Human Resource

7 Key Steps to Create Strategic Human Resource Management (HRM)

Strategic HRM is a method of recruiting talent and then retaining, encouraging, rewarding, and facilitating them so that both the company and the workers are clear winners at the end of the day.

In order to understand their priorities, the HR department partners with other departments in the company and then establishes viable plans that comply with both department and organisational goals and goals.

steps to create strategic human resource management

How to create efficient Strategies Human Resource Management Process?

Steps for create Strategic Human Resource Management process

To establish a strategic human resource management framework, take the following steps—

1. Identify the organisation’s priorities and objectives:

A comprehensive understanding of the organisation is the first step in the process of developing a sustainable definition of the strategic management human resource process. Look at its mission , vision, priorities, and goals and express what it aims to accomplish.

Identify both long-term and short-term growth strategies, since they will be beneficial in the implementation of an successful strategy. At the outset, the HR department should have a good vision because it would only then be able to formulate a potential strategy.

2. Measure the organisation’s HR capabilities

Any company has its employees as its backbone, and strategic HRM policies revolve around them. If you are searching for proactive measures to establish a strategic method of human resource management, then determine the organisation’s HR capabilities. You need to have a good understanding of every aspect of your company’s human resources function.

Take advantage of the inventory of expertise to consider which of the workers are specialists in their particular field and which contribute most to the achievement of organisational goals and goals. Take the assistance of a performance evaluation to test their abilities.

This phase will be a blessing for the company as it will help to recognise employees who are interested in further growth and are searching for training and development opportunities within the organisation.

3. Analyze the existing capabilities of HR

It is difficult to build a viable strategy for the future before and until the HR department is aware of the existing HR capabilities. The demand of the time is a proper evaluation as it will help to identify both opportunities and challenges on the way.

Implement a plan of action that acknowledges challenges and deals with risks. It will also lead to taking advantage of possibilities. The strategic human resource management team will recognise the best of the company’s human resources and the existing expertise they possess at this stage.

It will then provide opportunities for training and development so that employees can better fulfil organisational needs in the future.

4. Forecast the organisation’s future HR requirements

Now, the HR department has a better understanding of the company ‘s existing HR capabilities. Centered on the priorities, it is time to critically examine them.  If you are looking for proactive measures to create a strategic human resource manageent process, then now is the time to assess and project the organisation’s potential HR requirements.

Based on the number number of staff and related skills needed to meet potential organisational needs, and the number of staff and skills the company currently has to meet those needs, predict HR needs.

Forecasting will help decide if human resource skills are used at optimum potential, if the business needs to create new positions and related roles to ensure the organisation’s future and if the current HR team, its policies and practises are adequate to support future growth and development

5. Determine the required resources for fulfilling work commitments

Identify the resources necessary to accomplish job responsibilities in order to establish a SHRM process.

It is the role of the HR department to contact the relevant departments and understand how the resources are used by the workforce and have an effect on their abilities and outcomes. It is time to find gaps in instruments to promote a structured workforce so that it can be fulfilled.

6. Implement the technique of Strategic HRM

Start at the start and look for candidates with the skills defined during the strategic planning process. Organize interviews and other screening procedures to decide if the applicant is capable of managing the job position.

Employ the candidate who is the most qualified. Design an efficient curriculum for onboarding and training to direct them through the initial process.

7. Taking evaluative and remedial steps

Then take evaluative and corrective measures if you are searching for proactive steps to establish a strategic method of human resource management. Conduct a review to monitor progress and identify particular areas that require improvement.

At this time, the million-dollar question is whether the modifications allow the company to achieve its objectives. If this wasn’t the case, then it’s time to take corrective steps to address the problem.

Advantages of Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM)

As follows, the advantages of strategic HRM are :

  • SHRM helps develop a strategic plan for the future with the company’s vision in mind.
  • The importance of strategic HRM is to improve job satisfaction, and this is good for the organisation.
  • Strategic management of human resources is considered beneficial to an enterprise as it helps to recognise, understand and evaluate potential risks and opportunities that may prove crucial to the business and prove a determining factor in its success and failure at a later date.
  • For an enterprise, SHRM is considered valuable as it offers competitive intelligence that is critical in strategic planning.
  • Recruiting, cultivating and maintaining professional talent to support the company
  • For an organisation, SHRM is considered advantageous as it helps to inspire employees
  • The strategic management method in human resources helps to resolve workforce growth issues in the most possible way
  • With the aid of competence, SHRM ensures that there is a constant market surplus.
  • Strategic management of human capital is regarded advantageous because it guarantees the organisation’s maximum levels of performance and productivity.
  • SHRM enables the company to efficiently fulfil consumer needs
  • Strategic HRM offers valuable knowledge about an organisation’s internal vulnerabilities and strengths.
  • SHRM aims to provide a safe and more efficient working community.
  • Strategic HRM takes a pragmatic approach and is thus very successful in the organisation’s management of human resources.

Barriers to Strategic HRM

The Strategic HRM obstacles are as follows—

  • SHRM is a mechanism where the HR department needs to work in coordination with every department in the company. Interdepartmental dispute is regarded as one of its main obstacles
  • If the bottom line does not cooperate, SHRM faces a great deal of opposition.
  • Lack of senior management support would prove a major barrier to SHRM
  • It will prove a strong barrier to SHRM if the company has limited capital, finance and time.


