Conflict Resolution’s Top Five Careers

by Legal Author on June 22, 2012

Amy Kealy - SelfDesign High Mentor and AdministratorBelow is a legal blog post regarding 5 potential careers in conflict resolution.

Conflict resolution as a skill is much in demand these days, due in most part to the ever increasing importance of communication on a global scale. Sometimes referred to as alternative dispute resolution, conflict resolution is at the core of many high powered careers in law, government, education and business. Different entities decide to engage in conflict resolution simply because the alternative can be destructive and very expensive to pursue in a full legal battle. Conflict resolvers generally act as neutral parties, working to mediate, providing arbitration, conciliation and consensus building.

The Contract Manager as Mediator

A good example of a mediator would be a contract manager, whose job it is to facilitate communication between parties such as employers and employees, or vendors and customers, negotiating, documenting and amending contracts made between them. This contract management may be long term and go through a number of phases, so the ability to maintain communication and reach a resolution is vital. Depending on your specialism, you may work in business relations, large scale school administration and labor disputes and work on utility contracts, letters of employment, sales orders and invoices.

The Diplomat as Conciliator

Working in a similar way to the mediator except this time as a go-between, conciliators meet each party individually, and in doing so this lowers any pre existing tension, thus helping communication to improve. Conciliators may also help parties with considering new solutions, interpretation and technical support. Diplomats are often called in to multiple party talks to mediate or conciliate if the atmosphere is one of conflict. They also make use of the conciliation process to safeguard their country’s interests.

The Lawyer as Arbiter

While lawyers may make use of mediation and conciliation, negotiating agreements to avoid a lengthy trial process, sometimes this is inevitable. Arbitration is the final stage before involving the courts and is not voluntary, unlike mediation and conciliation. If arbitration fails or is not possible, lawyers may then need to turn to the courts where an adjudicator hears both sides of the issue and makes a ruling. This is an expensive and often drawn out process which conflict resolution aims to avoid. If anything, court cases exacerbate existing conflicts and tensions.

The School System Administrator

In systems where there are a large number of different stakeholders involved, having a skilled mediator is of great significance. Juggling the needs of students, parents, teachers, administrators, school councils and education departments is a truly dynamic and challenging task. Being able to resolve conflicts involving so many opinions requires advanced communication skills and diplomacy.

The Ombudsman

An ombudsman is often brought in to investigate and resolve conflicts or complaints, working on an individual or systemic level. Helping to interpret laws, explain rights and define concerns, the ombudsman is another example of a neutral conflict resolution role.

Conflict resolution plays an important part of many different jobs and careers, though some are involved on a daily basis. IF you are looking to enter the field, you would definitely need formal qualifications and a master’s degree would be highly recommended.

Sarah Ellis writes for several higher ed blogs nationwide. To read more about conflict resolution programs online click here.

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