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Curtin University
Ethics Equity and Social Justice

Conflict Management Services

Conflict is a normal and welcomed part of a highly diverse working and learning environment. It is critical for effective engagement, learning and innovation. Conflicts and multiple perspectives, therefore, are fundamental to a university which values and aspires to excellence and impact. The challenge is to proactively approach and manage conflict respectfully, courageously and effectively, and to prevent unhelpful conflict escalation.

The EESJ Services team can assist Curtin staff to resolve conflict at the earliest possible time and at the lowest appropriate management level, so that the negative effects of conflict are minimised. Conflict management services can enhance productivity and effectiveness associated with internal working and learning relationships through a variety of strategies that are selected and adapted to meet the specific needs of our clients. All activities focus on developing behavioural and communication strategies that facilitate effective and efficient working and learning relationships. We will work with you to maximise the opportunities for healthy and proactive conflict management, and to minimise harm associated with conflict escalation in the workplace. 

These services may be particularly helpful if you are:

  • Managing or experiencing change or uncertainty, which may cause some distress or conflict in the workplace.
  • Managing or experiencing a conflict that is having a negative effect on your, or others’ work.
  • Managing or experiencing workplace conflict arising out of a complaint.
  • Wanting to develop skills and strategies to effectively engage with and manage workplace conflict.
  • Wanting to work together as a team to address existing issues and/or prepare for future challenges.

Conflict management coaching

Conflict management coaching is a one-on-one, voluntary, private, future-focused process in which a conflict management coach supports and assists you to understand and improve the way you manage conflict. The coach works with you to identify goals, explore options, consider alternatives and develop practical solutions for managing and resolving conflict. 

Coaches do not provide counselling and do not replace legal, medical or other services.

Mediation

Mediation is a structured, voluntary, private and future-focused problem solving process. The role of the mediator is to guide parties through a structured process to identify disputed issues, develop options, consider alternatives and reach an agreement about the future. The mediator is impartial and evenhanded; their role is limited to facilitating communication and guiding the process. Mediators do not provide advice or make decisions about who is right or wrong, or what should be done to resolve the conflict.

Mediation provides you with an opportunity to safely discuss what has happened, and to collaboratively make decisions about what you’d like for the future. It offers a means to reduce tensions by enabling you to clarify the causes of conflict escalation, identify how to prevent future escalation and enhance your working relationship.

Facilitated discussion

Facilitated discussions involve conversations between two or more participants, which are supported by an impartial and even-handed facilitator. The facilitator assists participants to identify objectives or issues to be discussed, consider options and alternatives, and to make decisions about future actions. Facilitated discussions are usually less formal than mediation, and often involve groups or teams.

The facilitator tracks ideas and action items and helps participants remain focused on the purpose of the conversation and on the outcomes they are hoping to achieve; the facilitator also works with participants to reality-test and record agreements, action points and decisions.

Staff development sessions

EESJ Services specialise in facilitating interactive workshops on a variety of conflict management topics, including communication, collaborative negotiation, conducting difficult and meaningful conversations, conflict management strategies and more.

Workshops are customised to the specific needs of the group and focus on empowering teams to work productively and collaboratively through conflict. Providing your team with a toolkit and joint language to manage conflict can increase your team’s awareness and resilience, facilitating early identification and productive conversations about conflict which help you to manage it together more effectively.