Strategic HRM is a method for gaining competitive advantage and improving profitability by using HR techniques. It takes advantage of the human resources department opportunities and uses the expertise available to make the departments as well as the company stronger and more successful than ever before.

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Scope of Employee Welfare

The scope of employee Welfare cannot be limited, since it differs according to social customs and the degree of industrialization indifferent countries and at different times. They have to be elastic and flexible enough to suit the conditions of the workers, and to include all the essential prerequisites of life and the minimum basic amenities. The laws of every country highlight directions to specific application to the working class, the necessity of securing just and humane conditions of work, for them. However, what these conditions actually imply cannot be specified in rigid terms for all times and situations.

Thus, the subject of Labour Welfare is fairly wide and is not limited to anyone country, region or industry. Writers and institutions have described its scope in different ways and from different angles. The line of demarcation cannot be very precise. But what should be common is that a welfare measure should enhance the working and living conditions of the workers and their families and make their lives better worth living. In other words, Labour Welfare policies should “Enable workers to live a richer and more satisfactory life”.

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Objectives of Employee Welfare

Labour Welfare aims at the whole development of the person of the working class. The Labour Welfare Policies of any organization should keep in mind the following objectives:

  1. To increase the standard of living of the. Working class: The labourer is more prone to exploitation from the capitalists if there is no standardized way of looking after their welfare.
  2.  To make the management feel the employees are satisfied about the work and working conditions.
  3. To reduce the labour problems in the orgnisaton: There are various problems affecting the workers, problems like absenteeism, turnover ratio, indebtedness, alcoholism, etc., which make the labourer further weak both physically and psychologically. Labour Welfare looks forward to helping the labourer to overcome these problems.
  4.  To recognize human values Every person has his own personality and needs to be recognized and developed. It is in the hands of the management to shape them and help them grow. The management employs various methods to recognize each one’s worth as an individual and as an asset to the organization.
  5.  Labour Welfare helps to foster a sense of responsibiJjty in the industry: A person works both in a group and as an individual. If the person is given responsibility he will act better or else he will be only a slave to the direction of the superiors and will not show any initiative to prove his worth,
  6. Labour Welfare improves industrial relations and reduces industrial disputes: Industrial dispute in any industry is a sign of unsatisfied employees. Labour Welfare measures act as a preventive tool to most of these disputes.
  7. To retain the employees There should be fixed policies: This calls in to prepare the policies, to conduct different training programmes, to have various motivational schemes, to create interest in the job. The employees who feel secure in an organisation, backed by fixed welfare policies have less chance of looking for a job elsewhere.
  8. To show up their positive mind in the work: Positive mind refers to the development of one’s attitudes. This is to change the negative attitude into positive.
  9. To influence over other employees: This means Labour Welfare helps to change one’s personality – presentation skills, communication skills, inter-personal relationships, etc. This is best achieved when their morale is kept high by the different welfare schemes.
  10. To increase the bargaining power of the employees: Bargaining means to systematically extract something from the opponent. The better bargaining power, the better influence on the opponent. Labour welfare measures like formation of works committee, worker’s participation, Trade Union, etc., will surely help them to have better bargaining power.

Non Statutory Welfare Schemes

Many Non statutory welfare schemes may include the following schemes:

  1. Personal Health Care (Regular medical check-ups): Many businesses have facilities for comprehensive safety inspections
  2. Flexi-time: The primary purpose of the flextime program is to provide workers with the ability to work with flexible work schedules. Flexible work schedules are developed by employees and accepted by management to meet business obligations while meeting personal life needs of employees.
  3. Employee support programs: Different assistant programs are structured such as external counseling facilities so that employees or members of their immediate families can get help on various issues.
  4. Harassment Policy: To protect an employee from harassment of any sort, instructions are given for disciplinary action and also for the protection of the employee who has been grieved.
  5. Maternity & Adoption Leave: Workers can take maternity leaves or leaves for adoption. Various businesses have adopted parental leave programs.
  6. Medi-claim insurance plan: This insurance program offers sufficient medical coverage to workers for hospitalization costs due to sickness, illness or accident or pregnancy.
  7. Employee referral scheme: Worker referral scheme is introduced in many organizations to allow workers to refer friends and relatives to the company for jobs.

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Statutory Welfare Schemes

The statutory welfare schemes include the following provisions:

  1. Drinking Water: At all the working places safe hygienic drinking water should be provided.
  2. Facilities for sitting: In every organization, especially factories, suitable seating arrangements are to be provided.
  3. First aid appliances: First aid appliances are to be provided and should be readily assessable so that in case of any minor accident initial medication can be provided to the needed employee.
  4. Latrines and Urinals: A sufficient number of latrines and urinals are to be provided in the office and factory premises and are also to be maintained in a neat and clean condition.
  5. Canteen facilities: Cafeteria or canteens are to be provided by the employer so as to provide hygienic and nutritious food to the employees.
  6. Spittoons: In every work place, such as ware houses, store places, in the dock area and office premises spittoons are to be provided in convenient places and same are to be maintained in a hygienic condition.
  7. Lighting: Proper and sufficient lights are to be provided for employees so that they can work safely during the night shifts.
  8. Washing places: Adequate washing places such as bathrooms, wash basins with tap and tap on the stand pipe are provided in the port area in the vicinity of the work places.
  9. Changing rooms: Adequate changing rooms are to be provided for workers to change their cloth in the factory area and office premises. Adequate lockers are also provided to the workers to keep their clothes and belongings.
  10. Rest rooms: Adequate numbers of restrooms are provided to the workers with provisions of water supply, wash basins, toilets, bathrooms, etc.

