Georgia Southern University’s Staff and Faculty Mediation Programs are sponsored by Georgia Southern Human Resources. Mediation provides an option to help resolve work-related conflict. Whether a problem developed last week or over a longer period of time, mediation offers two people an opportunity to discuss issues in a confidential atmosphere.
Who are the mediators?
The mediators are faculty and staff from all areas of the University who have received training in conflict resolution techniques and the mediation process. They have no prior knowledge of the dispute and enter the process as neutral third parties. If you and the other party agree to participate, a certified mediator will be assigned by the Mediation Administrator to help open the lines of communication in a non-threatening and supportive environment.
Will the mediator take sides?
No. The mediator is neutral and does not determine the outcome of a case. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong. Instead, the mediator makes sure both parties get a chance to be heard in a respectful, non-judgmental way.
Matters discussed in the mediation sessions are considered confidential. The only information recorded is a statement of mediation outcome. All records are maintained by the Employee Assistance Program and are confidential.
How does mediation work?
Each participant will have a chance to speak, and the mediators will help clarify issues that you may wish to address. There is no time limit to this process. Mediation will take as long as needed to resolve the conflict and may include more than one session.Once the issues have been identified and discussed, the mediators will assist in developing possible solutions. If a mutual agreement is reached, the mediators will help clarify the details in writing and the document will be signed by all participants.
What if I want mediation and the other person does not?
Mediation is voluntary. If one person chooses not to participate, mediation cannot take place.
What topics are appropriate for mediation?
Mediation is an appropriate tool for dealing with most interpersonal and work-related conflicts, including:
- Personal disputes
- Office behaviors
- Issues of respect and cooperation
Some issues may not be appropriate for mediation within the guidelines of the University Mediation Program:
- Mediation of current or pending legal actions
- Some organizational decisions
- Conflicts surrounding violations or applications of University policies
- Concerns relating to serious violations of rights or regulations
What happens if we do not reach an agreement?
Even if a formal agreement is not reached, we hope you will leave the mediation with a better understanding of all the issues.
Who will know about the mediation?
Mediation is a confidential process. All participants must agree to respect the private nature of the discussion before the session begins. If a resolution is reached, the Mediation Administrator will review the agreement to ensure that it is consistent with state policies and procedures. A copy of the agreement also will be kept by the Mediation Administrator.
Do faculty and staff waive their access to any grievance procedure if mediation is used?
No. Although timeframes for initiating grievances/appeals are not automatically extended, you may decide to mediate even if you have already started the grievance process. Deadlines will be extended by written agreement when necessary. A grievance may still be initiated upon conclusion of the mediation.
How do I initiate a mediation?
The first step in initiating a mediation is to call the Mediation Administrator at 478-5171. The other parties will be contacted and given an overview of the mediation process. If a mutual agreement to meet is reached, all parties will be notified by the Mediation Administrator of the date and time.
The following resources will give you a more thorough understanding of the skills and processes involved in mediation:
Mediation Theory and Practice, by Suzanne McCorkle and Melanie Reese. Allyn & Bacon Publishing, 2004.
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton. This 1991 second edition, published by Penguin Books, is a foundation of modern conflict resolution practice. The authors discuss different strategies for resolving conflict and outline the important aspects of “interest-based” negotiating. Interest-based negotiating has since become a basic tenet of mediation practices around the world. Persons interested in learning more about alternative dispute resolution are encouraged to begin their search by reading this book.
The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict, by Christopher Moore. This 1996 second edition, published by Jossey-Bass Publishing is a comprehensive guide to the principles and practice of mediation. It offers strategies and techniques for every stage of the mediation process.
The Promise of Mediation: Responding to Conflict Through Empowerment and Recognition, by Robert Baruch Bush and Joseph Folger. This 1994 book published by Jossey-Bass Publishing discusses four unique mediation stories of how mediation has developed and is used in different cultures and situations. Bush and Folger’s analysis of the mediation stories has sparked a great deal of discussion amongst mediation practitioners. Bush and Folger advocate the Transformation Story of mediation, where use of the mediation process serves to transform the character of individuals and of society.
Last updated: 12/4/2015