Mediation and Conflict Management

Conflict occurs when individuals or groups are not obtaining what they need or want or are seeking their own self-interests. Sometimes, the individual is not aware of their need. Other times, the individual is very aware of what they need and actively works at achieving a goal. Many cycles are involved in conflict and not all conflict is bad. Conflict is essential to change.

Mediation occurs when there is an inability to achieve some type of resolution without assistance from a neutral individual. Typically, individuals in conflict agree that mediation is necessary. The Labor Program Office encourages labor supervisors and students to resolve conflicts internally, but offers to serve as a resource if resolution isn’t obtainable. The Five Step Mediation Process is more widely used than other processes due to its simplicity.

The process is listed as follows:

  1. Introductions and Opening Conversations;
  2. Telling Their Stories;
  3. Parties Communicate;
  4. Brainstorming and Decision Making; and
  5. Agreement Writing/Closing.

Whenever a conflict is presented to the Labor Program Office, we will consider both sides of the situation and determine what type of resolution is appropriate based upon expressed needs and desires. This process may include individual or group consultations and will emphasize the development of positive conflict management techniques. Contact the Associate Dean of Labor to arrange meetings with appropriate Labor Program Staff.