Here are some examples of kinds of disputes, conflicts, or problems where the Mediation Program can help:
Even though most people think of arguments when they think of disputes, being in an argument or disagreement is not the most important reason to consider mediation. You can make a difference even if you're not stuck in a frustrating argument with someone. You might request mediation or other help from the Mediation Program with some colleagues for these reasons too:
If we think realistically about our lives both at work and elsewhere, we have to acknowledge that conflict and the emotions that come with conflict are everywhere and are inevitable. Scholars of conflict even recognize that conflict that is well managed is a healthy source of creative energy in an organization. The goal of an institution like the SCSU Mediation Program, then, is not to achieve a conflict-free work environment. Rather, our goal is to help fellow employees who find themselves in conflict situations that are dysfunctional--that are degrading their quality of life at work and interfering with healthy functioning of their work units. We stand ready to help in assessing their circumstances and their own tactics and behavioral options, and in mediating their disputes or otherwise facilitating their communication with their colleagues.
Some people say that when hostility is openly expressed, especially unfairly, or when people are typically obstructionist, mediation might be able to help reduce the level of dysfunction. Anger and hostility are essential emotions, and oppositeness is an essential stance in some forms of discourse. Anger and distancing behaviors aren't necessarily bad and in fact can be healthy and productive. When they interfere with professional conduct, then they are dysfunctional. To make a blanket statement that those behaviors are inappropriate is in itself inappropriate. We do not hold that people should be condemned for anger or hostility in the face of unprofessional or misguided or damaging conduct. We do hold, however, that people are responsible for clear, respectful, constructive communication. In fact, this is a primary goal of mediation.
Workplace hostility, also sometimes called workplace bullying, is very much a matter of situation and context. Any of these behaviors can be misinterpreted and may not be in themselves be wrong or bullying, but here are some ways hostility is expressed in the workplace, some possible and perhaps common and not so common indicators of conflict, bullying, and hostility:
Obstructionism, the more passive form of workplace bullying, is another way incivility can become institutionalized. Most of us have experienced the frustration of being targets of these behaviors. And, if we're candid with ourselves, we may have to acknowledge that there have been times when we have engaged in these behaviors ourselves, either consciously or unconsciously. Here are some examples of obstructionism. In order to retaliate against or undermine someone (often a supervisor or someone in authority), a person may engage in several of these passive-aggressive tactics: