As the Chief Operating Officer of a manufacturing organization Seatcor, I happen to know about my Vice President Joe Gibbons, responsible for a largest assembly plant, not taking his immediate deputy Charles Stewart to confidence in drafting his plan on a major project. The latter being one to succeed the former in about two years time, I consider it important to see that there is no interpersonal conflict between them and so plan to address the issue through a process of mediation. The essay describes as to how I plan to go about.
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Manager, as a skillful mediator
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The good news is that both the parties involved in the conflict have good trust in me. I will take care to uphold this trust throughout the process of mediation.
Joe Gibbons is a senior manager with proven ability. If he had chosen not to involve Charles Stewart in the planning process on a major project, he must have some good reason for that.
At the same time, Charles Stewart is tenacious and bright; and comes from a reputed business school. His frustration is justified, but I should know all the facts around the case.
As the first step I will have another sitting with Charles Stewart and understand the issue in detail. I must ensure myself that he has points requiring corrections in Joe Gibbons’ approach.
Next I will have a private sitting with Joe Gibbons on the subject. I will endeavor to maintain total transparency between us.
At this stage, I will have reckoned at the points, in which both Joe Gibbons and Charles Stewart will not have any argument. I will collect resources to help them during mediation, on the conflicting points.
After this exercise, I will call both of them for a formal meeting. I will request them to state their points. I will be careful to see that one does not rebut as the other presents the points. For this, I will make a descriptive introduction of the session, prescribing the dos and don’ts, and will obtain their commitment on that.
When both of them had finished their points of deliberation, I will first clear the points where there are no disagreements. Thereafter, I will enable them discuss the points of disagreement one by one. I will create a desire to reconcile in them which will produce cooperation (Poitras, 2005) If all the points could not be discussed in one meeting, I will call for another or few more meetings till total solution is arrived at.
Since both are mature and professionally competent, it will be within competence to stabilize the setting for the mediation meetings, to make them openly communicate and to enable them negotiate on compromise formulas.
When I will have a stage that both the parties have agreed on all the points of disagreement, I will sum it up and have them reaffirmed. I will conclude this meeting by congratulating both of them for a meaningful negotiation and greet them for their career success.
1. Course material: Third Party Conflict Resolution
2. Poitras Jean, A Study of emergence of means of cooperation in mediation, Negotiation Journal, New York; April 2005
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