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Healthier Workplaces

Workplaces have rules of conduct and disciplinary processes to deal with violations of those rules. Restorative justice processes are being used as an alternative to more conventional adjudicatory hearings. These are articles and resources on the use of restorative justice in the workplace.

Restorative justice could be answer to doping problem
from Kurt Streeter's column in the LA Times sports section: We've tried blame. We've tried shame. We've tried hard punishment. But on the doping-in-sports front, we're making very little real progress. Suspicion still reigns. Chemists remain ahead of the testers. Every other week there's a new bust. We've hit a wall. There are the athletes who get caught and then, invariably, smile and smirk, duck and dodge, taking as little responsibility as possible. There are those, like me, who feel moral outrage -- that altering the body this way should never be condoned. Our voices are growing faint. There are the hordes who've begun to tune out the whole issue despite feeling, deep in the gut, that something is really wrong: that our games, and by extension society, have been tarnished by widespread doping. Let's try a new approach. It's time to seek higher ground: accountability, responsibility -- and yes, forgiveness....
Policansky, Sandy. Workplace conflict resolution--issues and dilemmas for practitioners
As Sandy Policansky notes, conflict is a part of all human interactions. The workplace is no exception; there are many kinds of conflicts that occur in the workplace. In this presentation, Policansky identifies some of the key issues and dilemmas that mediators face when attempting to resolve disputes in a workplace setting. In particular, she focuses on the importance of establishing the framework of the processes and ground rules before mediation; the relationship between the mediator and the organization; and the dilemma of how far the mediator can push the parties in order to reach a resolution.
Williamson, David. The Jack Manning Trilogy: Face to Face; A Conversation; Charitable Intent
This volume consists of three plays depicting the restorative conferencing process in the areas of workplace conflict and crime. It also contains an essay by the playwright on how he became interested in conferencing.
Thorsborne, M. Workplace Conferencing: An Effective Organisational Response to Transforming Workplace Conflict
While many organisations have adopted policies and procedures to deal with difficult people and situations, rarely are they able to deal effectively with the emotional impact of this harmful behaviour and its aftermath. Their attempts at problem solving often make things worse. Clever organisations, on the other hand, have understood that healthy workplace relationships are critical to job satisfaction and therefore productivity (Thorsborne, 1999). This paper will describe a process called Workplace Conferencing, which, adapted from processes used to divert juvenile offenders from court, has been used successfully as a response to cases of workplace harassment and other challenging situations which result in high levels of conflict. Brief case summaries to illustrate the use of conferencing to deal with a variety of typical scenarios have been included. (excerpt)
Hooble, Jennifer Marie. Abusive supervision in the workplace: A restorative justice perspective
In this dissertation written for a doctor of philosophy in the sphere of business and economics, Jennifer Hoobler investigates workplace aggression. More specifically, she examines one type of nonphysical workplace aggression – abusive supervision. Nonphysical workplace aggression can be expressed in verbal and passive forms, such as yelling, bullying, and humiliation. Nonphysical aggression occurs far more frequently than active violence. It can be extremely damaging – contributing eventually to physical violence, workplace stress, workforce demoralization, and problems in relationships outside the workplace. Drawing partly from social psychology in her approach, Hoobler views workplace aggression not solely as a phenomenon involving individuals. Rather, she pursues a more comprehensive investigation that takes into account the interaction of individual, cognitive, social, situational, and environmental factors. Her dissertation consists of the following sections: an introduction; a discussion of the theoretical model, a literature review, and her hypotheses; the research methods; the research results; and discussion of her findings.
Munn, Kathryn. Workplace Conferencing: A Breath of Fresh Air from Australia
Conflict occurs in the workplace as in other areas of life. The question is how to do a better job of managing workplace conflict. Kathryn Munn – an experienced mediator, arbitrator, and lawyer – writes about a promising initiative in Australia by John McDonald and David Moore. Munn attended a seminar in Toronto conducted by McDonald and Moore to explain their use of the principles of community conferencing to resolve conflicts in the workplace. In this article, she summarizes what she learned about when to use workplace conferencing, initial efforts by McDonald and Moore to use workplace conferencing, research on such conferencing, and the conferencing process.
Baron, Linda. Fourteen Months in a FEMA Field Office: A Special Kind of Community Mediation.
Mediating in FEMA was nothing like the court, community, and agency-based programs that I was familiar with. There were no intake forms, no dedicated mediation rooms, no established protocols or procedures, and no one knew much about mediation and conflict resolution. In most mediation programs, mediation is an alternative to something – an alternative to litigation, prosecution, investigation, or some other kind of more formal process. In FEMA, when workplace disputes become intolerable, someone is usually “released” (i.e., sent home). That person may eventually be deployed to another disaster, and might even find himself working next to the same person he had a conflict with in the last disaster. One of our tasks, as in any workplace mediation program, was to facilitate more satisfactory resolution of conflicts both for the present situation, and for t he future. (excerpt)
Fitzgerald, Maureen. Corporate Circles: Transforming Conflict and Building Trusting Teams.
