Gerry O'Sullivan Mediator's Toolkit book

Organisational and Workplace Mediation


How Successful Is Organisational & Workplace Mediation?

The mediation process improves communication, diffuses emotions, deescalates the conflict and limits its effects. It defines areas of agreement leading to successful resolutions in 80% of cases (Labour Relations Commission, 2003). Where the parties in mediation do not reach full settlement, parts of the disputes may be resolved, leaving fewer differences to be dealt with in arbitration or litigation.

In the case of bullying, 98% of those who report bullying just want it to stop. The role of mediation is to create the forum where misunderstandings and differing expectations can be safely aired so that a mutually agreed future can be reached.

Questions to determine the need for a Mediation Intervention

The Benefits of Workplace Mediation

Mediation is the least costly and the most efficient of other approaches to address conflict, such as arbitration, litigation or industrial dispute. It considerably reduces the stress and time investment of managers, supervisors and other employees in the dispute. Those affected by conflict, either directly or indirectly, can begin to invest in the job that they are employed to do, rather than investing their resources and energy into worrying and coping with the conflict that they are experiencing.

Mediation contributes to short-term and to long-term solutions that are workable because they address the interests of both parties and of the organisation. Mediation gives the parties the opportunity to present their case to each other before a neutral third party in a way that indicates the strength of their feelings and highlights aspects of significance to them.

The mediation process allows parties to have ownership of the process and, because of this, the parties consequently take responsibility for the development and the implementation of their agreement. This leads to their satisfaction with the outcome and to sustainable resolution. It allows parties to maintain dignity and respect and therefore leads to better relationships between the parties in the long term – it is a ‘win-win’ situation for all. Mediation builds the skills of parties so that they will be able to handle future conflicts more effectively.

Parties can enter into mediation without jeopardising their other dispute resolution options, privacy and confidentiality is maintained and the risks in employing mediation are low and the potential for a successful outcome is high.

The Context for Organisational & Workplace Mediation

Three pieces of legislation are having a major effect on today’s workplace:

  1. The Health & Safety Act, 1989 and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations, 1993 and 2001.
  2. The Employment Equality Acts, 1998 and 2004.
  3. The Equal Status Acts, 2000 to 2004.

These Acts deal with Employment Equality, The Outlawing of Discrimination on Nine Specific Grounds, Workplace Stress an Bullying, Sexual Harassment and Harassment.

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