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Managing Stress and Conflict in Libraries


Tackling conflict and stress effectively is a legal responsibility for management, and can result in significant benefits for the organization in terms of recruitment and retention, employee commitment, performance and productivity, customer satisfaction, organizational image and reputation, and potential litigation.
This book defines clearly what should and should not be tolerated in a healthy and safe working environment, and introduces the reporting procedures leading to conflict resolution, enabling both the employee and the manager to decide whether or not there is a case for making a risk assessment that may lead to formal mediation. The chapters cover:

  • current health and safety concerns
  • risk assessment procedure
  • the business case
  • taking action to solve interpersonal conflict
  • communication skills and training
  • support to be expected from the organization.

Also included are case studies, a glossary of health and safety terms, and sources of further information, including relevant legislation. Readership: This book is essential reading for employees at all levels, and also for managers, team leaders, supervisors, personnel and human resources staff, complaints officers, union officers and anyone else in the information organization who may be called upon to deal with people.

1. Current concerns worldwide

  • Worldwide problem
  • The Changing world of work
  • What is known
  • Employers need to show what they are doing

2. Are you at risk?

  • Why information centres and libraries are targets
  • What are the causes?
  • Clearly understanding what is meant by aggression, bullying, conflict, harassment, stress and violence
  • Whose concern is it?
  • Being constantly alert
  • Understanding how such behaviour can affect you physically and mentally
  • Making sure you are safe
  • Deciding if there is a problem
  • First steps
  • Record and classify

3. The business base

  • Management of change - keeping staff involved and informed
  • Dealing with internal conflict, managerial pressure and external pressures (e.g. out-sourcing, downsizing)
  • Employee commitment to work
  • Management commitment to staff
  • Staff performance and productivity
  • Staff turnover and intention to leave and costs
  • Attendance levels
  • Staff recruitment and retention
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Organizational image and reputation
  • Is it my concern?
  • Potential litigation

4. Risk assessment

  • The need for risk assessments
  • Legal responsibilities
  • What is a risk assessment?
  • The five steps to risk assessment

5. Carrying out risk assessments

  • How a risk assessment should be carried out
  • What happens at each step, and
  • Once the overall picture has been gained on whether or not a problem exist, management must accept responsibility for problems that are identified

6. Advice, guidance and legislation galore

  • Legislation that will help you
  • Guidance and advice - UK - European - International
  • Preventative measures
  • Publications

7. Now is the time for you to act!

  • What to do if you and your colleagues do have a problem
  • Preventative measures

8. Dealing with aggression and violence

  • Steps to personal safety
  • On the move
  • Working alone at your usual workplace
  • Learn to be an effective communicator
  • Actually dealing with aggression and violence
  • Physical attack
  • Self-defence
  • When an incident occurs
  • Training
  • Refresher training
  • Training in working hours
  • Identifying training needs
  • Networking
  • Counselling arrangements

9. Support you can expect after incidents

  • What help a victim may need
  • The immediate support you can expect
  • Long-term support

10. You are not alone

  • Information sent in by CILIP Gazette readers


  • A Bibliography
  • B Websites
  • C Advice centres
  • D Legislation

Sheila Pantry OBE BA FCLIP manages an independent information services consultancy and electronic publishing business, including websites. She has had a long and varied career in information management in a range of industry sectors, and also in government as Head of Information Services for the Health and Safety Executive. She specializes in worldwide occupational health, safety and fire information and is an experienced trainer, writer, editor and lecturer.

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