Interpersonal Conflicts in the workplace are often viewed as an inevitable "cost of doing business". When there are attempts to mitigate the damaging effects of ignoring workplace conflict, some organizations rely on traditionally accepted methods such as documentation, discipline, probation, or termination, often facilitated by offices of Human Resources and Legal Affairs. Furthermore, employees are often reluctant to use these offices to report issues that contribute to workplace conflict because of fear of going "on record" and possible retaliation. A more recent development within the varied menu of organizational resources to help mitigate the negative costs of workplace conflict is the Office of the Ombuds, staffed by one or more Organizational Ombuds (OO). The chapter presents a scenario of a somewhat typical workplace conflict scenario. It compares and contrasts how it was handled in an institution of higher education without an OO, and how it might have been handled if an OO was available and involved. Within this "story", readers are informed about the role and potential benefits of having an Office of the Ombuds accessible to their employees.
Handbook of Organizational Conflict Management is available for $150. (De Gruyter.)