S O C A L   D R C   D I S P U T E   M E D I A T I O N   R E S O L U T I O N   G U I D E                                                                             

Mediation emerged on the industrial relations landscape in the late 1980s due to a number of economic and political factors, which then induced managerial initiatives. These changes have come from the implementation of human resource management policies and practices, which focuses on the individual worker, and rejects all other third parties such as unions. The decline of unionism and the encouragement of individualization in the workplace have encouraged the growth of private mediations. This is demonstrated in the industries with the lowest union rates such as in the private business sector having the greatest growth of mediation.

Workplace conflicts can cover a great variety of disputes. For example disputes between staff members, allegations of harassment, contractual disputes relating to the terms and conditions of employment and workers-compensation claims. At large, workplace disputes are between people who have an ongoing working relationship within a closed system, which indicate that mediation would be appropriate as a means of a dispute resolution process. However in organizations there are many complex relationships, involving hierarchy, job security and competitiveness that make mediation a difficult task.

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