seen as a sign of weakness to refer issues with their team members to external mediation. There are associated concerns around managers feeling they will lose control of a situation or that certain issues are not capable of being addressed through mediation. Also, in-house mediators can find it difficult to adjust between this role and their day-to-day role.

Despite the encouragement to use less formal procedures, CEDR practitioners report that organisations still too readily fall back on the grievance procedure to handle conflict, and employers are not sure or unaware of how mediation can be adopted to work as part of the procedure. This is likely because conflict management is not often see as a high-level activity and is coupled with mediation only being used as a last attempt to resolve an issue by which time a resolution will be more difficult
or, maybe, impossible to achieve.

Persuading organisations to use mediation strategically, and as a pre-emptive rather than reactive process, remains a continuing work in progress.

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