By: Julie Thorpe


Conflict Resolution and Mediation

with the Emphasis on Human Relations in Global Operations

We believe that every conflict situation provides an opportunity for personal and organisational development.  Conflict is a necessary part of life – not to be shunned as destructive, but to be seen as a positive sign that passion and integrity are alive and active in the workplace.  At the heart of every conflict there is a need – for respect and understanding; for safety and security.  Tackling conflict therefore means seeking out shared values and assisting clients to develop new inclusive visions to inspire and focus diffuse energies.

We have several decades of experience in handling human relations conflicts in the workplace and within communities affected by industrial operations.  We have successfully achieved solutions in a wide variety of challenging environments – in both developed and developing economies.

Examples of our work in conflict resolution include:

India – resolving a long-running dispute between a major textile manufacturer, its local workforce and the community to enable multinational buyers to re-engage.

Turkey – bringing together representatives of the national apparel industry together with all registered trade unions into a sector-wide social dialogue.

Globally – Vic Thorpe, Just Solutions’ Founder and Director, is a regular consulting adviser to the Compliance, Advisory and Ombudsman’s Office of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private investment arm of the World Bank Group, and to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), engaged in the response to and mediation of complaints and grievances that arise from international development projects.

Stirling Smith, our Director of Projects and Training, wrote the guide for the ILO’s own internal disputes resolution system.

Training for Improved Conflict Resolution

According to recent research, nearly a half-day per week is taken up in conflict resolution in the average workplace.  For firms undergoing rapid change the level is much higher.  A recent cross-sector poll among thousands of workers across nine countries at different stages of development found that one in three respondents (33%) said that conflict has led to personal injury or attacks, while one in five (22%) reported that it has led to illness or absence from work.  Interestingly, managers tended to overstate their effectiveness at handling conflict.  While nearly a third of managers (31%) considered that they were skilled at conflict resolution, only about one-fifth (actually 22 per cent) of their employees actually agreed with them!

Positive results are directly related to conflict management training, as employers with a high incidence of training reported more positive outcomes than those where training was not given the same priority.

We also believe that solid training in conflict resolution is a part of creating the balanced and productive workplace under every scenario.  Conflict is created by a clash around non-aligned goals and the diffusion of frustrated energies. Training plays a central role in any long-term change project.  We can also offer specialist and individual coaching and tailored courses.

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