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Do Men and Women Have Different Approaches to Dispute Resolution?

Gender differences are common, but it does not always dictate how each gender responds to conflict in the workplace. So, today we’re going to take a deeper dive and uncover whether men and women have different approaches to dispute resolution.
Business disputes in the workplace are a common occurrence and a part of working life. But, the way that people approach resolution is different. It could be seen that men take one approach and females take another, but we’re going to take a closer look to really determine whether that is the case.
Keep reading to find out whether gender has an impact on the approach to dispute resolution, and for tips to manage and resolve conflict.

Can Approaches to Dispute Resolution be Down to Individual People, Their Background and Personality?

Not everyone is the same. We are each our own individual people, and that applies to gender too. Not every woman is the same, and not every man is the same, despite the stereotypical comments that get thrown around.
So, with that in mind, it can leave you wondering whether individual people – their background and personality – might have an impact how they handle matters, including dispute resolution.
A conference in Sydney, Australia looked into this. Their attendees claimed that any response and approach to disputes was completely down to individual people and their background and personalities. That was until the conference went on longer.
After talking about it further, they found that there actually seemed to be a divide in regard to gender.

How Do Women and Men Similarly Approach Conflict?

Keeping Emotions Hidden

It seems that something that both genders agree on and do when they are faced with disputes is keeping emotion hidden from the other parties involved. They said they will not match any emotion being displayed by those involved, instead of remaining a neutral party, listening, and concentrating on the facts.

Being Charming

Another aspect that both genders agreed worked well when resolving disputes is acting charming towards those involved. Being calm can only make others feel calmer           ; if you present yourself in a nice manner, people will be less likely to become emotional and more interested in hearing and taking in what you have to say.

How Do Women and Men Adversely Approach Conflict?

At the Sydney conference, one thing that came up was that many of the women attending the conference admitted that they found it far easier to negotiate and resolve conflict with men rather than their same-sex peers. The term ‘queen bee syndrome’ was mentioned.
Another study found that men are more prepared than women to resolve conflict with the same sex. This can relate to what we discussed above regarding females finding it easier to resolve conflict with the opposite sex than their own.

How Should Conflict Be Handled in the workplace?

There are, of course, ways that conflict shouldn’t be handled, but it doesn’t mean because someone else handles it differently to you that they are doing it wrong.
We’ve come up with some basic pointers below that might assist if you are unsure of how to approach dispute resolution. You might decide to approach it differently, and that’s okay so long you reach an end result that all parties are happy with. Making sure that people are not left feeling unheard or disappointed with the resolution is paramount.
Some potential ways to do so include:

Find a private place to discuss it

Conflicts should be resolved away from people who are not involved, especially as it might be a personal matter that the parties don’t want other people involved with. Find a time and place that best suits the parties and discuss with them what the conflict is concerning.

Listen actively

Make sure you listen to each point and don’t take sides. You should be a neutral person when resolving disputes.

Let everyone have their say

It’s essential to allow each person involved in the dispute to have their say. Otherwise, you could be missing out on valuable information and be leaving people unsatisfied with how the matter has been approached.

Determine how you can reach the common goal

Understand what each party would like to happen next. It could be that someone feels they are being bullied at work and they want the bullying to stop, or the person who is doing the bullying is to be punished. You then need to approach what the person being accused wants to do about the situation.

Agree on the resolution with those involved

Ultimately the decision should be made by you, but with regards to those involved and their requests. Otherwise, you may not find the problem gets resolved, or there is the potential for employees to be unhappy in the situation.

Future communication with those involved

Just because you have resolved it that one time doesn’t necessarily mean that problems aren’t still occurring, or one or both parties are happy with the situation. Ensure that you regularly check in and have private meetings if things need discussing again.
For further ways to manage and resolve conflict in the workplace, check out HR Cloud.

Gender Can Have an Impact on Dispute Resolution

What we can conclude from the number of studies conducted is that there may be some difference between how men and women approach conflict. These may include men’s ability to easily resolve conflict no matter the gender.
Overall, though, it seems that both genders tend to take the same approach most of the time. This includes hiding their personal emotion, listening to the facts, and being charming towards those involved.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained dispute resolution professional. Be sure to consult a dispute resolution professional or solicitor if you’re seeking advice about resolving conflict. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

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