This page includes articles (from 1980 to the present, in reverse chronological order) about conflict management system (CMS) design. Taken together, the elements of a well-designed CMS provide sturdy support for orderly and constructive “voice” for every person who works in an organization. A systems approach helps an organization manage risk by providing each constituent with options for dealing with unacceptable behavior or offering new ideas. That is, by reducing the risk a member of the organization faces when speaking up about unacceptable behavior or suggesting new ideas, the organization will be more likely to have the information it needs to manage its own risks. Topics include:
» provision of both informal and formal options—for all employees and managers and other constituents—to raise any work-related concern;
» the need for a choice of options about most concerns, with multiple access points for complainants;
» the importance of providing a zero-barrier option in the CMS (such as an organizational ombuds) to reduce the risks that members of the organization (including bystanders) may face in raising concerns and good ideas;
» a self-help guide for ombuds office constituents (including bystanders) about how to consider taking action about harassment, abuse, and bullying;
» coordination of the informal and formal complaint-handling options provided by various organizational structures in an integrated conflict management system (ICMS);
» an example of an informal coordination structure (“Portia”) for an ICMS; and
» ideas about how to analyze the functions provided in an existing conflict management system by various offices and line management.
- “Consider Generic Options When Complainants and Bystanders Are Fearful.” Rowe, Mary. Journal of the International Ombudsman Association Vol. 16, Issue 3. (Note: a generic option is one where an issue can be addressed without naming or involving the individuals involved in a concern.)
- “Bystanders: ‘See Something, Say Something’ Is Not Enough.” Rowe, Mary P. Alternatives to the High Cost of Litigation Vol. 39, No. 10 (November 2021): 153-165. (Note: This article is an expansion of “Supporting Bystanders: See Something, Say Something is Not Enough.” Rowe, Mary. MIT Sloan Working Paper 5897-20. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan School of Management, January 2020. The article discusses the need for a zero-barrier office in a CMS to make it less risky for bystanders to offer information in serious cases.)
- "If You Have Been Harassed or Bullied: Some Ideas to Consider." Rowe, Mary. MIT Sloan Working Paper 5388-18. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan School of Management, September 2021.
- “A Questionnaire for Analyzing your Conflict Management System Based on the Functions Needed in a Conflict Management System.” Rowe, Mary P. (Note: There are also two related tables (each called Analyzing Your Conflict Management System) that will help in this analysis of your organizational system: there is a representative table and a table with blanks to fill in.)
- "Organizational Ombudsman." Rowe, Mary, and Randy Williams. In Cutting Edge Advances in Resolving Workplace Disputes, 97-111. New York, NY: The International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, 2014. (Note: This chapter includes a table comparing the ombuds office with other offices in an organization.)
- “The Organizational Ombudsman.” Rowe, Mary and Howard Gadlin. In The Oxford Handbook of Conflict Management in Organizations, edited by William K. Roche, Paul Teague, and Alexander J.S. Colvin. Oxford University Press, 2014.
- “Portia: It is Not a ‘Crisis Committee,’ But One Might Want a ‘Portia’ Anyway.” Rowe, Mary. Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds Vol. 10, Issue 1 (2013): 22-27.
- "An Organizational Ombuds Office In a System for Dealing with Conflict and Learning from Conflict, or ‘Conflict Management System.'" Rowe, Mary. Harvard Negotiation Law Review Vol. 14 (2009): 279-288.
- “Systems for Dealing with Conflict and Learning from Conflict—Options for Complaint-Handling: An Illustrative Case.” Bloch, Brian, David Miller, and Mary Rowe. Harvard Negotiation Law Review Vol. 14 (2009): 239-247.
- “Organizational Systems for Dealing with Conflict & Learning from Conflict: Introduction.” Rowe, Mary. Harvard Negotiation Law Review Vol. 14 (2009): 233-239.
- “Dealing with—or Reporting—‘Unacceptable’ Behavior” (PDF). Rowe, Mary, Linda Wilcox, and Howard Gadlin. Journal of the International Ombudsman Association Vol. 2, No. 1 (Winter 2009). (Note: This article includes a discussion of the myriad reasons why people hesitate to act.)
- "Comment” in “Why Didn’t We Know?" Hasson, Ralph. Harvard Business Review Vol. 85, No. 4 (April 2007): 42.
- "Workplace Justice, Zero Tolerance, and Zero Barriers." Rowe, Mary and Corinne Bendersky. In Negotiations and Change: From the Workplace to Society, edited by Thomas A. Kochan and David B. Lipsky, 117-138. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003. (Note: This article explains why zero tolerance policies sharply increase the need for a zero-barrier office.)
