At CDC we believe that the long term benefits of maintaining the quality of workplace relationships result in increased business effectiveness and success. Mediation addresses complex relationship difficulties head on to restore respectful working associations for the benefit of both the individual and the organisation.


Mediation in South Africa has typically been used in the labour – management sphere often involving collective bargaining related negotiation. This often takes place through the CCMA, as does employment mediation concerning alleged unfair dismissals that result in a financial settlement with the employment relationships ending.

“Win / win is an attitude, not an outcome.”
Don Boyd

Workplace mediation is quite different in that it takes place when employees, usually two people, who work together, have run into difficulty in their working relationship with one another. They are often senior or specialist staff of value to an organisation and expensive to replace. They may be a manager and a subordinate, or team members who need to work together co-operatively but who constantly clash.

Workplace mediation is a structured process where communication is facilitated by an impartial mediator between disputing parties. The aim is that they are able to understand each other better and come up with mutually acceptable solutions to restore their working relationship (Doherty & Guyler, 2008).

Main principles of mediation:

  • It is voluntary – all parties need to agree to mediation
  • It is agreement/solution focused
  • Parties offer the solutions themselves
  • The mediator is impartial and does not take sides
  • It is confidential
  • If mediation is unsuccessful, formal or legal procedures can be pursued

The mediation process uses face to face joint meetings as well as separate sessions, away from the everyday work space and colleagues. The content of all discussions is confidential. Copies of the written mediation agreement are held by the participants, the mediator and whoever coordinates the mediation within the organisation. They are not public property, are kept confidentially by the organisation and cannot be used in any future complaint or legal process. There is no direct enforcement of mediation agreements and it is up to the parties themselves to uphold their agreements.

“Ninety-nine percent of all problems in communications start with misunderstandings which develop as a result of differing viewpoints and conditioning.”

Dohery & Guyler, 2008. The essential guide to workplace mediation & conflict resolution. London: Kogan Page Limited.

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