Do union-management learning partnerships reduce workplace conflict?

BENNETT, Anthony (2013). Do union-management learning partnerships reduce workplace conflict? Employee Relations, 36 (1), 17-32.

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on a qualitative study of the views of a cross-section of managers and union officials engaged in joint learning projects on the impact more generally on the employee relations climate in those organisations. Design/methodology/approach – Findings are based on an analysis of interview data incorporating the views and experiences of 32 union representatives and managers engaged in promoting learning in a number of case study projects in North West England. Findings – Findings suggest that union-led learning and development has a clear impact on pre-empting potential performance issues for individuals in terms of better equipping them with the skills to achieve expected performance levels, assisting individuals with managing work-related stress and also to prevent discrimination against workers. Collectively, the managing of downsizing in particular through union-led learning support to retrain in order to redeploy effected staff or better prepare them for new employment opportunities was also a significant finding. Research limitations/implications – The research suggests that successful union-management learning partnerships can also have a positive impact on managing conflict in those organisations. However, further research is needed to test these assertions in other union organised sectors. Practical implications – There are implications for management in recognising the “added value” that partnership working with their unions on learning can bring in terms of also both pre-empting and resolving individual and collective disputes in the workplace. Originality/value – The research is one of few studies that focuses on the link between promoting learning through union-management partnerships and managing conflict in organisations and offers a clear insight into how this can be achieved in practice.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Trade unions, Learning partnerships, Managing conflict
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > People, Work and Organisation
Identification Number:
Page Range: 17-32
Depositing User: Carmel House
Date Deposited: 01 May 2018 10:33
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:47

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