Employee Welfare – Its Benefits and Principles

The Employee Welfare describes “efforts to provide good work-life at the workplace” “Employee welfare is a descriptive concept that encompasses different programs, incentives, and facilities that workers & employers are provided. The employer makes life worth living for workers through such generous fringe benefits.

Welfare includes all that is done to ensure employee comfort and improvement and that goes beyond wages. Social welfare contributes to maintaining employee morality and motivation so that employees can stay longer. The social welfare acts should not only have to be political but in every way. Employee welfare includes monitoring work conditions, building industrial harmony for workers and their families via health infrastructure, industrial relations, disease insurance, and accidents and unemployment.

Employee benefits encompass all of the employer’s acts aimed at delivering such facilities and services to workers, aside from compensation or wages.

Performance, safety, commitment, and happy labor force for the company are the underlying reasoning behind delivering welfare schemes. The goal of providing these facilities is to improve their working lives and to increase their living standards.

This activity comes either through a law formed by the State or through a local tradition or through a collective agreement or at the initiative of the employer:

  • To make philanthropic and paternalistic sensations known.
  • To win the loyalty of the employee and to increase his moral standards.
  • Fight against socialist ideas and unionism.
  • Strengthening secure jobs, reducing labor income and absenteeism.
  • Developing workplace performance and productivity.
  • Save yourself from high surplus taxes.
  • Goodwill and public relations enhancement.
  • Reducing the possibility of further government interference.
  • To increasing the efficacy of recruitment (because these incentives contribute to the work appeal).

Benefits of Employee Welfare

The major benefits of welfare can be summarized as follows:

  • Provide staff with improved physical and mental health and foster a safe working atmosphere.
  • Facilities such as accommodation, medical care, and schooling and leisure facilities for the families of staff help raise their living conditions. It allows staff to concentrate more on work and thereby increase productivity.
  • By having healthcare services, workers provide a stable workforce. Workers are deeply involved in their roles and work with a sense of engagement.
  • The welfare measures of employees increase organizational productivity and promote sound industrial relations, maintaining industrial peace.
  • The welfare policies are raising the social evils prevalent among work such as drug abuse, etc.

Principles of Employee Welfare Schemes:

In general, the principles to be followed in establishing a welfare service for employees are:

  • The service should meet the workers’ real needs. This means that the manager must first determine with active involvement by the employees what the true needs of the employee are.
  • A cafeteria will be used to manage the operation. Benefits are significantly different due to their variations in sex, age, marital status, the number of children, the nature of the job, and the amount of wages for workers. This is known as the cafeteria Approach. The value method is individualized under such an approach, though procedures and administration can be challenging.
  • The employer should not take a caring position.
  • The cost and funding of the operation should be measured in a reasonable manner.
  • A periodic review of the service should be carried out, and input should be received in a timely manner.

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Human Resource Management

This article is on HRM or Human Resource Management in an Organization. Employees are the organization’s main assets. HRM or Human Resource Management focuses on hiring, training, managing, analyzing performance appraisal, dispute settlement or grievance handling, and giving direction to the employees of the organization. Human Resource Management role is to tackle grievances related to the employees such as compensation, recruiting, performance appraisal, growth of organizations, welfare, benefits, engagement of staff, communication, administration, training, and retention. HRM also helps to shape the community and climate of individuals and of the workplace.

Good or Efficient HRM

Good HRM or Human Resource Management allows employees to perform efficiently and productively for the success of the organization and to achieving the goals and objectives of the organization. It is expected that HRM will bring value to employee strategic efficiency and that employee services will affect the company in tangible ways. HRM’s new role involves strategic direction and measurements for proving value. HRM contributes to organizational development by attaining optimum efficiency.

Duties of HRM

The duties of human resources administration shall be as follows:

Human Resource Planning

Human Resource Planning is known as the method of predicting the potential demand and supply of an enterprise in the right number for the right category of people.

Job Analysis

Job Analysis is the method of researching and collecting knowledge about the activities and obligations of a specific work. Job analysis includes job specifications and job description.


Recruitment is the method of identifying and recruiting qualified job applicants. The cycle starts as new hires are found and finish as they submit their applications. The outcome is a pool of applicants who selects new employees from.


Selection is the method of distinguishing between candidates in order to classify (and hire) those who are more likely to succeed in a job.


Placement is known as allocating people to jobs. This is an employee’s promotion or reassignment to a new position or another position.

Training and development

Training is provided to enhance the current or potential performance of employees through improving the capacity of an employee to succeed by training, usually through modifying the attitude of the employee or improving knowledge, working attitude, and skills. Need for Training and Development (T&D) defined by the performance deficiency of the employee, measured as follows:

Training Need = Standard performance-Actual performance


Compensation that an employee receives for his or her work and targets achieved for the growth of the organization.


Motivation begins by appreciating employees to perform well. It can be in the form of monetary and nonmonetary benefits.

Participative management

Employees’ participation can be taken widely to include all terms of the interaction of employees and their superiors in the decision-making process, ranging from knowledge exchange, meetings, decisions, and agreements to more institutionalized ways such as the involvement of staff on management boards or supervisory boards.


