Case Study

A Restorative Response to Resolving Tension between Partner Organizations

Icon: Context

Just Outcomes was invited to facilitate a dialogue between two agencies whose partnership is essential towards the service of marginalized people. We were asked to help address matters of tension and discord through large-group facilitated dialogue, informed by the principles of restorative justice.

Icon: Approach

It is relatively common for large groups working together to encounter trouble spots—especially around matters of power imbalances, proper recognition, and “turf”. While tension had been mounting, leadership from both sides saw the opportunity to better serve clients if cohorts from their respective agencies could gain appreciation for the work of the other and take time to air some past hurts. Given that the support of leadership is key in such processes, Just Outcomes was eager to support this effort.

In preparation for dialogue, we conducted small group meetings with leadership and key representatives from both agencies. This gave us a firm understanding of the issues at stake, while also allowing us to prepare all parties for a respectful and productive dialogue. With this preparation complete, we facilitated an all-day workshop with both agencies. This process engaged both groups in “fish-bowl” dialogue, small group work, large group debriefing, and informal interaction time. 

Icon: Outcomes

Both agencies emerged from the day with a renewed appreciation of the work of the other, and a united purpose in providing excellent service for clients. Many expressed gratitude for the opportunity to better understand past actions, and to see the widespread motivation to continue to work together and check-in on communication patterns moving forward.