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Proposal for a Conflict Assessment

The following proposal outlines how a conflict assessment would be conducted to resolve workplace issues.

Stage One: Pre-Assessment

A meeting will be arranged to meet with all concerned parties involved in the conflict. Each person will talk with the mediator to describe his/her perspective of the conflict. This is an opportunity for people to express their thoughts and emotions about the conflict. During this stage, people often comment that they feel heard and understood. Pre-assessment is an important stage in conflict analysis to determine the viability of the mediation process. Some issues in conflict are not negotiable. Sometimes the parties in conflict are asked to fill out a short questionnaire. From this information the mediator will establish a working agenda.

Parties included in the assessment are:

  • the employees
  • the supervisor or manager
  • any other relevant parties who are pertinent to the resolution of the issues.

This part of the process may take an hour per person or longer.

Stage Two: Mediation Process

Once all pertinent data has been collected from the pre-assessment, the mediator will develop a process that best takes into account the needs and interests of all parties involved. One possible resolution process may be to arrange a mediation session where all parties come together to discuss their concerns and listen to each other with the goal of reaching an agreement that meets individuals' needs.

If this is the direction that is deemed most productive, then an agenda will be developed from the interests of all parties participating in the pre-assessment. The mediation will address each one of the agenda items through open discussion with all participants expressing their points-of-view as well as listening to one another. In this part of the process, the role of the mediator will be to keep participants focused on the agenda issues, manage the emotional climate, and assist the group to reach agreement.

Participants will discuss the possibilities or consequences if no agreement is reached.

Stage Three: Resolution

The objective of the discussion will be to look at what agreements will result. Once the agreements have been decided upon, the participants will look at the fairness and feasibility of the agreement. Time will be allotted to discuss what steps are necessary if the agreement is not upheld. Participants will know what course of action will then take place. All participants discuss who will receive copies of the final agreement.

Stages two and three often require a full day each. If all agenda items are not covered, additional time is arranged. Documentation of the agreement can take three to four hours depending on the complexity of the agreement.

Alternative Possibilities

If the results from the pre-assessment indicate that the mediation process is not the best way to resolve the workplace issues, then the mediator will recommend another appropriate option.

Stage Four: Follow Up

Three to four months after the mediation, there will be a follow-up meeting scheduled to assess the success of the agreement. If any adjustments to the agreement are required, then individuals will have an opportunity to give input to fine-tune the agreement. If the agreement is working well, then all parties need to be applauded. This is an important step in the process. It is critical that the necessary adjustments be made to the agreement to maintain success for all participants. If changes are not made, the agreement may fail and time and money may be wasted. People may then return to old patterns and attitudes and the process will be seen as a failure. This can be demoralizing for people who have expectations for resolution.

Stage four is usually a half-day session.

Role of the Mediator

If, at any point in the process, it is discovered that any individual has the intent to cause emotional or physical harm to another person, the process will be terminated. Having a safe, honest and trustworthy process is important for all. The mediator will develop working guidelines with input from the participants to keep the discussions focused and respectful. The objective of the process is to allow parties to communicate with one another with the goal of gaining understanding and resolution of the issues for all parties. The mediator acts as a neutral party to resolve the issues with the goal of creating a high functioning team. The process provided by the mediator will be voluntary for all participants.

The mediator will write up any agreements reached during the mediation process.

Process Site

It is recommended that a neutral site be used if a mediation session is required between all parties.

(c)2002 Soules Consulting LTD.