Communication is the Information flow in the organization. This can be a transfer of information through HR and various departments. Communication is necessary for the effective working of the organization.

Safety and health

The company has to take measures for the safety of its employees. The company has to provide safety equipment and materials for the employees working in a risk condition.  The HRM is focused on healthier jobs and health care to ensure better health employees.


The Employee Welfare describes “efforts to provide good work-life at the workplace” “Employee welfare is a descriptive concept that encompasses different programs, incentives, and facilities that workers & employers are provided. The employer makes life worth living for workers through such generous fringe benefits.


Transfer entails a shift in an employee’s job (accompanied by a shift in the place of work) without adjusting the duties or compensation.


Employers are separated by lay-offs, resignations, and dismissals.

Employee Relations

Employee relations is concerned with the processes, rules, and procedures that trade unions and employers use to establish the compensation for contribution and other employment conditions, to safeguard the right of workers and their employers and to control how employers handle their workers.

Disputes and their settlement

Labor disputes are any disputes or discrepancies between employers and employees.

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Define : Grievance

Defining a grievance is very difficult. However, personnel experts have tried to differentiate between dissatisfaction, complaint, and grievance. In general, dissatisfaction in any form declared orally between employees is known as a complaint. A grievance is often related to work and is reported to the management’s attention. Often this meaning is changed to include the fact that a complaint should be in writing and not orally communicated.


In a broader sense, some organizations understand the word grievance; they insist that a complaint should be processed through normal channels of the grievance procedure. Consequently, the term grievance has been described differently by various authorities and authors. For example, Dale Yoder defines it as “a written complaint lodged by an employee and alleging unfair treatment.” And Keith Davis defines it as “any actual or perceived feeling of personal injustice that an employee has in relation to his employment relationship.”

According to Jucius, “a grievance is any dissatisfaction expressed or not, valid or not valid, arising from anything related to the organization that an employee believes or even feels unfair.” Pigors and Myers identified that terms – dissatisfaction, grievance, and complaint – clearly indicate the type and level of dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction is, they say, anything that disturbs an employee, whether he expresses it in words or not. A complaint is a spoken or written dissatisfaction that is brought to the attention of representatives of the management or the trade union.

A grievance is simply a complaint that can be ignored, over-ridden or, dismissed without consideration; and the employee feels an injustice has been done, especially when the complaint was submitted in writing to a manager or to a trade union official. Beach has described a grievance as “any frustration or injustice feeling related to work and is brought for attention of management.” Often a grievance is characterized as “Anything an employee thinks or feels wrong and is typically followed by an aggressively disturbing feeling.” It (grievance) is usually more formal than a complaint in character.

It can be valid and must grow out of something connected with the operations or policies of companies. This may have an explanation or modification of the labor contract provisions. According to International Labor Organization (ILO) grievance is “a complaint by one or more workers regarding wages, allowances, working conditions and the interpretation of service-related issues, covering areas such as overtime, transfer, leave, promotion, job assignment, seniority, and termination of service.”

On an analysis of these different definitions, it may be noted that “Grievance” is a word that covers dissatisfaction and has one or more characteristics as follows:

  • It may be explicitly reported or unvoiced by an employer;
  • Could be either written or verbal;
  • It may be valid and legitimate, false or altogether false, or ridiculous, and
  • It may come from something relevant to the company or the job In other words, grievances are feelings, sometimes real, sometimes imagined, that an employee may have in relation to his situation in employment. Whenever there’s some tension among workers, it’s bound to lead to chaos that can very adversely affect management interests.

Grievances typically give rise to unhappiness, anger, disappointment, job indifference, poor morale; and eventually contribute to worker inefficiency and low productivity. Therefore, a personal administrator will see to it that complaints are remedied as soon as possible, dropping which can shake the entire edifice of the organization. He needs to learn and understand the reasons behind complaints, and how they can be addressed. He will assist the foreman and boss as well as other line staff members in ensuring they resolve disputes properly.

Grievance Procedure

When a grievance is brought to an employer’s attention, the employer usually has a formal means to address the employee ‘s concerns and attempt to reach a resolution. Usually called this formal means the grievance procedure. The collective bargaining arrangement in effect for unionized workers usually includes a specification of how disputes, such as the use of arbitration or mediation, should be treated. Many non-union employers often have structured processes for managing complaints and grievances from workers. The grievance procedure that is in place may be unique to the organization, but often a series of steps will be followed to try to get resolution.

For example, many grievance procedures begin by identifying where the grievance of the employee has to be started, such as with the direct supervisor of the employee, who must then meet with the union rep to decide whether the grievance is legitimate (i.e., they determine whether the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement are being breached or misapplied). Of course, this is just an example, but it’s often how grievance proceedings begin; it could be different in your workplace. In our example, they may take steps to resolve it after the supervisor and the union representative meet and agree that the grievance is valid. Even after that, the employee remains dissatisfied things might need to be escalated.

Again, collective bargaining agreements generally have specific steps outlining the exact procedure to be followed when a grievance is filed – and even non-union workplaces often have formal systems for handling and resolving complaints from employees. collective bargaining agreements can be helpful for both parties to have a formal grievance handling and resolution procedure. collective bargaining agreements define the way to report complaints and seek suitable resolutions without having recourse to lawsuits. This offers employers the ability to settle conflicts before litigation takes the shape of such problems.

