Conflict between management and labour has always been a contentious area. However, over the past twenty years or so its context has changed. In the past the management-labour conflicts reporting was predominately related to large commercial organisations with management in conflict with hundreds or thousands of workers, albeit it represented by unions. Today’s it has become more personal. There has been a substantial increase in employer to one or two worker conflicts. Irrespective of the numbers, the principles are the same.
Here discuss and evaluate the causes of conflict between management and labour and ascertain how these should be addressed We will research the appropriateness of law and at what point in the conflict cycle it would be relevant. Conflict between management and labour manifests itself in differing ways. On initial research, it could appear that psychologists, human resource personnel project contradictory conclusions, especially when they promote the theory that conflict can be a positive aspect of the workplace.
For example, the following two statements, delivered in the same researches, on first reading tend to produce conflicting views.
The first concentrates on conflict as a positive aspect. Bagshaw & Falconer (2003). Better solutions. – When people disagree about a plan of action it gets them thinking. They often look again at the plan and notice defects. When nobody raises any doubts, the first plan just goes through. In a study made a year later, on the surface they appear to be promoting the opposite viewpoint.
Falconer et al (2004) 4. Recognising the danger signs – Diane Hall, when does conflict and/or a strong management style become bullying or harassment? What is a hostile work environment? How to recognise inappropriate behaviour? In reality, there is a point at which simple disagreements; the most basic level of conflict, ceases and a conflict becomes aggressive and threatening. This is the point at which it ceases to be constructive conflict and become destructive conflict.
Bagshaw & Falconer (2003) constructive is often labelled ‘cognitive or ‘co-operative’ conflict, destructive conflict is often referred to as ‘dysfunctional’, ‘affective’ or ‘emotional’ conflict because it is driven not by ideas, opinions or the desire for solutions. Causes of Conflict To evaluate the appropriate response, and the prevailing conditions that would necessitate legal intervention, the causes first need to examined and understood. Understanding how conflict arises at work can be very helpful for anticipating situations that may become turbulent.
Sometimes it can seem that smallest incident can start a conflict between your boss and you. Brett Hart (2000) 1) Conflicts can erupt between the employer and the employee because of an initially unrelated incident. For example, where there has been an incident within the home of either party. This could put the person into an argumentative frame of mind every before they start the working day. Already physically affected by the home or other outside event, the stress levels that have built up will produce and adverse reaction to the smallest incident that occurs at work. 2) Unclear responsibilities or misuse thereof.
For example when the boss of the office and a fellow worker takes it upon themselves, without authority, to act as if they are the manager in the bosses absence, or when someone orders you about without authority. 3) Conflicting instructions. This can often happen, especially in the case where there is more than manner. Nothing can be more geared to an eventual conflict than being told by one person in authority to complete a task in a certain way, only to have another manager issue a conflicting order. This is sure to lead to eventual expression of conflict. 4) A cramped work environment.
Possibly the ultimate breeding ground for conflict. 5) Personal Values. Each one of us has a personal value and code of ethics. Nevertheless, no two of us will have exactly the same values. Conflict is bound to erupt unless there is an acceptance of another’s point of view. 6) Breakdown of working systems. In the modern office, virtually every process is machine operated to a greater or lesser extent. Nothing is more likely to create a breeding ground for conflict than the inability of being able to complete ones allotted assignments, especially as the tend to be time sensitive. ) The worse forms of conflict are bullying, victimisation and those of a sexual nature. This would include suggestive sexual behaviour by word or deed. This is the one cause for which there would be no other recourse but through the courts. The effect of conflict on the persons involved All forms of conflict affect the person concerned. In the majority of cases, this could manifest itself in both mental as well as physical ways. Conflicts will lead to a lowering of moral and reluctance to work. This would be counterproductive to all parties.
It will also have the knock on effect of reducing efficiency. In addition, as long as the problem remains the same, the mental condition of the person affected. The conflict arising could exacerbate the situation. Friction will result and this will eventually lead to a total breakdown of the teamwork ethos. Tensions will become apparent and antagonism between employees could develop. Angry people are also more likely to suffer from particular physical illnesses. If we get shaken or agitated and pop our top, we explode.
In this case, what shakes us up is physical arousal Condescension, verbal aggression, criticism, contempt, and sarcasm can be subtler forms of anger that will also damage relationships and ruin careers. (Brett Hart 2000). Managing the Conflict It should be remembered in some cases Frequent unresolved misunderstandings and arguments occur, hence the advocating of communication, even if it is simply a private conversation between the manager and worker. It is surprising how often this will resolve the conflict efficiency and effectively.
