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Formal vs. Informal Processes

There are distinct differences between "Formal" and "Informal" procedures. The following are important elements (categorized by "Advantages" and "Disadvantages") that can help to differentiate the two courses of action.



  • Due process rights outlined for disputants
  • Timetables outlines
  • "Guilty" or "Not Guilty" outcome IS possible (if desired by either/both)
  • "Paper Trail" proves what occurred
  • "Repeat offenders" tracked


  • Process stays in disputants' control
  • Confidentiality easier to maintain
  • May work because of motivation to avoid formal procedures
  • Less cumbersome
  • Can result in better communication between the parties
  • Does not require "proof" to others



  • Process is out of disputants' control
  • Time-consuming
  • Potentially embarrassing (less confidential)
  • Requires a written statement
  • Does not work well when evidence is lacking


  • No discipline option available (disadvantage for some complainants)
  • No paper trail
  • Due process not guaranteed
  • No timetables
  • "Repeat offenders" cannot be tracked



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