Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Video conferencing could help resolve conflicts at work and at home

12.10.2007
The latest video technology could help to resolve conflicts between employees at work, neighbours or even family members, researchers from the University of Bath,UK, believe.

At present, conciliators and mediators from organisations such as Acas are called in to help tackle hundreds of thousands of serious conflicts each year, ranging from disputes between employees or between management and unions, to violent breakdowns in relations between neighbours and family members.

Leon Watts and Matt Billings, of the University’s Department of Computer Science, believe that video conferencing will become more common now that the spread of broadband has allowed good quality video and sound to be created and shared.

They believe the technology could be useful because it has more potential for social and emotional communication than the telephone, but cuts out the chance that one or both disputing parties are intimidated by the other’s physical presence.

“Video can help in two ways,” said Dr Watts. “Most of the conciliation to sort out disputes between employees is done by phone because for the conciliator, who may have as many as 70 or 80 cases to deal with at once, it can be difficult, costly and slow to arrange to see people in person.

“In situations of high conflict, it can be hard to get to the real issues, to judge what people really care about, on the phone. So using a video link, in which the conciliator can in addition see each of the disputing parties, is a step forward: it gives them a new options for appreciating parties’ depth of concern about different issues.

“But video is more than just a way of improving on the telephone. It could be part of a new strategy for conciliation, in that once the parties have met separately with the conciliator and there is some solid common ground, they can set up a video conference as an intermediary stage before a full meeting of all parties face-to-face.

“For instance, one of the disputants may have a physically intimidating presence – something that cannot be projected as easily in a video link as in a face-to-face meeting - so this can make negotiation easier.

“In this way video conferencing forms another tool for conciliators and mediators.

“Disputes between team members in companies or between neighbours or within families can be vitriolic and acrimonious, so any way that conciliation can be helped is useful.”

He said that the latest technology allows much better quality images than the jerky first webcams could, and disputing parties can be given a camera and the appropriate technology for their computer, so they can set up the video link.

This would help independent and impartial organisations in their work with people to help them see new possibilities for moving forward and to settle their disputes.

Matthew Billings interviewed 12 experienced conciliators for their views on how they would feel about using video technology, and most thought that not being able to see the parties’ body language would hinder their work. At present videoconferencing is not used in conciliation in the UK.

But when a highly experienced conciliator took part in a mock dispute, with actors playing the part of aggrieved parties, she found it was a surprisingly similar process to normal conciliation.

“The conciliator was much more relaxed about using video after the trial,” said Mr Billings. “We think that the conciliation profession will be interested in the potential of this technology.”

Dr Watts and Mr Billings are now planning to work with a conciliation training organisation to inform conciliators about the potential of video conferencing.

Tony Trueman | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/2007/10/11/video-disputes.html

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht High Number of Science Enthusiasts in Switzerland
05.02.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Between filter bubbles, uneven visibility and transnationality
06.12.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Structured light and nanomaterials open new ways to tailor light at the nanoscale

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

On the shape of the 'petal' for the dissipation curve

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Clean and Efficient – Fraunhofer ISE Presents Hydrogen Technologies at the HANNOVER MESSE 2018

23.04.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>