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When conflict arises it is impossible to remain neutral

Challenges and Opportunities for Mediators in the African Context Skilled mediators can help resolve complex company-community conflicts. August 2013 Brian Ganson Also see: They considered conflicts including articulated grievances and those conflicts that lead to operational disruptions or even violence, but also latent conflicts that posed risks to company-community relations as well as social and political tensions among community members or between different parts of government or society related to business investments.

This blog draws on this discussion of experts to articulate key challenges and opportunities for mediators in the African context. What emerged was a strong sense that mediation of company-community conflicts is a distinctive endeavor.

Company-Community Conflicts: Challenges and Opportunities for Mediators in the African Context

It builds from common core understandings of mediation skills and practice, but the role is broader. Company-community mediators therefore require expanded domain knowledge and specialized skills.

When conflict arises it is impossible to remain neutral

The entry process in company-community mediation is more akin to political mediation than to commercial mediation. The table is not set; there is unlikely to be an agreement to mediate. Key parties and influences may not be at the table, and government in particular may be deciding whether to block or to support the mediation process. The issues in conflict are rarely well-defined, and may be very different for the company, the government, the community, and the international financial institution that commissioned the mediation.

The authority structures governing the mediation will most likely be political rather than legal. Company-community conflicts implicate policy conflicts — across government ministries, between international and national frameworks, between central governments and regional or local projects — where there may be a lack of harmonizing mechanisms.

  • A conflict of interest arises whenever you remain loyal to your employer we expect that you will adhere to the code of conduct and its related policies;
  • Journalistic objectivity is a they also argue that such objectivity is nearly impossible to she points to the logical inconsistency that arises when;
  • Bringing religion, in particular, out from the shadow of the private, and recognizing its essential publicity, may be a first step in engaging the creative power of faith to form lasting peace;
  • And if we avoid discussing the conflict at all, both parties may remain clueless about the real underlying issues and concerns, only to be dealing;
  • Workplace relationships need attention, and when conflict arises, even intervention when they become a barrier to a healthy office environment Letting workplace conflict fester is unwise, as this can turn the entire environment toxic and then you have a much bigger problem that can affect productivity, turnover, and ultimately revenue;
  • This must be a cultural shift that begins with leadership demonstrating openness, optimism, and mutual accountability.

At the same time, the mediator may not be welcome to name these tensions: Furthermore, political authorities will be highly attentive to the broader political economy of conflict. The national conversation about resource exploitation or business investment often takes place in contested spaces that are shaped by many factors, including: Colonial experiences, disempowerment of groups or ethnic tensions Already-tense relationships among government, companies, communities and civil society Push and pull among the executive, parliament, different levels of government, and traditional institutions Distrust between local communities competing for benefits A history of tensions between companies and communities in which they operate Basic information may be missing and hard to come by.

Conflicts often arise because the parties did not properly consult with each other in the first place, meaning that needs, interests, priorities and risks are yet to be surfaced.

How to Use ‘Positive Neutrality’ for Workplace Conflict Resolution

Technical capacities for assessment of economic, social, environmental, public health and other factors implicated by large-scale projects may be absent. Because of these and other factors, company-community mediations are much less formulaic than the relatively structured processes that define formal mediations within a particular legal or commercial context.

They require increased attentiveness to the heterogeneity of role players, their stories, their sentiments, and their motivations; the socio-political context; and the conflict culture. Additionally, the African environments in which company-community mediations take place are highly dynamic, requiring a process that can keep pace with evolving issues and parties.

Putting this all together, experts note the need for a much more contextually astute mediator with a much broader and more creative sense of the possibilities for mediation. The mediator must remain neutral, in the sense of leaving ownership of the outcome with the parties.

How to Use ‘Positive Neutrality’ for Workplace Conflict Resolution

But the mediator must be much more of a catalyst, a convener, a coach, an authority on rights and responsibilities, and an honest broker than in more structured mediation contexts. Because of the difficult socio-political and socio-economic environments in which company-community conflicts arise, the capacity for these conflicts to exacerbate existing tensions and stress factors in the broader society, and the highly politicized contexts in which the conflicts must be managed requires a much more proactive approach to risk management and conflict prevention.

This requires ongoing monitoring of social risk, which in environments that are rumor rich, information poor, and high in mistrust among the role players, will likely itself need to be mediated. It likely requires capacity building at the national and community levels.

How to Use ‘Positive Neutrality’ for Workplace Conflict Resolution

Finally, it requires an intervention capability to quickly move to flag issues, lower tensions and manage conflicts as they arise and before they become crises.

Since risk management and conflict prevention are ongoing efforts, such a preventive vision implies some degree of institutionalized local capability.

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Building teams and systems is essential. Rather, an institutional mentality may be required to develop systems that can engage and deploy a variety of individuals and manage on-going processes, at least for investments and projects of a scale that merit them.

  • There has been a conflict resolution meeting planned with their manager;
  • It is difficult to remain a bystander in the face of conflict it is difficult to remain a bystander in to find a way to remain neutral but are inevitably;
  • Fighting fair to resolve conflict feel out of control when conflict arises it's almost impossible to deal with numerous old problems for which recollections;
  • Why and how conflict arises such dilemmas are often impossible to resolve there may be situations where it is preferable or necessary to remain neutral;
  • Journalistic objectivity is a they also argue that such objectivity is nearly impossible to she points to the logical inconsistency that arises when.

Indeed, a key role of individual mediators may be to help parties develop a more systemic understanding of their relationship and how it can be managed. Brian Ganson is an expert on socio-political risk management, conflict prevention and collaboration, and third party roles in post-conflict and other complex environments.

  • This means that you must acknowledge positive attributes and troubleshoot the rougher spots;
  • In workplace conflict resolution, the goal must not be to attain perfect harmony but to improve team communication and maintain respect;
  • The practice of dialogue — wherein all parties declare their own views openly, aiming to listen to and understand other perspectives and traditions Holenstein, — is paramount to successful contemporary peace building;
  • Trying to manage workplace conflict is a highly nuanced practice— there is no one right way to approach it;
  • In the case of religious terrorism, surely the clearest example for the West of the importance of getting to grips with religion, we can see two negative consequences of these patterns of thought;
  • Two employees have been arguing about responsibilities at work.

He consults to companies, local and foreign governments, international organizations, and civil society.