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Need of Grievance Procedure

Without an analysis of their nature and pattern, the causes of employee dissatisfaction cannot be removed. The personnel administrator of an organization should go into the details of the grievances and find out the best possible methods of settling them. He should help the top management and the line managers; particularly foreman and supervisors, in the formulation and implementation of the policies, programmers and procedures, which would best enable them to settle employee grievances. These policies, programmers and procedures are generally known as the Grievance settlement.The grievance procedure is a problem solving, dispute-settling machinery which has been set up following an agreement to that effect or an employee makes and processes his claim that there has been a violation of the labour agreement by the company.

The grievances settlement procedure is a device by which grievances are settled, generally to the satisfaction of the trade union or employees and the management. This procedure is an important part of labour relations. It is essential, whether a plant is an organized one or not. The grievance machinery enables a management to detect any defector flaws in the working conditions or in labour relations, and undertake suitable corrective measures. If good morale and a code of discipline are to be maintained, it is essential that the grievance procedure is worked honestly and without prejudice, failing which there is likely to be an explosion, and production schedules would be shattered and the morale of the employees would be irrelatively impaired. A grievance procedure is essential because it brings uniformity in the handling of grievances. It gives confidence to the worker, for if he does not get a fair deal, he knows what to do and whom to approach to ensure that he does get justice.

The adoption of the grievance handling procedure is essential for a variety of reasons. For example:

  •  Most grievances seriously disturb the employees. This may affect their morale, productivity and their willingness to co-operative with the organization. If an explosive situation develops, this can be promptly attended to if a grievance handling procedure is already in existence.
  • It is not possible that all the complaints of the employee would be settled by first-line supervisors, for these supervisors may not have had a proper training for the purpose, and they may lack authority. Moreover, there may be personality conflicts and other causes as well.
  • It serves as a check on the arbitrary action of the management because supervisors know that employees are likely to see to it that their protest does reach the higher management.

It serves an outlet for employee gripes, discontent and frustrations. It acts like a pressure valve on a steam boiler. The employees are entitled to legislative, executive and judicial protection and they get this protection from the Grievance Settlement, which also acts as a means of upward communication. The top management becomes increasingly aware of employee problems, expectations and frustrations. It becomes sensitive to their needs, and cares for their well-being. This is why the management, while formulating plans that might affect the employees- for example, plant expansion or modification, the installation of labour-saving devices, and so on, should take into consideration the impact that such plans might have on the employees.

The management has complete authority to operate the business as it sees fit-subject, of course, to its legal and moral obligations and the contracts it has entered into with its workers or their representative trade union. But if the trade union or the employees do not like the way the management functions, they can submit their grievances in accordance with the procedure laid down for that purpose.

A well-designed and a proper grievance procedure provides:

  1. A channel or avenue by which any aggrieved employee may present his grievance;
  2. A procedure which ensures that there will be a systematic handling of every grievance;
  3. A method by which an aggrieved employee can relieve his feelings of dissatisfaction with his job, working conditions, or with management; and
  4. A means of ensuring that there is some measures of promptness in the handling of the grievance.

Methods of resolving Grievances

Methods of resolving grievance can be divided in to two parts:

  • Decisional Processes: Binding Decisions
  • Non-Decisional (Collaborative) Processes: Managed Negotiations

Decisional Processes: Binding Decisions

The dispute resolver makes a ruling, judgment or determination on legal and/or factual issues: Arbitration, Adjudication, Reconciliation & Expert Determination are the methods under the decisional procerss.

Expert professional dispute resolvers organise and manage the dispute resolution process; review and evaluate relevant evidence; determine facts and points of law and produce legally binding, written judgments (called “awards” or “determinations”).

(i). Arbitration

Arbitration (sometimes called “Adjudication”), is a private, trial-like process that can be commenced by any two or more parties who agree to arbitrate — either under a contract, by legislation, or by simple written agreement. A properly designed, well managed arbitration process can be completed quickly and is a highly efficient means of resolving many types of dispute.

The Arbitrator is usually an expert in the area of the dispute, e.g. an accountant for a financial/commercial dispute; a doctor for a medical dispute etc. If the issues are mainly legal in nature, the Arbitrator may be a legal expert, e.g. a solicitor, barrister or even a retired judge.

All properly qualified arbitrators have been trained and tested in both law and arbitration process, in addition to their own professional/technical training. Experienced arbitrators can therefore deal very efficiently with both difficult legal and technical issues.

The main advantage of appointing an Arbitrator to determine a technical dispute lies in their dual qualification in law and their own discipline. This substantially reduces the time otherwise required to educate the Arbitrator in the technicalities of the dispute.

In large cases a panel of (usually) three Arbitrators is appointed to cover all likely technical and legal aspects of the dispute. Each arbitrator is briefed to take the lead in their respective areas of technical expertise.

Arbitrations are conducted under the Commercial Arbitration Acts. The Acts give Arbitrators most of the power and authority of Supreme Court judges. The Acts encourage Arbitrators to use this power to make the process quick, fair, pragmatic, tightly managed and, above all, cost-effective.

The Arbitration Process

In effect, an Arbitrator is appointed to be a “private judge”, and is required to manage a confidential, “private trial”.

The process is adversarial, like conventional litigation, although the parties and the Arbitrator can determine the degree of formality required. This decision should be based on trying to achieve the most time and cost-efficient process, above all other considerations. Inevitably, the more formal the process, the lengthier and more expensive it becomes.

