During the early 1900, people were treated as if they were robots. The motto of dispute resolution was “You ain’t got a problem except for the one I tell you, you have”.
This has fortunately changed for the better over the past couple of decades, where the individual was starting to be recognized as being an important part of the entire process.
During the 1970 / 80’s the slogan “People are our greatest assets” emerged. People were encouraged to air their view and argue with the employer. Legislation was also promulgated that gave employees more and more protection as well as rights.
During the past two decades, different approaches were used to resolve disputes in an amicable and mutually beneficial manner. Some of them were Human Resources Managers’ intervention (which had its problem, as HR Practitioners were seen to be siding with management), through employee negotiations, third party mediation or employee-lead changes.
Some of the main problems in our organizations are:
Lack of clarity and
Working in groups
Many of companies in the older days used to employ grandfather / farther and son. There was a loyalty towards the company and the people employed.
Due to the changing world, companies need to react quickly to changing environments. This unfortunately has resulted in a more fluid workforce with a loss of loyalty towards the employee and the employer. The result is a more militant workforce – one of “it’s my right”, rather than “it’s my duty”.
This confrontational trend needs to be managed well and carefully without being “soft”. Litigation is an option, but surely not the preferred one – one of last resort.
Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) is one that is preferred, with Mediation at the top of the list, followed by Conciliation and Arbitration.
In Mediation an outsider (the mediator) facilitates the process and is not seen as part of Management. It is a “give and take” process and is, when handled well, beneficial to both parties with a “win – win” outcome.