Business Resolution and Mediation
Part I: Business Resolution and Mediation
- Face Management
Face Management Theory is a theory first developed and mentioned by Stella Toomey in 1985. Basically, the premise is that there are ways how different members of a particular organization can communicate and coordinate well even with the presence of barriers such as cultural differences which frequently cause misunderstandings and conflicts in the workplace. There are three instances where facework could be at play: before, during, and after a usually conflicting situation. Preventive facework comes into play before a certain situation; corrective facework comes into play during a situation; restorative comes into play last which is after a situation.
- Repair Rituals
Repair rituals can be used to manage conflicts within a workplace. According to Weiten, Dunn, & Hammer (2011), there are three steps involved in repair rituals: reproach, remedy and acknowledgment. The reproach stage is where the one who got offended accepts that that there is something wrong that has been done and that there is a need for an explanation. In the remedy stage, the offender explains himself and negotiates with the person he offended a remedy or a solution. Finally, in the acknowledgement stage, both the offender and the offended agree into terms regarding how they will solve the conflict; this is also the part where a positive social environment begins to blossom again.
- Managing Initial Contacts with Disputing Parties
An effective mediation process starts with the management of initial contacts with the disputing parties. This phase involves the building of credibility because the conflicting parties possibly won’t listen to any word the mediator says without showing any valuable credentials or proof of authority; promotion of rapport because a good mediator knows how to handle people’s emotion even when in high-tension situations; educating the conflicting parties about the process and making sure that they will be committed to the procedure.
- Selecting a Strategy to Guide Mediation
The selection of mediation strategy should start with the identification of possible strategies and of the contingent and non-contingent events that may happen as a result of any one of those identified strategies (Moore, 1996). It would be important to consider and short-list strategies that will enable all involved parties to progress towards a mutual agreement.
- Collecting and Analyzing Background Information in the Mediation Process and Examining Conflict Styles and Tactics
- Two Styles: Cooperation and Competition
The two styles cooperation regarding cooperation and competition basically presents two classic ideas: one that talks about the correlation between the interdependence-ness of a workplace relationship and the people involved in that relationship, and one that relates to the possible actions that could be taken by those people involved (Deutsch, 1949). If for example an individual is in a positively interdependent relationship with another person who frequently intentionally or unintentionally commits mistakes, it is very likely that the mistakes he committed will be viewed negatively. On the other hand if an individual is in a negatively interdependent relationship with someone who frequently commits mistakes, chances are his mistakes will be viewed positively.
- Three Styles: Non-confrontation, Solution Orientation, and Control
Current available literatures about the three styles conflict resolution suggest that the theoretical basis for this style is not yet clear. There are numerous interchangeable terms with “non-confrontation, solution orientation, and control” that are evidently the product of other authors’ studies about the three-category conflict style. There can be conflicts and inconsistencies that may come as a result of using this style in managing conflicts (Mendel, 2010).
- Four Styles: Yielding, Problem Solving, Inaction and Contending
This early conflict management model by Pruitt (1983) Thomas (1976) relates to the possible effect of the concerns of all parties involved in a conflict and other factors like the parties’ level of assertiveness and cooperativeness. According to Pruitt (1983), yielding is characterized by low assertiveness and high cooperativeness; inaction by low assertiveness and cooperativeness, contending by high assertiveness and low cooperativeness, and problem solving by high assertiveness and high cooperativeness. Overall, the preferred method is the problem solving because it somewhat stimulates all parties to seek more mutually beneficial courses of actions.
- Five Styles: Integrating, Obliging, Dominating, Avoidance, and Compromising
Rahim (1992) acknowledged most management scholars’ belief that there is no single approach that could address all types of problems and conflicts that may arise in an organization. So, instead of developing a very specific and rigid conflict management approach, he created a Meta model that basically revolves around two dimensions: self-concern and concern of others. Another distinct characteristic of Rahim’s model is the involvement of five management models that are perfectly in line with the two dimensions mentioned earlier: integrating, obliging, dominating, avoidance, and compromising. Openness, willingness to communicate and to find alternatives happens in the integration approach. Obliging is more concerned on satisfying the concern of other involved parties by highlighting the commonalities and minimizing the differences in-between all the parties.
Domination is at play when one party does whatever it can to accomplish its objective even if it means ignoring the expectations and interests of all other parties. Avoidance happens when a certain party decides not to satisfy its concern as well as the concern of the other parties (Rahim, 2002). Compromising takes place when all involved parties accept the fact that they have to give up something in order to reach a compromise or a mutually acceptable and beneficial decision.
This paper is actually a compilation of some of the basic but important principles in business resolution, and most specially, conflict management. Facework or face management, repair rituals, and the different conflict management approaches used by companies to solve internal problems between the members. Knowing what these are, and when and how they come into play can be very useful in solving organizational issues which are indeed very common. For some reason, conflicts inevitably occur. This is why it would be best to be equipped with at least the basic theoretical and practical knowledge in business resolution, mediation, and conflict management.
Mendel, G. (2010). Application of the Three-Style Conflict Resolution Process in the Workplace. Journal of Business and Human Resources.
Moore, Christopher, W. (1996). The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Pruitt, D. G. (1983). Strategic Choice in Negotiation. American Behavioral Scientist.
Rahim, M. (1992). Managing Conflict in Organizations 2nd ed. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Rahim, M. (2002). Toward a theory of managing organizational conflict. The International Journal of Conflict Management.
Thomasm K. (1976). Conflict and Conflict Management. In M.D. Dunnette Ed., Handbook in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Chicago: Rand McNally.
Weiten, W., Dunn, D., & Hammer, E. (2011). Psychology Applied to Modern Life. Adjustment in the 21st Century. Cengage Learning.