Processes for dealing with conflict in the workplace: meeting feminist concerns regarding mediation

Douglas, K 2004, 'Processes for dealing with conflict in the workplace: meeting feminist concerns regarding mediation' in S. Charlesworth and M. Fastenau (ed.) Women and Work: curent RMIT University Research, RMIT Publishing, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 74-91.


Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: Book Chapters

Title Processes for dealing with conflict in the workplace: meeting feminist concerns regarding mediation
Author(s) Douglas, K
Year 2004
Title of book Women and Work: curent RMIT University Research
Publisher RMIT Publishing
Place of publication Melbourne, Australia
Editor(s) S. Charlesworth and M. Fastenau
Start page 74
End page 91
Subjects Litigation, Adjudication and Dispute Resolution
Summary Workplace mediation is one way of dealing with conflict. Research has shown that workplace mediators may practice neutrality in a manner that can prejudice some participants. Women in particular can be vulnerable in a mediation setting where the mediator is not reflective regarding the issue of neutrality. Generally, the traditional feminist literature relating to mediation has criticised the widespread use of this alternative dispute resolution mechanism as some women do not have the same opportunity to participate equally in the mediation process. However, this inequality may be due to the method of practice utilised by large numbers of mediators, the problem solving model. This model allows mediator bias to operate, does not assist women with their negotiation style or with power imbalances and does not address issues that arise when violence is a part of the workplace relationship. This paper advocates the adoption of new models of mediation practice, the storytelling, narrative and transformative models. Collectively we could describe these approaches to mediation as second generation practice. These models reject the problem solving approach and acknowledge that a mediator cannot be truly neutral in the mediation process. These approaches arguably better meet the needs of those women who require assistance in negotiation and could allay some of the traditional concerns feminists have expressed regarding the practice of mediation.
Copyright notice © Kathy Douglas and the School of Management, Business Portfolio, RMIT and the Centre for Applied Social Research, School of Social Science and Planning, RMIT 2004
ISBN 0864593376
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