1. When commenting on mediation and the mediator’s role, UNT’s Professor Emeritus Elvis Stephens, argues that if the disputing parties are seeking “justice,” ‘It’s best to go somewhere else.’ Why do you think he can make such a statement? (Note: As part of your answer; please comment on the nature of the mediator’s job vs. the arbitrator’s job.)
When two parties are seeking justice, the conflict is often emotionally charged. This could best be described as a relationship conflict in which the participants are more likely to see the conflict as personal attacks rather than an attempt to address an issue (p. 314). Since a mediator guides the conflict resolution process, but has no control over the actual resolution, there is little chance the mediator is going to have any success in such a situation. An arbitrator, on the other hand, does make a final decision and does have a chance to resolve the conflict. As Professor Stephens suggests, this is a situation that mediator should avoid, but an arbitrator should not.
2. In reading about Organizational Conflict issues in Chapter 11, it is clear that ‘our theory of conflict’ suggest there are positive as well as negative results from conflict situations. Have you observes both positive and negative results from conflict from your workplace? Share with the class the types of results you have observed from conflict situations; did you consider the outcomes positive or negative?
I worked for a while in a place where many of the decisions seemed to be driven by conflict between two senior managers. Every day we would hear about shouting matches between these two. This dynamic was exceptionally interesting as one of the managers definitely outranked the other. This was an excellent example of task conflict versus relationship conflict. These two would argue over almost every decision the company needed to make, but neither of them ever took these arguments personally. They had worked together for many years and had the sort of cohesion that allowed them to separate business from personal. Although there were positive results from these conflicts, it was obvious that the constant conflict was draining on the senior of the two. In hindsight, the conflict itself was probably not problematic, but the resolution of the conflict could have been more professional (and thus less draining on the participants).
3. “Who is an employee,” what a simple question. We know, however, simple questions often have very complex answers. After listening/reading our Lesson 11 media story, you will know about one of the ‘big and complex’ questions on university campuses. Is there any material in Chapter 14 that would help university managers as they attempt to answer the questions around, “Who is and who is not an employee of the university?” (Perhaps, concepts in other chapters are more directly connected to the topic—if so, use that material in your answer.)
The question of student-athletes and their involvement with the university is clearly a sticky issue. It seems clear though that athletes, especially those on scholarship, are being rewarded for their service to the university. As we’ve seen in our reading (p. 158), this clearly seems to indicate an employee relationship. Obviously, the crux of this issue is that allowing players to unionize gives them a power within the university that they do not currently have. Considering how profitable some college football programs are for their universities, this could be particularly damaging.