March 2016

Houston Arbitration Mediator 2Conflict Resolution and Ethics

Resolution of a conflict gets complicated when the conflict is rooted in a clash of values. What is first seen as a misunderstanding about the other person’s behavior can lead conflict resolution efforts into a box with no easy way out.

Companies that fail to recognize that their workforce is composed of people from diverse cultural background set themselves up to fail in the human resource arena. It is important to understand that decision-making in this type of environment brings with it behaviors that are culturally based, and sometimes those behaviors are seen as incompatible with a company’s values. As important as it is to learn about and accommodate to a reasonable degree diverse cultural perspectives, a company must build and support a corporate culture compatible with its core mission.

Managers and supervisors feel intense pressure to resolve these conflicts quickly, and look for the path that promises the quickest solution, and that is a slippery slope as this is where ethical mistakes happen. An ethical failure or mistake that results from a poor conflict resolution process often has adverse consequences that are more damaging than the parties realize. Conflicts that are handled badly can have financial consequences, but poor conflict resolution efforts that produce ethical failures or lapses can have both financial and legal consequences for the company and the employees.

The ground rules necessary to resolve conflicts in many situations are based on a company’s core values, and one of the important rules is direct and clear communication. How is this rule or any of the other rules applied in your company? Do you have a consistent methodology for communicating important information? If you have questions, please visit us at, or call us at 832-452-8537.

Food for Thought: You do not solve productivity or quality issues by avoiding conflict because unresolved conflict creates barriers to progress.

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