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Managing conflicts at the workplace

Olav Aanestad Godiksen is trained as a social anthropologist and is working both as a conflict management trainer and as a mediator. His work as a trainer has been focused on managing conflicts at the workplace, primarily among staff at Norwegian refugee receptions centres. In his role as a mediator for the Norwegian Mediation Service he is working both with criminal and civil cases.

What is the first website you visit after you get up and why?

That would usually be the weather forecast ( to see how I should dress for my morning run to the office. It’s a fantastic way to start the day; half an hour of easy running, letting the mind and body wander as I move at an even pace. No traffic jams or other disturbances to steal my attention. When I get to the office I feel invigorated and ready for a new day.

• Tell me about a book that has had an impact on your life and why.

Hannah Arendts “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” is a book that has stayed with me for a long time. Not only because of the quality of her thinking and writing, but also because of the strength she has shown writing a balanced and nuanced account in very tense atmosphere.

• Who are your favourite authors?

There are so many good authors to choose among, so it’s a hard question to answer. If I have to name some, I would list Italo Calvino, Oscar Wilde, Henrik Ibsen and Maja Angelou among my favourites.

• What historical figure do you identify with?

Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss. I am inspired by his curiosity and openness, as well as his thoughts on interpersonal relations and non-violence, his closeness to nature and honesty towards himself and others.

• Who are your heroes in real life?

People working to better the situation of others, and who do so with integrity and a shared feeling of humanity. There are groups and individuals all over the world striving to improve their society and the living conditions of their fellow citizens.

• What is your favourite occupation?

Being a facilitator.

• What influenced your career path?

I’ve long been interested in conflict management, even as a youth. Visits to Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Middle East gave me insights into life in conflict zones, and triggered me to continue with conflict related studies at University. Through my career I have become increasingly concerned with practical - face to face - conflict management, which has led me to where I am today.

• What do you like about what you do?

Working with people is a reward in itself. By doing conflict training and mediation I get to partake in very sincere and honest processes to explore possible solutions to very different kind of problems. Through this I also receive impulses and thoughts from the people I meet, which help me develop, both professionally and personally.

• What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

I find it difficult to rate my achievements and find one to be the greatest. Rather, I see many small achievements as I go through life.


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