Human Resource Conflict Management and Employee Relations Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Integrate the Relevant Information Found Both In Organizations Today and in Research

Human resource management HRM is considered to be an integral part of any organization to make it run effectively and efficiently. Fundamentally, the principal objective of HRM is to upsurge the economic profitability from employees through making them organized in a productive, inventive and powered force (Price 2007, p.31).

HR function includes many activities like planning, recruitment and appraisal (Pulignano, 2010). But this paper will only focus on the employee relations, with certain details about conflict resolution. The objective of this paper is to familiarize the reader to the critical concerns in conflict management. To attain this objective, employees' relations will be highlighted from HR point-of-view, which will eventually reveal various levels of conflicts taking place in an organization. Different methods and disputes will be discussed which are adopted by HR managers to solve employee alterations. The role of trade unions in determining labor quagmires will also be highlighted. Moreover, there will be a case study based on hands-on evidence, in order to determine different techniques used by managers in two different countries. In the last, conclusion will reiterate various relentless issues of contemporary employee relations though the dimension of UK and Russia. This will discriminate between theory and practice.

HRM activities

Employee relations

Primarily, employee relations is about dealing with obviations along with solving disputes which involve individuals having influence of work conditions and situations (Gospel and Palmar 1993, p.3). The most significant fact is that that employee relation is different from industrial relation to the extent that there lays an inclination on straight communication with the labor and communication with the staff at individual level (Matthew et al., 2011). Matthew et al. (2011) on a general note argued that organization should have the capability to handle employees on both indivisual and representative basis.

Handling organizational conflict

This can be claimed that conflict might consume some of the precious HR resources which could focus more on other activities, including the crucial objective of the organization. Thus, conflict management is an organization is measured with certain rules and established procedures (Williams et al., 2011). There are two levels of conflict in an organization which are defined by Jozsef et al. (2010). The levels are collective level and the individual level. Collective conflict may result in provoked industrial actions like walk outs, overtime bans and go-slows while individual conflicts may cause subversive actions like truancy or high personnel turnover etc.

Conflict resolution: a theoretical framework

Techniques HR managers use for conflict management

There are numerous techniques for conflict management which can be implemented al at levels of an organization. Wilson (2007) is a strong advocate about adopting five methods to cope up with certain kinds of conflicts in the work place. The first technique is "straight speaking" which means that managers should encourage his staff to refrain from "beating the bush" and should direct about what they want to say. Second trick is about being a generous listener. Sincere listening involves listening to what others say without being judgmental about their flow of thought because prejudging may lead to negative misconceptions resulting in prejudice. Third concept is about "honoring agreements" which involves respecting internal and external views along with oral and non-oral. The other method is "making requests." This means that if any employee fails to fulfil any agreement he should be offered an alternative adjustment. The last approach is mentoring which should be adopted by HR. successful mentor system should be set up so that employee can learn the ropes and recognize the core practices of an organization.

Types of conflicts they manage

Leopold, Harris and Watson (2005, p. 410) considered that "conflict is a facet of cooperation and cooperation is a facet of conflict." In order to illustrate this outward paradox, different types of conflicts and their classification in different categories can be examined. Studies confirm that HR manager has to resolve specific conflicts in each kind of dispute. For instance, interpersonal conflicts are caused by lack of communication, personal irritations, jealousy, insulting each other or insults while Operations issues tend to happen during the assignment of work duties, scheduling vacations, sick leave, doing over time or work load. Discipline Conflicts may be caused by irregular attendance, use of drugs, theft, sleeping during work hours or violating policies. Sexual harassment occurs when someone offends or touch person of opposite sex. There may be bias attitude because of race difference. There may be some conflicts in pays and promotions and some might disagree with compensations, transfers, seniority and bumping rights. Quality of work, speed of performance, dependencies, responsibilities and scheduling may also cause some conflicts in work flow.

Role of trade unions in regulating employee disputes

According to Demirbas and Yukhanaev (2011) perspective, trade union pursues various methods including collective bargaining, individual representation or joint consultation in order to influence or control the structure of employee relations ship.

If any conflict between employer and employee tend to remain unresolved, employer can take measures against employees while the employees union may take action against their employer. Farnhan (200, p.7) argues that a union stables the power between management and working staff. In case, if any employer is a member of a trade union, the person has to inform the work place representative about the conflict before taking any formal action. The trade union will then further advice about best way to raise a complaint and also accompany an employee to the meetings. Employers who have recognition with trade unions write down different procedures to discuss with representatives collective complaints or other important issues which affect workplace or a part of it. Those written procedures are important and can be utilized to resolve emerging problems at an initial stage.

Conflict resolution: a comparative case study of UK and Russia

British approach to the employee relations

British employees were once popular for their constant industrial quarrels and strikes (Price, 2007). Hollinshead, Nicholls and Tailby (2003) point out that any worker in UK has a right to take industrial actions, but that worker must recognize certain legal and practical aftermath. However, Hardy and Kozek (2011) argue that withdrawal of trade unions result in worst people management. Certainly, trade unions force managers to do their duty.

UK businesses are badly influenced by poor management of workplace conflicts as told by impressive body of evidence (McHenry, 2008). It was also observed by McHenry (2008) that the average worker in UK spends more than two hours a week in dealing with conflicts. This causes the loss of more than 370 million working days a year which eventually costs British employers more than £24 billion." (p. 19).

Recent studies showed that British employees are more likely to feel unfavorable emotions due to conflicts. After a survey, 65% of British employees confessed to feel animosity and disappointment due to the disputes occurred at work. This tells that UK workers are not easily annoyed but once they are irritated, the emotional intensity extends considerably. In general, only 12% of workforce sees a conflict as a constructive occasion which makes them feel energized while 24% on average thought the same in other countries.22% of the employees are used to of conflicts. They prefer to suppress their emotions rather than finding a conflict resolution in a work place. But it was concluded that out of all the surveys being conducted in different countries, UK employees experiences least conflicts (as cited in McHenry, 2008).

Employee relations in Russia

Employee relations in Russia are regulated by the Labour Code. Alasheev (2005, p.11) enlightens that Labour Code offers a complete structure of labor's terms and conditions' regulation. It also extends extraordinary rights and protection to trade union while the collective agreements experience juridical status. Russia is proud about the fact that the legal regulation and the protection for labor is the most advanced development in the world.

The present labor code is very much employee directed and if there is any conflict, the court outweighs the code clauses over the individual labor contract and favors the employee.

Final body of the research shows that on one hand Russian HR manager could be less confidenttill the problem is exposed on the senior level while on the other hand managers have a right to take notice of conflict and seek its resolution (Alasheev, 2005, p.23). Russian managers are knowledgeable but they lack impartiality. If there is a conflict that pitted an employee against the organization or any member, Manager assists in information collection, decision making or in executing resolution.


Conflict in an organization can be either on personal or collective level but it depends on HR management that how they deal with such conflicts more effectively. Each manager has its own set of techniques to cope up with such conflicts. However, the types of conflicts a manager faces every day are different and diverse which may include workforce dilemmas, operational issues or interpersonal dilemmas. Trade unions should also be considered as they hold a…

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