Mediation and ADR


Mediation is a formal structured process in which an impartial third party (the mediator) facilitates communication between disputing parties and assists them to voluntarily reach, on their own, a mutually acceptable resolution to the conflict.

CHR consultants help workers identify the issues fueling their dispute, work to achieve a common goal and develop an agreement to resolve their dispute and to restore relationships.

Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an “interest based” approach to managing or resolving conflicts that have evolved into a dispute. “Interest based” refers to the fact that the disputants are assisted in identifying what they need (interests) as opposed to what they want (position).

When discussing disagreements at work, people use the terms “conflict" and "dispute" interchangeably. Within the world of ADR and Interest Based Negotiation, there is an understanding that conflict is normal and a constant condition within organizations; disputes, on the other hand, arise when a conflict cannot be resolved.

At times disputants are unable to discuss the issues affecting them without the facilitation of a third party. In those situations a person of greater authority such as a supervisor, or a LR professional can be present during the meeting of the disputants, and can facilitate a discussion between them.

This negotiation resembles mediation. Essentially, the parties meet to discuss the dispute with the help of a third party whose main task is to ensure the parties stay on the subject and do not get hung up on a minor issue that would prevent progress.

In this type of situation, the organizational representative does not offer an opinion on the dispute; does not take sides; nor propose solutions. Those actions “disempower” the disputants and relieve them of the right and the opportunity to, independent of the employers’ opinion, solve the problem. In that role the organizational representative (supervisor) helps keep the discussion flowing and recognizes when the discussion is not progressing.