Workplace bullying is a serious problem for both employees and organizations with twenty-three million Americans experiencing some form of workplace bullying within their professional work history (Seagriff, 2010). The "phenomenon of workplace bullying" has become epidemic in the workplace and organizations are now considering the potential of integrating facilitative mediation into an organization's structure and culture in order to resolve the interpersonal conflict that results from workplace bullying (Seagriff, 2010).
Workplace bullying has been defined as "repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals (or a group) directed towards an employee or a group of employees, with an intent to intimidate and create a risk to the health and safety of the employee(s)" (Seagriff, 2010). Unfortunately, as the author indicated, bullying can be manifested through non-status harassment, or discrimination, innuendo, humiliation, harming another's reputation and credibility, intimidation, and malicious isolation. If an organization ignores bullying long enough, the conflict between the bully and the person being bullied may escalate, impacting the entire workplace and placing the organization at risk of threats of litigation and workplace interpersonal stress. Seagriff (2010) recognized other effects of workplace bullying including increased sick leave, unemployment insurance claims and workers' compensation claims.
A facilitative model of mediation is often considered an effective method of mediation in the workplace environment. The facilitative model is designed to overcome conflict through active listening and the sharing of emotions. As a facilitator, the mediator promotes the flow of information between the parties, and assists them in understanding the conflict, encouraging them to closely probe the factors that led to the dispute. Therefore, as Seagriff (2010) argued, it is the mediator's role to help each person get past their feelings and beliefs about the other person. As a facilitator, the mediator is responsible to establish the pathways of communication so that the separate individuals or groups can overcome the barriers established by the conflict and explore and understand the underlying issues negatively effecting their communication.
Seagriff, B. L. (2010). Keep your lunch money: Alleviating workplace bullying with mediation. Ohio State Journal On Dispute Resolution, 25(2), 575-602.