Mediation and Arbitration at Catoctin Counseling Center
Part I: Background and Settings
Catoctin Counseling Center is a non-governmental organization that offers counseling service in Maryland, although it has extended its services to other areas such as Hagerstown, Westminster, as well as Frederick. The center was established twenty years ago with an aim of assisting clients to develop strategies necessary for managing stress and other behavioral health conditions. The center recognizes that life is difficult, thus, individuals require other individuals to assist in uplifting their emotions once they veer away from the normalcy. The center offers individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, medical referrals, and other forms of assistance. The counseling center offers psychotherapy to compulsive behaviors brought by alcohol, cocaine, pornography, overeating, gambling, and poly-substance abuse. The center has also amalgamated its own personal growth impediments into its therapeutic approach to assist its employees who could be facing difficulties similar to its clients.
Every organization that deals with humans experiences conflicts, and Catoctin Counseling Center is not been an exception. Some employees were complaining that they have been awarded more responsibilities while others in the same level of hierarchy handled a few responsibilities. The immediate manager had already begun to complain that the clients are threatening to withdraw their services from the center due to mishandling by some employees. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, humans seek fulfillment in order to attain self-actualization, but individuals who succeed the corporate hierarchy usually pay a price for sacrificing their loyalty to the organization (Johnson & Keddy, 2010). In this case, the immediate manager could not solve the employees’ problem because he was in conflict with them, thus, a third party was necessary. The manager was compelled to seek assistance from his senior manager, who became the third party.
Part II: Mediation and Arbitration
Managing conflict is essential in ensuring smooth running of organizations. A third party in conflict resolution was critical to demonstrate objectivity and authority in sticking to the resolutions to be made. According to Myatt (2012), conflict resolution can only occur when leaders embrace conflict rather than fearing it, for there is no way to evade conflict. The human resource manager at Catoctin Counseling Center opted to seek the help from the overall manager, who seemed to be competent in handling conflicts in the workplace.
The mediation followed the six stages of mediation. In the first stage, the mediator explained to the two parties the aim of mediation, and persuaded them to accept his resolution. In the second stage, the overall manager called each side to explain the dispute, and how each party has been affected by it. The third stage involved determining the dispute, as explained in the first stage. The fourth stage involved meeting each party privately in a private caucus, where the mediator explained to the workers that their issue would be addressed while the immediate manager was instructed to respect his employees by sharing responsibilities equally. In the fifth stage, both parties came together for direct negotiation and agreement while the last stage involved signing a written agreement, which depicted that they had agreed to resolve their disagreement.
After the sixth stage, each party accepted the faults committed and agreed to bind by the resolutions. This marked the end of mediation, as the overall manager witnessed the signing of a memorandum that both parties will work on improving the organization’s operations. The perspective had to be objective, with an emphasis of understanding each party’s needs, without forgetting individual needs (Fry & Bjorkqvist, 2013). Both parties accepted the mediator’s decision to resolve their discrepancy without coercion.
Part III: The Neutral Party
In every conflict resolution, a third party is required to assist the disagreeing parties to find solution for their conflict on their own, and to act as a judge. In my opinion, the immediate manager failed in his duty because he did not allocate employees equal responsibilities. The origin of the conflict was the management, which failed to allocate duties equally. The immediate manager should have realized the problem before the workers could experience fatigue. Dealing with people suffering from psychological problems requires expertise to have enough time to relax. For self-actualization, individuals require time for leisure and reflection. Handling too many clients of such nature would not help them to recover. Employees were right to demand their rights, as their contribution is essential for the organizational survival.
I support the verdict offered by the mediator in Catoctin Counseling Center’s case because he allowed each party to express its problem. Taking time to listen to complaints from both sides was necessary to assist in understanding the origin of the conflict. Some mediators may make resolutions depending on the type of disagreement while others apply techniques that are associated to their mediation styles (Illes, Ellemers & Harinck, 2014). The aim of the mediator is not to solve the current issue under conflict, but rather to ensure that such conflict would not emerge again. The management of Catoctin Counseling Center should review job description so that each employee has specific duties based on his/her qualifications. Setting up a department to handle disputes could be appropriate in an organization that employs too many workers. I believe that my resolution is appropriate for the disputing parties, as it does not favor any side.
Fry, D. P., & Bjorkqvist, K. (2013). Cultural variation in conflict resolution: Alternatives to violence. East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.
Illes, R., Ellemers, N., & Harinck, F. (2014). Mediating Value Conflicts. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 31(3), 331-354. doi:10.1002/crq.21089.
Johnson, C., & Keddy, J. (2010). Managing conflict at work: Understanding and resolving conflict for productive working relationships. London: Kogan Page.
Myatt, M (2012, Feb. 22). 5 Keys of Dealing with Workplace Conflict. Forbes, Leadership. Retrieved on 4 July 2015 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/02/22/5-keys-to-dealing-with-workplace-conflict/