Voir en


The power of mediation

In a previous article, I underlined how conflicts may actually have a constructive impact when addressed in a timely and effective fashion.
One of the conflict-resolution tools that is available to all members of the CERN community is mediation facilitated by the Ombud. Unlike a formal grievance procedure, mediation has the potential to repair the broken relationship and bring parties to reach a self-determined, win–win agreement. 
Today, I would like to suggest mediation to you as a powerful and risk-free way of moving out of conflicts that may be affecting you at work. 

What is mediation? 

Mediation is a structured process, facilitated by an external party (here the CERN Ombud), that is specifically designed to restore dialogue and create empathy between two or more parties engaged in a conflict in the workplace.

How does it work? 

The Ombud creates a safe space for the two parties to vent their feelings and express their concerns. The emphasis is placed on the conflict’s impact on each other’s work and personal life and the benefits that would be derived from a successful resolution.
The ground rules during this process are respect and courtesy.
When the parties are given a chance to express their feelings to each other, they very often agree that they both want to get out of the conflict zone and move forward.

What is the role of the Ombud as mediator? 

The role of the Ombud is to guarantee that the process is voluntary, self-determined, impartial, non-judgemental and – most importantly – confidential. These are the prerequisites to creating a safe space where dialogue can be restored.


Voluntary: The parties in conflict must engage in mediation in good faith and of their own accord. No one can impose mediation on them. Managers may invite supervisees in conflict to try mediation but it can only take place if both parties are willing to engage in the process. 


Self-determined: Mediation is an informal process and does not trigger any further action. The parties themselves decide what happens next. They stay in control.


Impartial: During mediation, the parties in conflict have an equal voice and the Ombud takes no side. The Ombud’s role is to foster mutual empathy between the parties. 


Non-judgemental: The Ombud does not express any judgement on the parties’ opinions, beliefs, feelings or needs.


Confidential: What is discussed in mediation, as well as the agreement which the parties come to, stays between the parties and the Ombud.


I invite you to find all the details on mediation facilitated by the Ombud at https://ombud.web.cern.ch/mediation and to contact me if you have any further questions.

Informal resolution of conflicts using mediation works in 90% of cases and is worth trying. Do not let a conflict drain you of the energy you need to achieve a fulfilling and effective work life.


Laure Esteveny


I want to hear from you – feel free to email ombud@cern.ch with any feedback or suggestions for topics you would like me to address. 

NB: If you would like to be notified about posts, news and other communications from the CERN Ombud, please register for the CERN Ombud news.