The Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) Survey report of February 2007 entitled: "Managing Conflict at work" reports a survey of 798 participant organizations that employ in excess of 2.2 million employees. This survey reports that the most common causes of workplace disputes are "general behavior and conduct issues" followed by "conflicts over performance, sickness absence and attendance and relationships between colleagues." (CIPD, 2007) According to CIPD conflict generally falls within two broad categories including: (1) Conflict between individuals and involving (a) Colleagues; or (b) Employees and their managers; and (2) Conflict between groups and involving (a) Teams; and (b) Large groups of employee and management. (CIPD, 2009)
CASE STUDY -- PART A - Preparing a Report for the Chief Executive
The first step in preparing a report for the chief executive in this situation is to talk to the employees involved in the conflict in a process that will involve gathering of information and facts. Each of the individuals involved in this situation will be interviewed and their side of the story recorded. Requirements in this process will involve the following actions:
(1) consideration for the "alleged breach of discipline, the circumstances and consequences of the breach;
(2) consideration of the employee's job, experience, length of service and disciplinary record;
(3) consideration of the evidence provided by witnesses;
(4) any recent changes to job;
(5) any previous incidents;
(6) has employee received appropriate counseling or training;
(7) any mitigating circumstances and in this case provocation.
The next step is to review the evidence to make a determination of whether there is:
(1) a case to answer or whether the case is serious enough for disciplinary measures; and (2) an alternative to disciplinary action.
The following list is published by CIPD which is a framework of competency for line managers in managing conflict at work and is a list that should be consulted in the present situation for the purposes of the case study at hand.
ACAS Factsheet (2009)
If this investigation found that in all probability the facts as stated in this case were true then the necessary actions would be to place the duty supervisor on paid leave pending the formal investigation in this case as the duty supervisor breached the rules of conduct in this instance by allowing the employees to go outside of the workplace during their regularly scheduled shift and on a shift that barred employees leaving the workplace during the time period between 9:00 P.M. And 6:00 A.M.
According to the ACAS Code of Practice "Factsheet" employ misconduct may range from being late on a continued basis to other more serious offenses. The more serious the offense then the more serious the misconduct assigned to the employee. The first stage of the disciplinary actions is the sending of a letter to the employee which is followed next by a meeting on the issue. If the employee is unhappy with the determination made in the hearing on the issue the employee has a right to proceed to step three of the process which is the filing of an appeal of the determination made at the meeting stage of the process. It is the responsibility of the line manager to ensure that:
(1) all facts are investigated;
(2) Make sure the employee understands the letter to them and that they are allowed to have a companion present in the meeting;
(3) Reasonable notice of at least 72 hours is given;
(4) The provision of statements from other people involved in the incident is available to the employee in advance of the hearing.
ACAS relates that "natural justice" is a fundamental principle of "fairness" and that it is necessary that the organization's procedures and policies are inclusive of the key aspects that characterize "natural justice" which includes:
(1) A fair hearing;
(2) Explanation of the reasoning behind a decision;
(3) Impartiality; and (4) A chance to appeal the initial decision. (ACAS, 2009)
In regards to Watson, the new recruit, while his offense was serious, simultaneously the shift supervisor and three other operators are viewed as having provoked the actions of the new recruit as they should have been role models setting the proper example for the new recruit. The operators should not be suspended but should be counseled as to the seriousness of the offense committed.
Policies and practices that should be instituted in this case would be to the effect that security guards report immediately to the HR manager all instances of employees who are leaving and returning during this shift and the documentation that the supervisor has provided allowing the employee to do so.
II. CASE STUDY -- PART B -- Why Organizations Need to Have Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and Factors that Need to be Considered in the Design and Implementation of Such Procedures
The Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) relates in its April 2009 publication that disciplinary and grievance procedures "provide a clear and transparent framework to deal with difficulties which may arise as part of their working relationship from either the employer's or employee's perspective. They are necessary to ensure that everybody is treated in the same way in similar circumstances, to ensure issues are dealt with fairly and reasonably, that employers are compliant with current legislation and follow the ACAS Code of Practice for handling disciplinary and grievance issues." (Chartered Institute of Personal Development, 2009) Disciplinary procedures are needed for the reasons as follows:
(1) To inform employees of the expectations of their standards of performance and their conduct as well as the consequences of failure on a continuing basis in meeting these standards;
(2) Identification of obstacles to individuals in achieving the standards as required and appropriate action to be taken;
(3) To make provision of the chance for an agreement to be established on goals and timescales for the individual's improvement in conduct or performance;
(4) Attempt to find a resolution to matters without recourse to an employment tribunal; and (5) As a reference for an employment tribunal in the instance that an employee complains about the method of dismissal. (Chartered Institute of Personal Development, 2009)
In the same April 2009 publication, the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) states that grievance procedures are necessary for the reasons stated as follows:
(1) To make provision of a course of action for individuals should a complaint arise which they are not able to resolve through talking with their line manager;
(2) To make the provision of points of contact as well as timescales for resolution of issues; and (3) To attempt the resolution of matters and avoid recourse to an employment tribunal. (Chartered Institute of Personal Development, 2009)
According to the ACAS Code of Practice published in April 2009 entitled: "Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures" disciplinary situations are those related to "misconduct and/or poor performance" and grievances are "concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employers." (ACAS, 2009) ACAS states that the Code promotes fairness and transparency "by developing and using rules and procedures for handling disciplinary and grievance situations" and that these should be "set down in writing" and should be both "specific and clear." (2009)
Key to handling disciplinary issues in the workplace is the establishment of the facts in each case. Specifically stated is the necessity to "carry out necessary investigations of potential disciplinary matters without unreasonable delay to establish the facts of the case. In some cases this will require the holding of an investigatory meeting with the employee before proceeding to any disciplinary hearing. In others, the investigatory stage will be the collation of evidence by the employer for use at any disciplinary hearing." (ACAS, 2009)
In cases of misconduct and where it is practical the investigation and disciplinary hearing should be conducted by different individuals. If after conduction of the investigation the decision is made that there is a disciplinary case the employee should be notified in writing of this decision. The notification sent to the employee should contain enough information about the "alleged misconduct or poor performance and its possible consequences to enable the employee to prepare to answer the case at a disciplinary meeting." (ACAS, 2009)
The Chartered Institute of Personal Development states that the following comprises a checklist for the organization in the area of discipline and grievance procedures administered properly:
(1) Train managers in handling difficult communications with employees;
(2) Institute "clear discipline, grievance and dispute procedures for dealing with conflict;
(3) Consider obtaining outside assistance when it is needed;
(4) Provide encouragement for open expression of opinions;
(5) Recognize the importance of feelings;
(6) Listen to what employees have to say;
(7) Focus on interests instead of positions and personalities. (CIPD, 2009)
ACAS reports that problem-solving cycles are useful and practical for use in working in a systematic way with colleagues since these provide:
(1) time to gather thoughts and collect data;
(2) a plan of action; and (3) the chance to consider all possible options. (2009)
The following illustration relates the problem-solving…