Depending on the issues and the parties, the whole process can be based solely on documents. However, most arbitrations involve hearings where, under the watchful eye and control of the Arbitrator, the parties have an opportunity to present and promote their arguments and to have them tested by their opponents.

After all information and arguments have been presented and tested, the Arbitrator evaluates everything he or she has heard or seen and produces a written decision, called the “award”. The award is legally binding on the parties and is enforceable through the courts, like a court judgment. It provides finality because it can only be appealed, directly to Court, on very restricted grounds – and even these can be excluded by agreement!

Benefits of Arbitration

Well-managed arbitrations can deal efficiently with a vast range of disputes. Small, non-complex disputes can usually be resolved within weeks, while even the largest and most complex disputes should only require a few months to resolve – an attractive proposition compared to the years such disputes take in the courts.

Well-managed arbitrations are much cheaper and quicker than conventional litigation. Parties are generally more satisfied with the outcomes as they are more involved in the process and gain a better understanding of what is happening.

Confidentiality is another advantage of this process – both the problem and its solution remain confidential – often a critical factor in sensitive commercial and employee/ employer disputes.

(ii) Adjudication

Adjudication generally refers to processes of decision making that involve a neutral third party with the authority to determine a binding resolution through some form of judgment or award. Adjudication is carried out in various forms, but most commonly occurs in the court system. It can also take place outside the court system in the form of alternative dispute resolution processes such as arbitration, private judging, and mini-trials. However, court-based adjudication is usually significantly more formal than arbitration and other ADR processes. The development of the field of alternative dispute resolution has led many people to use the term adjudication to refer specifically to litigation or conflicts addressed in court.

Adjudication is an involuntary, adversarial process. This means arguments are presented to prove one side right and one side wrong, resulting in win-lose outcomes. In civil cases, one side/person that believes he or she has been wronged (plaintiff) files legal charges against another (defendant). In other words, somebody sues someone they have a legal problem with. Once this occurs, both parties are obligated by law to participate in court-based proceedings. If the case goes to trial, each side then presents reasoned arguments and evidence to support their claims. Once that presentation of evidence and arguments is completed, a judge or jury then makes a decision. Appeals may be filed in an attempt to get a higher court to reverse the decision. If no appeal is filed, the decision is binding on both parties.

Disadvantages of Court-Based Adjudication

It is argued that alternative processes such as mediation and arbitration are more effective and constructive for the employee-employer disputes, than litigation. Though the debate over which form of justice is “better” is still ongoing, adjudication definitely does have some negative qualities or disadvantages. Some of the main criticisms of court-based adjudication include:

Court-based adjudication is prohibitively expensive in terms of monetary cost making it impossible for some parties to take their complaints to a court of law.

Control of the process is removed from the client/disputant and delegated to the lawyer and the court.

The decision makers lack expertise in the area of the dispute. In most courts the judges are generalists and practically every jury is too.

Court dockets are often overbooked, causing significant delays before a case is heard. In the meantime, the unresolved issues can cause serious problems for the disputants.

Litigation requires that people’s problems be translated into legal issues, yet the court’s decision about those issues does not always respond to the real nature of the underlying problem. For example, issues might be framed in terms of money, where the real issue is one of trust and respect…emotional issues not dealt with in an adversarial process.

In addition, courts are constrained by the law as to what solutions they can offer. When the underlying issues are not addressed, the decision may produce a short-term settlement, but not a long-term resolution.

Adjudication results in win-lose outcomes, leaving little chance the parties will develop a collaborative or integrative solution to the problem, unless the case is settled out of court before the trial.

Litigation often drives parties apart because of its adversarial, positional nature, while effective resolution often requires that they come closer together. This polarization of the disputants is also often accompanied by emotional distress.

People enmeshed in litigation experience indirect costs beyond the legal fees. For example, disruption to the functioning of one’s business or progression of one’s career can be just as damaging.

Advantages of Adjudication/Litigation

Though adjudication is an adversarial process, it can produce some clear benefits over other options for dispute resolution. Proponents of adjudication argue that the process produces more fair and consistent decisions than alternative dispute resolution processes. In fact, other dispute resolution processes have been criticized as providing “second-class justice.” This allegation is based on the fact that processes like mediation have not been institutionalized and there are no set standards of practice or rules of law upon which they are based. On the other hand, adjudication or litigation is grounded in the public judicial system and has a vast array of rules and regulations. There are several advantages that adjudication advocates cite when promoting this dispute settlement process:

Adjudication produces an imposed, final decision that the parties are obligated to respect. An alternative process, such as mediation, produces only voluntary agreements that can easily fail.

The outcomes of litigation are, without exception, binding and enforceable. Although arbitration decisions can be binding and enforceable (with the backing of the judicial system) this only occurs when the participating parties agree to such parameters. A party who has not agreed to arbitrate cannot be forced to do so, or be bound by the outcome of arbitration between other parties. With court-based adjudication, however, participation is involuntary and all outcomes are binding and enforceable. This can be a true advantage in situations where there is a serious lack of trust and/or respect between the parties.

The use of court-based adjudication or litigation allows for decisions to be appealed. The option to appeal confers multiple benefits. For example in monetary settlements, the winning party is often willing to re-negotiate the settlement before it goes to appeal so as to avoid full reversal and retrial. Appeals also allow the reversal of incorrect decisions. Sometimes mistakes are made or evidence that was clearly prejudicial was allowed, thus tarnishing what otherwise may have been a just outcome.

