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Conflict

Based on Chapter 20 of Human Resource Management (4th Edition) by Alan Price - published by Cengage

Only a portion of employee relations issues have a disciplinary element. Many cases arise from some form of conflict between management and employees, or between specific individuals. Conflict has both positive and negative aspects as we can see in table 23.1 (in the book). Where does conflict come from? A number of basic psychological causes are apparent, regardless of the overt justification for a dispute (...):

  • Frustration and aggression
  • Different objectives
  • Different values
  • Jealousy
  • Culture

Conflict is an inevitable feature of negotiating and bargaining. Trained negotiators are taught to deal with conflict, expecting both negative and positive aspects to appear during the process. This will be easier to understand when we consider specific models of negotiation in the final section of this chapter.

Issues of conflict and discipline may not be resolved at local level. Many countries have mechanisms by which disputes may be taken to an outside body, usually in the form of industrial tribunals or arbitration bodies.

Relevant articles

Anger at work
Human Resource courses are not likely to teach you much about what makes people angry at work. What is the best response?

Responsibility Virus
Why do some people take credit for everything - dooming themselves to a lonely 'crash-and-burn,' while others go to extreme measures to hide from the spotlight? Why do 'team efforts' often end in acrimony? Dean Roger Martin of the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management explains it's the fear of failure that infects companies and people with the bug he calls the Responsibility Virus.

Managers lack 'soft skills'
A study of study of 35,000 Australian and New Zealand managers found that managers regularly deny responsibility, withdraw from threatening situations or people, resort to aggressive tactics to get their way, stick to established rules and procedures - and are characterized by a fear of failure.

HRM Textbooks

Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management, 4th edition
by Alan Price
 Covers all the key aspects of HRM. Available from:
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Fundamentals of Human Resource Management

Fundamentals of Human Resource Management
 Shortened version of Human Resource Management - concise analysis for non-specialists and one-semester courses.
More information and prices from:
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