- “Designing Integrated Conflict Management Systems: Guidelines for Practitioners and Decision Makers in Organizations.” Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution ADR in the Workplace Initiative Committee. Members: Ann Gosline, Co-Chair; Lamont Stallworth, Co-Chair; Myrna C. Adams; Notman Brand; Cynthia J. Hallberlin; Carole Schneider Houk; David B. Lipsky; Jennifer Lynch; Nancy E. Peace; Mary Rowe; and Anne Thomas. Cornell Studies in Conflict and Dispute Resolution, No. 4. Ithaca, NY: Cornell/PERC Institute on Conflict Resolution and Washington, DC: Association for Conflict Resolution.
- "Dispute Resolution in the Non-union Environment: An Evolution Toward Integrated Systems for Conflict Management?" Rowe, Mary. In Workplace Dispute Resolution, edited by Sandra Gleason, 79-106. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1997.
- "An Effective, Integrated Complaint Resolution System." Rowe, Mary. P. In Sexual Harassment on Campus: A Guide for Administrators, Faculty, and Students, edited by Bernice R. Sandler and Robert J. Shoop, 22-49. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1996.
- "Dealing with Harassment: A Systems Approach." Rowe, Mary P. In Sexual Harassment: Perspectives, Frontiers, and Response Strategies, edited by Margaret S. Stockdale, 241-271. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1996.
- “The Post-Tailhook Navy Designs an Integrated Dispute Resolution System.” Rowe, Mary P. Negotiation Journal Vol. 9, No. 3 (July 1993): 207-213.
- "Rowe Effort Commended by Navy." Ball, Charles H. MIT Tech Talk, February 3, 1993.
- “Options and Choice for Conflict Resolution in the Workplace.” Rowe, Mary P. In Negotiation Strategies for Mutual Gain: The Basic Seminar of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, edited by Lavinia Hall, 105-119. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1993. (Note: This chapter focuses on the need for providing choices for complainants.)
- “The Ombudsman's Role in a Dispute Resolution System." Rowe, Mary P. Negotiation Journal Vol. 7, No. 4 (October 1991): 353-361. (Note: This article includes a discussion of whether “an ombuds has any power.”)
- “People Who Feel Harassed Need a Complaint System with Both Formal and Informal Options.” Rowe, Mary P. Negotiation Journal Vol. 6, No. 2 (April 1990): 161-172
- "The Ombudsman as Part of a Dispute Resolution System." Rowe, Mary P. Delivered at a Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) workshop, 1990.
- “In Pursuit of Justice.” Rowe, Mary P. Review of Justice on the Job: Resolving Grievances in the Non-Union Workplace, by David Ewing. Sloan Management Review Vol. 32, No. 1 (Fall 1990): 97-99.
- “Disputes and Conflicts inside Organizations: A Systems Approach.” Rowe, Mary P. Negotiation Journal Vol. 5, No. 2 (April 1989): 149-157. (Note: This is a review of five books.)
- "Organizational Response to Assessed Risk: Complaint Channels." Rowe, Mary P. In the Program Record of the 1988 IEEE Electro/88 Conference, Boston, MA, May 1988.
- "The Non-Union Complaint System at M.I.T.: An Upward-Feedback Mediation Model." Rowe, Mary P. Alternatives to the High Cost of Litigation Vol. 2, No. 4 (April 1984): 10-18. Reprinted in Riskin, Leonard L. and James E. Westbrook, Dispute Resolution and Lawyers, 392-404. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing, 1987. Also found in Westin, Alan F. and Alfred G. Feliu, Resolving Employment Disputes Without Litigation. BNA, 1988.
- “Are You Hearing Enough Employee Concerns?” (PDF) Rowe, Mary P. and Michael Baker. Harvard Business Review Vol. 62, No. 3 (May-June 1984): 127-136. (Note: This article provides an overview of non-union complaint systems in the US.)
- "Dispute Resolution in Scientific Settings: A Systems Approach." Rowe, Mary P. Speech prepared for the AAAS in May 1984, in a book by Michael Baker on Scientific and Technical Dispute Resolution, an edited volume of proceedings.
- "The Non-Union Grievance Procedure at MIT: An Upward-Feedback Mediation Model." Draft. Rowe, Mary P. and Clarence G. Williams, November 1980. (Note: This was one of the earliest articles about conflict management systems.)