Impact of Ombuds Office Highlighted


The NC State Faculty Ombuds Office was profiled in a recent article jointly published by The Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds and the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association -“Ombuds and Conflict Resolution Specialists: Navigating Workplace Challenges in Higher Education.”  The article explores various ombuds practices and impacts on an organization based on research conducted by Nova Southeast faculty member Neil H. Katz and two of his graduate students Katherine J. Sosa and Linda N. Kovack.

The researchers identified three primary functions of an ombuds and/or conflict resolution office including (1) addressing constituent issues, (2) educational outreach, and (3) system review. In each area the ombuds sought to positively impact both the individual and the institution by providing ombuds services within a framework of independence, confidentiality, informality, and impartiality.

Overall the impacts were seen as positive and the researchers conclude that institutions that support ombuds and/or conflict resolution programs “are implementing ‘best practices.'”  It’s certainly the goal of the NC State Faculty & Staff Ombuds office to support constructive engagement around conflicts or issues of concern. And, doing so, may help all utilize best practices and promote a vibrant workplace.



Apology Research – How to do it Well !


Have you ever offered an apology that fell flat?  That made someone madder?  Well, it turns out there are specific components to an effective apology.  These are the findings of a recently published article on an “apology” research project in the journal Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, Vol. 9, No. 2 (May 2016). The result – there are six substantive elements to an apology with some more important than others.

Professor Emeritus Roy Lewicki (lead author) and Associate Professor Robert Lount of Management and Human Resources at The Ohio State University and Assistant Professor of Management Beth Polin of Eastern Kentucky University conducted two separate experiments of how people reacted to apologies made up of different elements. The study of 755 people found the following six elements of an effective apology:

1. Expression of regret
2. Explanation of what went wrong
3. Acknowledgement of responsibility
4. Declaration of repentance
5. Offer of repair
6. Request for forgiveness

According to Professor Lewicki – “Apologies really do work, but you should make sure you hit as many of the six key components as possible.” (The Ohio State University Newsroom)  The research also identified acknowledgment of responsibility as most important with offer of repair the next most significant.

Thus, the next time you apologize, try to include all six elements, but if you can’t fit them all in, make sure to acknowledge your responsibility and make an offer of repair.

Good luck with your next apology!