Public adjudication offers procedural safeguards that ensure parties due process under the law. Among such safeguards are cross-examination, limitations on hearsay and other rules of evidence, pre-hearing mandatory sharing of information between sides, and other statutory and constitutional protections that fall under the umbrella of due process. Procedural stipulations such as these help ensure that adjudicated outcomes will be fair.

Litigated decisions are authoritative and based on precedent.

Court-based decisions are, in theory, based on principles of the law (established norms) that have been previously validated. This makes for consistency in how similar cases are decided over time and better predictability regarding the range of possible outcomes.

Court-based adjudication is institutionalized, meaning that a party with a complaint needs no one’s permission to bring a lawsuit against another party. In addition, since the courts are funded by the government and do not rely on customer satisfaction, they can issue decisions that may be disliked by the parties, without fear of reprisal in any form.

Judges, the ultimate adjudicative decision makers, are chosen through a variety of publicly known procedures that ensure they are qualified for the job.

In addition, there are cases where settlement of a short-term dispute is all that is needed or possible. (Here “settlement” is being compared to resolution which is deeper and more lasting.) If there is no need for or no possibility of a future relationship between the parties, a settlement of their dispute is adequate. If relationships are going to be a long-term issue, however, resolution is preferable, when possible. When not, dispute settlement may well be better than continued fighting, and arbitration is a way to obtain such a settlement.

(iii) Reconciliation

Compared to conflict handling mechanisms such as negotiation, mediation, adjudication, and arbitration, the approach called ‘reconciliation’ is perhaps the least well understood. Its meaning, processes, and application have not been clearly articulated or developed. A place to start understanding what it entails might be by trying to distinguish it from the other approaches used in grievance redressal and peace building.

If we were to look at the ‘degree of mutual participation by the conflicting parties in the search for solutions to the problems underlying their conflict’ we could place these approaches in a spectrum as follows.

At the left end of the spectrum, we find approaches where mutual participation is minimal. The use of force by one of the parties to impose a solution would be an example of a mechanism that would be placed at this end of the spectrum. Further to the right of the spectrum, we could place mechanisms such as adjudication. Here a third party, instead of an adversary, imposes a solution to the conflict. However, the mutual participation of the parties in the choice of the solution is comparatively higher here than in the first. In the adjudication process, at least the parties have an opportunity to present their cases, to be heard, and submit their arguments for why their preferred solution should be the basis upon which the decision is made. Nonetheless, the choice of the solution is made by a third party, and the decision is backed by force (enforced) which ensures that the losing party complies.

Arbitration is placed further to the right of ‘adjudication’. Here, the participation of the parties is even higher since both adversaries can choose who is going to decide the issues under dispute, whereas in adjudication the decision maker is already appointed by the state. The parties in conflict can sometimes identify the basis upon which their case will be decided and whether the outcome will be binding or not. Although the mutual involvement of the parties in the decision making process is much higher than adjudication, the solution is still decided by an outsider and, depending on the type of arbitration, the outcome could be imposed by the power of the law.

Further to the right on the spectrum we find negotiation. Here the participation of all the involved parties in the search for solution is very high. It is the parties themselves who have to formulate the issues, and find a resolution that is satisfactory to all of them. In this situation, however, particularly in bargaining type negotiations (as opposed to problem-solving type of negotiations), the final choice of the solution might depend on the relative power position of the adversaries rather than on what might be the most satisfactory solution to everyone involved. The party with the higher bargaining leverage might end up getting the most out of the negotiations.

Mediation is a special type of negotiation where the parties’ search for mutually satisfactory solutions is assisted by a third party. The third party’s role is to minimize obstacles to the negotiation process including those that emanate from power imbalance. Unlike adjudication, however, in the final analysis it is the decision and agreement of the conflict parties that determines how the conflict will be resolved.

Towards the far right of the spectrum we find reconciliation. This approach not only tries to find solutions to the issues underlying the conflict but also works to alter the adversaries’ relationships from that of resentment and hostility to friendship and harmony. Of course, for this to happen, both parties must be equally invested and participate intensively in the resolution process.

The conflict handling mechanisms illustrated in the spectrum can be categorized into three groups which we will call conflict management, conflict resolution, and conflict prevention approaches. Conflict management approaches generally tend to focus more on mitigating or controlling the destructive consequences that emanate from a given conflict than on finding solutions to the underlying issues causing it. On the other hand, conflict resolution approaches aim at going beyond mitigation of consequences and attempt to resolve the substantive and relational root-causes so that the conflict comes to an end. While conflict management and resolution are reactive, they come into motion once conflict has surfaced, conflict prevention tries to anticipate the destructive aspects of the conflict before they arise and attempts to take positive measures to prevent them from occurring.

‘Justice is a necessary but not sufficient condition for reconciliation.’

Most of the mechanisms identified on the left hand of the spectrum are conflict management approaches. To the extent that adjudication, arbitration, and bargaining negotiations do not become avenues to solve the underlying issues of the conflict, and in most instances they do not, they become mere stop-gap conflict management measures. But if they provide an opportunity to work out not only differences on substantive issues but also negative relationships, they can become conflict resolution mechanisms.


