Mediation and Stress
By Craig Runde, Director of the Center for Conflict Dynamics
New articles point out the nexus between workplace conflict, stress, and its successful identification and resolution by mediation.
In "Mediation to Identify Causes of Stress Early" Susan Ingham and colleagues discuss the use of mediation to resolve conflicts and minimize work-related stress in the United Kingdom. (1)
Unresolved conflict can cause conflict because of the negative emotions that arise and fester. These can lead to numerous physical and psychological health problems. (2) Donna McKenzie in “The Role of Mediation in Resolving Workplace Relationship Conflict, notes that stress can also caused damaged relationships, lost productivity, diminished job satisfaction, and even workers’ compensation claims. (3) Finding ways to help manage conflict and the stress it causes becomes an important health and productivity issue for organizations.
Ingham suggests that mediation can be effective in addressing workplace stressors because of its psychological basis. Its problem solving orientation couples with its emphasis on direct communications in a safe context to resolve the problems that have been causing stress in the first place.
The Mediation Training Institute(MTI) model developed by Dr. Dan Dana also relies on psychological processes of fatigue, desire for peace, catharsis, and the inhibitory reflex to eventually lead to breakthroughs in mediation which bring about resolution of conflict.
One of the key, long-term benefits of this approach is reducing the underlying stress associated with conflict. This, in turn, lessens the recurrence of conflicts.
1. Ingram, S., St. Romain, J., and Brearly, D., "Mediation to Identify Causes of Stress Early," Occupational Health, 2015, 67(4), 20-22.
2. Spector, P. and Bruk-Lee, V., "Conflict, health, and well-being." In C. DeDreu and M. Gelfand,(eds.), The Psychology of Conflict and Conflict Management in Organizations, Abington, UK: Taylor & Francis ,2007.
3. McKenzie, D., "The Role of Mediation in Resolving Workplace Relationship Conflict," International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 2015, 39, 52-59.