Corporate conflict costs organizations millions of dollars in lost productivity, increased turnover and litigation. This book provides a step-by-step technique for creating conversations that resolve conflict and build trusting relations. In a Corporate Circle, teams come together in a confidential and candid conversation. Corporate Circles enable organizations to: 1) transform conflict into collaboration; 2) build trusting teams and boost morale; 3) repair damaged work relations; 4) enhance individual empathy and accountability; and 5) prevent future conflict. (publisher's abstract).
Aquino, Karl and Goodstein, Jerry. And restorative justice for all: Redemption, forgiveness, and reintegration in organizations.
We explore the topic of restorative justice in organizations. The tradition of restorative justice directs attention to the aftermath of wrongdoing. We highlight three ways offenders (making amends), victims (extending forgiveness), and organizations (fostering reintegration) restore justice in the workplace. Our paper concludes with questions for future research and inquiry. (author's abstract)
Goodstein, Jerry and Butterfield, Kenneth D. Extending the horizon of business ethics: restorative justice and the aftermath of unethical behavior.
We call for business ethics scholars to focus more attention on how individuals and organizations respond in the aftermath of unethical behavior. Insight into this issue is drawn from restorative justice, which moves beyond traditional approaches that emphasize retribution or rehabilitation to include restoring victims and other affected parties, reintegrating offenders, and facilitating moral repair in the workplace. We review relevant theoretical and empirical work in restorative justice and develop a conceptual model that highlights how this perspective can enhance theory and empirical research in business ethics. We specifically identify topic areas that we believe have particular promise for business ethics scholars to pursue. We close our paper by discussing implications of the restorative justice approach for practicing managers. (author's abstract)
Lambert, Craig and Shipley, Rebecca. How do people experience using restorative practice at work?
In May 2009 we secured two years funding from the National Lottery to undertake research into people’s experience of using restorative practice in their working environment. Two fulltime researchers were appointed by the Trust to conduct the research project using qualitative methods, such as interviews and focus groups, in order to understand and interpret how people experience the implementation and use of restorative practice in the workplace. (excerpt)
Holmes-Bonney, Kathy. Managing complaints in health and social care.
An important aspect of allowing patients to take control of their health care is the introduction of new procedures for dealing with complaints. This article examines the concepts that underpin the new Department of Health regulations on complaints management and what they will mean for health and social care professionals. It also explains why these regulations focus on restorative justice rather than blame when adverse events occur. (author's abstract)
McDermott, E. Patrick and Polkinghorn, Brian. Applying the Comprehensive Model to Workplace Mediation Research
Chapter 2 of this book presents a comprehensive model of mediation based on a descriptive review spanning more than four decades of research on interpersonal conflict. The model clearly synthesizes mediation research, as well as different theoretical lenses and various contexts where mediation is practiced at the interpersonal level. In this chapter we will apply, compare, and examine how the comprehensive model provides a frame that examines workplace conflict and our research on the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s mediation program. Our primary focus will be on research results from the first two of three studies conducted by the research team at the Center for Conflict Resolution at Salisbury University on the EEOC mediation program. The first study examines participant perceptions of the EEOC mediation process. The second, companion study focuses on the mediators’ perspectives on the process, while a third study focuses on why employers decline an offer to mediate. It is worth noting that these three research projects were conducted long before the comprehensive model was developed, and yet there is a good deal of congruence. This chapter also demonstrates a variety of ways to examine the model and, as a result, add new information, constructs, and theoretical ideas. (excerpt)
Costello, Bob and O'Connell, Terry. Restorative Practices in the Workplace
This presentation provides a practical insight into the use of restorative practices in workplaces. It will show how restorative practices, when located within a sound relational framework, have the capacity to change the way workplaces deal with those tensions which potentially, undermine mutual trust and cooperation. Given that we spend so much of our time at work, we need to be conscious of what builds effective workplace relationships. Modeling restorative practices in all our workplace interactions - informally or formally - will make a positive contribution to relationships because their emphasis is directed at satifying the principles of fair process. Individuals are then likely to feel valued, and contribute in constructive and responsive ways. For supervisors and managers, restorative approaches around tensions and workplace difficulties can provide the sort of modelling which engenders trust and commitment. It also provides ways of identifying and resolving early, those difficulties which historically have the potential to escalate. Author's abstract
Reynolds, Carl.. "Workplace mediation."
