Journal of the International Ombudsman Association (JIOA)

JIOA 2021 Articles, Issue 1


Assessing the Establishment of Ombuds Offices in Professional Academic Research Associations
Shannon Lynn Burton & Carol Mershon
14 October 2021

Cover page for "Assessing the Establishment of Ombuds Offices in Professional Academic Research Associations"Abstract:
This article proposes that professional research associations adopt the office of an ombudsperson. We depict the history and role of the ombuds as it relates to harassment and discrimination concerns. We discuss the impetus for the establishment of ombuds resources in a range of professional research associations and look at the models to date for such ombuds offices. We highlight the benefits of the ombuds resource for professional research associations and suggest how such benefits might be maximized. We close by exploring the broader implications of the trends seen in the creation of ombuds offices in professional research associations.

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Establishing a quasi-ombuds program at a large university by adapting Ury, Brett, and Goldberg's dispute system design model: A practitioner's experience.
Nkaze Chateh
20 May 2021

Cover Page: Establishing a quasi-ombuds program at a large university by adapting Ury, Brett, and  Goldberg's dispute system design model: A practitioner's experience.Abstract:
A first of its kind quasi-ombuds program at a large university in the Southeastern United States was established in 2015, after a need was identified to supplement existing formal grievance processes with an informal alternative. Ury, Brett, and Goldberg’s dispute system design model was selected, primarily because it is authoritative in the dispute system design field and secondarily because it has been successfully applied in another university setting. Three adaptations were made to suit the needs of the university: (1) adjusting the role of the design committee, (2) scaling down the diagnosis, and (3) scaling down the six design principles. The success of the program demonstrated the model can be successfully adapted by practitioners in the field to design an ombuds program.

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The Paradox of Informal Justice
Brian A. Pappas
20 May 2021

Cover Page: The Paradox of Informal JusticeAbstract:
This article analyzes justice in informal organizational disputes involving rights-based issues by examining campus sexual misconduct and university ombuds. While designed as advocates for fairness and justice, ombuds studied between 2011 and 2014 were found to vary in their interpretation of and adherence to the role’s impartiality and independence standards. Many ombuds advocate for specific individuals, outcomes, or the institution. Even when acting strictly according to the role’s mandates, ombuds paradoxically must make judgments about both outcomes and procedural irregularities. In many instances, these judgments are made consistent with law or policy but at other times the judgments are based on personal or organizational preferences. This research demonstrates the paradox of informal justice: In carrying out an informal, impartial, and independent role, organizational ombuds make decisions about what constitutes, and then advocate for, justice. With Title IX rules changing once again to allow the use of informal dispute resolution mechanisms, now is an excellent opportunity for organizational ombuds to rethink their standards of practice and the division between neutral and advocate.

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Reviewed Work: Make an Ethical Difference: Tools for Better Action by Mark Pastin
Justine Wong
5 February 2021

Cover Page: Reviewed Work: "Make an Ethical Difference: Tools for Better Action" by Mark PastinAbstract: 
Mark Pastin’s book, Make an Ethical Difference: Tools for Better Action, offers a practical and easy-to-use two-part methodology to sharpen one’s ability to find ethical solutions. The book has implications for improving practice and standardizing the ombudsman profession.

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A Book Review Ombuds Can Use: A Review of How to Be an Inclusive Leader
Gregory K. Stephens
5 February 2021

Cover Page for "A Book Review Ombuds Can Use: A Review of How to Be an Inclusive Leader"Abstract:
In this review of Steve Broidy’s A Case for Kindness: A New Look at the Teaching Ethic, I draw from Broidy’s ideas for building a “kindness-oriented teaching ethic” to similarly recommend a kindness-oriented ombuds ethic. My review will touch on Broidy’s definition of kindness, extend that definition into recommendations for Ombuds work, and also touch on Visitor needs in our work as Ombuds.

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About the JIOA

The Journal of the International Ombudsman Association (JIOA) is a peer-reviewed online journal for scholarly articles and information relevant to the ombudsman profession. As members of a relatively new profession, we continually strive to understand, define and clarify the role and function of the professional organizational ombudsman.

The JIOA will help foster recognition that what we do for our agencies, corporations, colleges, and universities is worthy of study. While we must vigorously protect the confidentiality of our interactions, we can still study and be studied to understand what we do and how we do it; what works well and what doesn't work; what our options are; how social, technical and legal changes may impact us; what the profile and career development of ombudsman professionals might be, and other matters of interest.

The JIOA can facilitate a greater interest in ombudsing, enhance our professional standing, and serve to give us a better understanding of our dynamic roles and the impact on our institutions and agencies. The Journal also will allow IOA members, other ombudsmen, and other professionals to reach out to their colleagues with their ideas, research findings, theories, and recommendations for best practices and to engage in ongoing discussions of critical issues.

Learn more about the JIOA and the manuscript submission process.

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If you have any questions about the JIOA please contact the co-editors via email at [email protected].

  • Shannon Lynn Burton, Michigan State University
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