The University of Texas at Dallas counts on all employees to work together cooperatively to ensure the successful mission of the University. The University also recognizes that employees will sometimes experience workplace conflict which, if unresolved, is detrimental to the employee and the University. It is understood that in any organization, conditions will develop and misunderstandings will arise. In most cases, such problems and differences can be settled as part of the day-to-day routine. Sometimes, however the conflict will not go away. If unresolved, the conflict impacts employee morale, productivity and the positive environment we all need in order to do our jobs effectively.
The University of Texas at Dallas is committed to creating a workplace culture characterized by respect and dignity for all University employees. Employee Relations staff provide assistance and consultation designed to identify and resolve workplace conflicts. The resolution process used at UT Dallas is described below.Conflict Resolution Process
Conflict resolution is a process where parties in conflict (e.g.: employee to employee, employee to supervisor, or department to department) work in a mutual effort to understand and resolve the conflict in an appropriate and professional manner. Some employees opt for a grievance process as a means of settling conflict and interpersonal differences. However, the conflict resolution process described here, also known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADRAlternative Dispute Resolution), takes a different path —which participants often say is more satisfying than the grievance process.
Employee Relations staff are available to work with employees, supervisors and departments to facilitate formal or informal discussions designed to clarify issues, improve communication, repair misunderstandings and restore productivity.
Some conflicts require a more focused and formal kind of facilitation, known as mediation. In mediation, the parties in conflict agree to meet with a trained mediator. Each party retains decision making authority and is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the mediation. The mediator manages the process. The mediator is neutral and has no vested interest other than helping the parties work toward a mutually acceptable outcome. The mediator guides the process so the principal parties can explore issues, express feelings, discuss interests and identify possible solutions. Mediators are not judges or arbitrators. They work impartially to help both parties reach a mutually acceptable resolution to the conflict. The goals are the same as in facilitation with one exception. Once the conflict is mediated, both parties will sign a formal mediation agreement. This agreement serves as a declaration of their commitment to honor the agreement reached in the mediation and to move forward in a productive and professional way.
Successful conflict resolution begins with the awareness that conflict exists and previous efforts to ignore or address it have failed. Ideally, this awareness takes place on both sides of the conflict. Successful resolution requires both parties to be open and honest about the conflict and be willing to negotiate in good faith.
In addition to facilitation and mediation services, Employee Relations staff conducts periodic classes and seminars on the topic of conflict management and resolution. If you have questions or desire more information about any of these services, please contact Employee Relations staff.