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Human Resources

Explore Online Resources on Conflict Management Systems, Workplace Mistreatment, the Organizational Ombuds Profession, and More

By

MIT Sloan Adjunct Professor Mary P. Rowe

Mary P. Rowe is an Adjunct Professor of Negotiation and Conflict Management in the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research (IWER) at the MIT Sloan School of Management. She served for almost 42 years as an organizational ombuds reporting directly to five presidents of MIT. 

In 1973, Rowe helped MIT to recognize and address harassment.  She began to write about “integrated conflict management systems” that include a “zero-barrier office”—like an ombud—to support such systems.  She coined the term “micro-inequities” (to encompass both micro-aggressions and also micro-occurrences that are unfair without necessarily being hostile).  She added the term “micro-affirmations” (to describe small acts that occur wherever people wish to help others succeed, and that may help mitigate inequities). 

With generous support from Jean-Jacques (SM '93 and PhD '02) and Valeria Degroof, Rowe has organized her personal webpages at MIT Sloan into an online library where may of her articles are freely available. These articles are organized by topic:

  1. The Organizational Ombuds’ Role: Functions, Standards of Practice, and Effectiveness and Value
  2. Integrated Conflict Management Systems (ICMS) and the Organizational Ombuds’ Role Therein
  3. Micro-inequities (including Micro-aggressions) and Micro-affirmations
  4. Bystanders and the Bystanders of Bystanders
  5. Harassment and Bullying
  6. Negotiation and Conflict Management
  7. Mentoring and Mentoring Frameworks
  8. Androgyny and Gender Roles
  9. Promoting Equity in Organizations
  10. Early Research: Child Care Economics and African and Black Entrepreneurship

Each page above contains a list of Rowe’s work on that subject, in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent article. (A number of publications encompass more than one subject and thus are listed on more than one page.)

Rowe hopes these resources will be useful to managers—and to the growing number of new organizational ombuds. “New organizational ombuds offices are opening around the world at a rate of about one a week, and the organizational ombuds profession is only about 50 years old,” she said. “Many of us in the ombuds profession are sharing our questions, our dilemmas, our stories, our tools and successes.”