Emerging Research and Opportunities: Restorative Practices Beyond Schools

Emerging Research and Opportunities: Restorative Practices Beyond Schools

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3838-8.ch008

Abstract

Chapter 8 discusses emerging research and opportunities for restorative practices that extend beyond schools, as the broader sociocultural contexts of restorative principles are considered. An examination of restorative practices in the workplace within athletic organizations and in higher education are described, as each of these settings provide an opportunity for restorative practices to be implemented successfully, either as a partial or whole organizational approach.
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Introduction

The Broader Sociocultural Contexts of Restorative Practices

Beyond the K-12 classroom, restorative practices can provide opportunities for change within several different contexts, including the workplace, professional athletic organizations, and within higher education spaces. Restorative practices have evolved over time to encapsulate the characteristics from its applications within the criminal justice system and juvenile justice system to becoming a staple within many schools across the United States and internationally (McCluskey, 2018). Embracing the philosophy and principles of restorative justice, centered on harms and needs, obligations, and engagement (Zehr, 2002), the implications for restorative practices to extend beyond the classroom are numerous. Emphasizing reparation of situations, and being respectful and inclusive, the contexts to which restorative practices can be applied focus on hearing all impacted voices. Bringing together everyone affected by a situation and working toward a resolution as a community can improve relationships between coworkers, teammates, and colleagues within the realm of higher education.

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Restorative Practices In The Workplace

Repairing harmful situations, building a strong community, and fostering respectful dialogue among management, employees, and additional personnel within an organization is the aim of restorative practices within the workplace. Reducing conflict between coworkers and dealing with personnel matters that can be resolved using restorative approaches should emphasize that the purpose is to unite an organization in its goals and mission.

Restorative approaches can…be used proactively and in a preventative way within the workplace to build strong, positive relationships. Staff meetings, for example, can be restorative, focused on building relationships and based around a foundation of mutual respect… An organisation that fully embraces restorative practices has the potential to create a safer, happier and more effective workplace for everyone. (Restorative Justice Council, 2016)

Staff meetings, training sessions, professional development workshops, and teamwork activities are ideal settings in which restorative practices can foster a community centered focus and an overarching aim of improving a workplace environment and professional relationships.

Another area in which restorative practices can provide a potential resolution is within the umbrella of workplace bullying. Mostly psychological, bullying in the workplace can take on many forms, including “unjustified criticism, excessive monitoring of performance, unfair pressure, comments, or sarcasm (Djurkovic, McCormack, & Casimir, 2004), isolating the target or obstructing his or her work, and inappropriately blocking career advancement” (Pietersen, 2007) as cited in (Branch, Murray, & Ramsay, 2012). Dehumanizing, costly, and resulting in less productivity, bullying in the workplace can have long-term effects on employees and their supervisors, devastating relationships that are essential to the success of an organization and its mission. In an attempt to improve relationships and support employee productivity, restorative practices can provide a foundation to build and strengthen relationships within the workplace.

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