While there are varying emphases among different people in defining mediation, Reynolds holds mediation to be a process in which a neutral third party assists contending parties to achieve their own resolution of their dispute. In the United Kingdom, mediation has increasingly been extended into the workplace. Relating this development to limitations of traditional grievance and disciplinary procedures, Reynolds summarizes the emergence of mediation in the workplace. He then uses specific examples to show actual schemes for workplace mediation. The chapter also includes recommendations for setting up a workplace mediation system.
Noonan, Francis. The ACAS approach to employment dispute resolution
With respect to the United Kingdom, Noonan observes that the current approach of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to employment dispute resolution is rooted in employer-trade union interactions in the nineteenth century. ACAS exists to offer neutral, third party services to prevent and resolve workplace disputes. In this chapter Noonan details how ACAS provides such services. With this in mind, and using certain case examples, he presents definitions and discussions of matters such as collective and individual conciliation, arbitration, and advisory mediation.
Moore, David B. "Transformation in the Workplace: Affect and Script in the Business World."
Presents the work of Transformative Justice of Australia one year into the Australian trial of workplace conferencing, a process of transformative justice developed for application in the corporate sector.
Thorsborne, Margaret. Beyond punishment - workplace conferencing: an effective organisational response to incidents of workplace bullying
More and more organisations have policies and procedures to deal with difficult situations such as workplace bullying. While they may appear to be procedurally fair, rarely are they able to deal effectively with the emotional impact of the harmful behaviour and its aftermath. The Workplace Conference is a process designed to bring together those most affected by this destructive behaviour to come to some agreement about how to repair the harm and how to go forward. This innovative approach to transforming conflict has its origins in the justice system as a means for dealing more effectively with offending behaviour and its impact on victims. It has been used more recently, and with great success, across a wide range of industries, government and non-government sectors, and large and small businesses. This paper will examine the philosophy, practice and theory of this extremely effective process. (excerpt)
Thorsborne, Margaret. Workplace conferencing: an effective organisational response to transforming workplace conflict
While many organisations have adopted policies and procedures to deal with difficult people and situations, rarely are they able to deal effectively with the emotional impact of this harmful behavior and its aftermath. Their attempts at problem solving often make things worse. Clever organisations, on the other hand, have understood that healthy workplace relationships are critical to job satisfaction and therefore productivity (Thorsborne, 1999). This paper will describe a process called Workplace Conferencing, which, adapted from processes used to divert juvenile offenders from court, has been used successfully as a response to cases of workplace harassment and other challenging situations which result in high levels of conflict. Brief case summaries to illustrate the use of conferencing to deal with a variety of typical scenarios have been included. (excerpt)
Amanda E. Lueders. YOU'LL NEED MORE THAN A VOLTAGE CONVERTER: PLUGGING EUROPEAN WORKPLACE BULLYING LAWS INTO THE AMERICAN JURISPRUDENTIAL OUTLET
Section III highlights the ways in which Europe handles bullying within its legal framework, emphasizing the importance of alternative dispute resolution(ADR) in the cultures in which anti-bullying laws have established a foothold...The Targets of Anti-Bullying Legislation. Before one can properly discuss the prudence of employment bullying legislation or recommend a process by which a nation should implement such legislation, one must first understand what employment bullying is and what it is not...A Brief Introduction to Alternative Dispute Resolution. Alternative dispute resolution(ADR) is a method by which disputants resolve their conflicts outside the courtroom through the means of settlement negotiations, facilitation,mediation,fact-finding,mini-trials,and arbitration. ...The Healthy Workplace Bill and What it Lacks Professor David Yamada, the academic father of anti-bullying legislation in America,has crafted a model Healthy Workplace Bill to address the phenomenon of workplace bullying ...Legislative Findings The Legislature finds that: .the social and economic well-being of the State is dependent upon healthy and productive employees; . surveys and studies have documented between 16 and 21 percent of employees directly experience health-endangering workplace bullying,abuse and harassment,and that this behavior is four times more prevalent than sexual harassment alone; . surveys and studies have documented that abusive work environments can have serious and even devastating effects on tageted employees, including feelings of shame and humiliation,stress,loss of sleep,severe anxiety,depression,post-traumatic stress disorder,suicidal tendencies,reduced immunity to infection,stress-related gastrointestinal disorders,hypertension and pathophysiologic changes that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. .surveys and studies have documented that abusive work environments can have serious consequences for employers,including reduced employee productivty and morale,higher turnover and absenteeism rates,and significant increases in medical and workers' compensation claims; . unless mistreatwd employees have been subjected to abusive treatment at work on the basis of race,color,national origin or age, they are unlikely to have legal recourse to redress such treatment; .legal protection from abusive work environments should not be limited to behavior grounded in protected class status as that provided for under employment discrimination statutes;and,.existing workers' compensation plans and common-law tort actions are inadequate to discourage this behavior or to provide adequate redress to employees who have been harmed by abusive work environments.

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Restorative Justice Online - Featured Video

A long-time repeat offender describes the impact of meeting with his victims.