Conflict Managed Organisations

Written by: admin on Thursday, April 18th, 2013
Article and photograph by Jon Kenfield

Article and photograph by Jon Kenfield

Conflict Management Systems are processes and procedures used by businesses and organisations to prevent, manage and resolve complaints, disputes and conflicts.

The problems range from internal workplace disputes between: (a) employees and employees; (b) employees and management and (c) management and management, to external problems with customers, clients and other stakeholders (eg: suppliers, contractors, shareholders and financiers).

Modern, best practice risk management requires all organisations, irrespective of type and size, to have appropriate and effective conflict management systems in place and working.

In many industries this is a statutory or regulatory requirement involving Codes of Conduct and official complaint bodies, such as Ombudsman Offices and Mediation Schemes, some of these being supported by Trade Practices legislation.

Professions and industries that currently enjoy self-regulation are coming under increasing pressure to establish acceptable systems, partly for self-defence against spiralling litigation risks; partly through social demand for increased consumer protection and partly as an insurance requirement to better manage inherent operating risks.

Preventing Disputes
There is no substitute for doing business well and this includes minimising the risk of getting into dispute in the first place.

Dispute prevention requires effective quality control over goods and services and effective relationship management at all levels in the organisation.  This latter is a product of appropriate processes, procedures and training that are best developed in conjunction with independent specialists, like Dispute Solutions.

Complaint Handling
Complaints are, effectively, free market feedback and should be treated as a gift from staff, customers and other stakeholders – at least they took the time to let you know how they feel about your products, services, management or workplace!

Complaint handling is the front end of a full dispute resolution system.  As first point of contact, it must be visible, accessible, user-friendly and effective.  Over 95% of all complaints and potential disputes should be inexpensively resolved at this level by using properly trained staff for informal intervention duties.

Dispute Management & Dispute Resolution
Unresolved complaints should be advanced to the next level for a more structured response, usually a form of mediation process.

If mediation fails the organisation should offer at least one further resolution stage.  This may be a form of arbitration – usually able to impose a binding decision on the organisation, but not on the complainant.

Accreditation – Conflict Managed Organisations (“CMO”)
Your business can be assessed and accredited as a CMO (“conflict managed organisation”).  Accreditation identifies your organisation as being both a good place to work and a good entity to do business with.

To gain accreditation you must have an active conflict management culture, supported by effective conflict management systems.  If you don’t have these, we can help you to qualify through design, training and implementation.

Accreditation entitles your organisation to use the CMO logo at your premises, on corporate stationery and on packaging and promotional materials – sending a powerful message about your good corporate citizenship to the world at large and effectively differentiating your organisation from its competitors.

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