January 23, 2024

Article Offers Guidance for Ombuds Giving Upward Feedback (Repost)

The Social Science Research Network has posted a new article by James Claxton, "Generic Options, Particular Challenges: Hazards of Ombuds Raising Workplace Issues for Anonymous Visitors." Claxton is an Ombudsperson Specialist with the Office of the Ombudsman for United Nations Funds and Programmes in Senegal and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Waseda University. The article examines a critical Ombuds function that has not been extensively examined in the literature. 

Here's the full abstract: 
Ombuds can address workplace issues anonymously when visitors do not want to be identified. An ombuds might, for instance, signal a pattern of bullying in a workplace to management without identifying the visitors who complained. Benefits of anonymity include giving voice to fearful visitors and to bystanders who want to speak up without being directly implicated by name.
When raising issues in generic terms, a balance must be sought between protecting the identity of visitors and providing actionable information. If this tension is not managed, a generic approach may fail to improve the situation or may even make matters worse. Where generic approaches are considered for a group of visitors, members may disagree about how the issue should be communicated and how the ombuds should be involved, which may put the ombuds between visitors with competing interests.
This article provides an overview of the potential hazards of generic options, which demand careful management of the core ombuds principles of confidentiality and impartiality. The article concludes with practical suggestions for how ombuds can maximize the benefits of generic approaches and overcome related problems.
(SSRN; LinkedIn.) 

Related posts: Job Posting (UN Senegal).

1 comment:

  1. I am so delighted to read this detailed posting by James Claxton. Yay for him and yay for Tom Kosakowski for finding it! As the author of the original article — Consider Generic Options When Complainants and Bystanders are Fearful— because my article lacked this kind of detail about "how to do it"— Claxton's article makes me think that we need articles with a similar analysis about each of the tools and functions of an organizational ombud. (~mary rowe ... I do not have a google account 😟)