We notice that as we move from the left to the right on the spectrum, i.e., as the participation of all the parties in the search for solution increases, the likelihood of achieving a mutually satisfactory and durable solution also increases. We know that solutions imposed by force will only last until the vanquished is able to muster sufficient force to reverse the situation. Solutions imposed by adjudication and arbitration, unless somehow the loser gives up, can always be frustrated by the latter’s endless appeals or lack of cooperation in the implementation process. If, however, the parties are engaged earnestly in the search for the solutions and are able to find resolutions that could satisfy the needs and interests of all involved, there could be no better guarantee for the durability of the settlements. It would be in the interest of every one to see to it that they are fully enforced. This is what we believe problem-solving negotiations, mediation, and reconciliation can do.

Healing and Reconciliation

Despite the lack of knowledge about how to operationalize reconciliation, there is however no question about the tremendous need for it. In fact, it could be said that the need in today’s world is much greater than at any other time in the past.

What Does Reconciliation Entail-

Reconciliation as a conflict handling mechanism entails the following core elements:

  • Honest acknowledgment of the harm/injury each party has inflicted on the other;
  • Sincere regrets and remorse for the injury done:
  • Readiness to apologize for one’s role in inflicting the injury;
  • Readiness of the conflicting parties to ‘let go’ of the anger and bitterness caused by the conflict and the injury;
  • Commitment by the offender not to repeat the injury;
  • Sincere effort to redress past grievances that caused the conflict and compensate the damage caused to the extent possible;
  • Entering into a new mutually enriching relationship.

Reconciliation then refers to this new relationship that emerges as a consequence of these processes. What most people refer to as ‘healing’ is the mending of deep emotional wounds (generated by the conflict) that follow the reconciliation process.

A very important aspect of the process of reconciliation and one that distinguishes it from all the other conflict handling mechanisms is its methodology. In most of the conflict handling mechanisms such as adjudication, arbitration, and for that matter even negotiation and mediation the method used for establishing responsibility for the conflict or its consequences is adversarial. In these processes, the parties present their grievances and make a case for the adversary’s fault or responsibility, thereby demanding that it should be the latter that should make amends. Each party begins by defending its own behaviour and denying its own guilt or responsibility until the opponent proves it to his or her satisfaction or to the satisfaction of outside observers, be they judges or mediators. In such a process, one’s behaviour is always explained as a reaction to the behaviour of the adversary. The typical pattern of the interaction is: ‘I did this to you because you did such and such a thing to me!’ The aim is to get the adversary to change his or her future conduct by proving the person’s guilt. Of course, the expectation is that both parties will change each other in this way and will eventually transform their relationship from negative to positive.

Despite the lack of knowledge about how to operationalize reconciliation, there is no question about the tremendous need for it.

On the other hand, the essence of reconciliation is the voluntary initiative of the conflict parties to acknowledge their responsibility and guilt. The interactions that transpire between the parties are not only meant to communicate one’s grievances against the actions of the adversary, but also to engage in self-reflection about one’s own role and behaviour in the dynamic of the conflict. In other words, in this kind of dialogue, as much as one attributes guilt and responsibility to the adversary for the damage generated by the conflict, one has to also be self-critical and acknowledge responsibility for his or her own role in the creation or perpetuation of the conflict and hurtful interaction. The aim of such interaction is that, in the final analysis, each of the parties acknowledges and accepts his or her responsibility and out of such recognition seeks ways to redress the injury that has been inflicted on the adversary, to refrain from further damage, and to construct new positive relationships.

(iv) Private Judging

As above, with the added attraction of using retired senior judges to manage the dispute resolution process in the form of confidential, private trials. These result in written judgments (awards) that are legally binding on the parties. Private Judging has most of the authority of a court process, added to which it is confidential, quicker, more efficient and significantly cheaper than litigation.

2. Non-Decisional (Collaborative) Processes: Managed Negotiations

Under these methods a dispute resolver is generally appointed or agreed upon. He manages a problem solving negotiation process that is designed and run to help parties understand and come to terms with their respective positions and interests, generate options for resolution and develop mutual agreements. Types of non-decisional processes are:

(i) Facilitation

Facilitators bring professional communication and people management skills to meetings and important negotiations. They help to redress grievances, where parties recognise they have serious differences, but don’t consider themselves to be in dispute – or don’t want to acknowledge that they could be in dispute

(ii) Mediation (Facilitated)

Facilitative Mediators manage a style of negotiation process designed to help solve problems and generate settlement options. This type of Mediator is a neutral process manager who is neither expected nor required to express opinions on the issues. Being focused on the process, the Facilitative Mediator does not actively encourage the parties towards settlement, instead they help the parties to develop their perceptions, draw their own conclusions and develop their own solutions.

(iii) Mediation (Directed)

Directive Mediation is a more robust style of mediation. The Mediator is expected/required to provide opinions and suggestions and to actively encourage the parties towards grievance redressal. Directive Mediation is, by far, our most successful and most popular dispute resolution process.

(iv) Advisory & Evaluative Processes: Expert Opinions (non-binding)

The dispute resolver assesses the legal and/or factual and/or technical issues in dispute and advises the parties of the absolute and relative strengths and weaknesses of their positions:

(v) Neutral Interventions: Factfinding & Problem Solving

The dispute resolver has a mandate to “get in and see what they can do” to help rectify and resolve a situation that may otherwise develop into a serious conflict.