Once a cause for conflict has been identified, the next step is to seek a solution to the problem. For this to occur does mean that both parties, manager and employee, need to be involved with the process, Often the difficulty in this respect is that many employees feel too intimidated to be able to discuss such delicate issues with their employer. What has to be borne in mind is that, in some of the causes the employer may not even realise that a problem has arisen. It is a matter of fairness and justice that the matter must be discuss with the employer to give them the opportunity of addressing the core problem.
Our experience is that this is the norm with the majority of employers. Master & Albright (2002) observed. In most areas of their lives, people thrive on conflict, yet in the workplace they try to steer clear. Conflict, though, is a healthy way to challenge the existing order and essential to change in the workplace. . Falconer et al (2004) 8. Reaching agreement in specific cases of conflict – Dave Liddle. Grievance procedure. Disciplinary procedure. Workplace counsellors. Negotiation Team conferences. Conciliation and mediation. Arbitration.
If the all the conciliatory processes have been progressed in a fair, just and honest basis by both management and employee, the vast majority of conflicts should have been satisfactorily resolved. If so then it may be possible to repair the work relationship and return to the workplace in the knowledge that both parties have communicated their differing opinions and taken on board the views of the other. It is often the case that a post conflict manager/worker relationship will be much more meaningful and stable because both parties have an understanding of the others point of view and their feelings.
In essence there has been a “clearing of the air. ” Only if the conflict between the manager and worker has escalated beyond all these conciliation procedures without resolution, or is in the nature of the two conflicts described in paragraphs 7) and 8) of the listed conflicts should one utilise the law. When the law is applicable to conflict in the workplace Unless the conflict is of a serious nature application to the courts should be a last resort. It is clear by taking this step, both signifying that the work relationship is at an end. Bullying, victimisation and sexual conflicts are a step apart.
The healthy working relationship was ended the minute the offending party committed the first offence. Everyone in the workplace, irrespective of colour, creed or gender, has the right to be treated with consideration in the work place, and this applies to the managers treatment of his staff as any other relationship. It was to protect the workers rights in this respect that the dignity at work act was introduced. As can be seen from the following extract, the employer can be legally held to account should they harass or bully an employee.
Dignity at work Act (2001) sch 1 (2) Right to dignity at work. Subject to section 5 of this Act, an employer commits a breach of the right to dignity at work of an employee if that employee suffers during his employment with the employer harassment or bullying or any act, omission or conduct which causes him to be alarmed or distressed. In schedule two, the act extends the rights of the employee to encompass the offence of victimisation and/or being unfairly treated as against other workers. Dignity at work Act (2001) sch (2) Victimisation.
An employer commits a breach of the right to dignity at work of an employee if he treats that employee less favourably than he would treat other persons. It is the opinion of the author that, should a person experience harassment, bullying or victimisation at work, they should not hesitate to take action through the courts. Such action not only will lead to the offended employee receiving redress for the offences they have suffered. They will also be assisting in the gradual elimination of such offences from the workplace.
In addition to this act, there are also acts dealing with sexual harassment and sexual conflicts. Conclusion We find that different levels of conflicts exit in the workplace between Management and Labour. At the lesser end, constructive criticism can be an aid to the development of the business and beneficial to the employer/employee relationship. Once conflict moves into the area of destructive conflict, the relationship is in danger of breaking down. It is our conclusion that it is within these areas of conflict that serious consideration be given to utilising the law to protect you and others from the perpetrators.
For acts of sexual conflict, the law is an important tool. We further found that, in a reasonable number of incidences, the use of an intermediary is an ideal vehicle if both parties wish to continue the working relationship. Further, we would advocate an openness of expression be the norm rather than the exception. No problem can be solved without freedom of expression for both parties.
Masters, M. F. and Albright, R. R (2002). The Complete Guide to Conflict in the Workplace. Amacom. Bagshaw, M and Falconer, H. Editors 2003) IRS Managing Conflict in the Workplace, Butterworth-Heinemann, UK Thompson, N. (2001) Tackling Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace. Pepar Press HM Stationery Office Dignity at Work Act 2001 http://www. parliament. the-stationery-office. co. uk/pa/ld200102/ldbills/031/2002031. pdf Falconer, Heather; Bashaw, M; Liddle,D. Hall,D. & McCindle. (2004) Managing Conflict in The Workplace. Tolley Hart, Brett (2000). Conflict in the Workplace. Behavioral Consultants. Retrieved from the WWW. www. behavioralconsultants. com/Newsletters/conflict_in_the_workplace. htm
Cite this Workplace Conflict Cause and resolution
Workplace Conflict Cause and resolution. (2017, Mar 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/workplace-conflict-cause-and-resolution-2/