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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Workplace conflict and its management in the United States have undergone dramatic transformations over the course of the past forty years. This chapter examines the state of conflict resolution in the United States through the lens of two underlying tensions, one between individualism and collectivism and the other between reactive and strategic organizational approaches to conflict management. In the first section, the authors examine how these key tensions have played out in recent years by analyzing data on corporate alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practices and policies recently obtained from a survey of the Fortune 1000. In the second section, the authors assess the tension between individualism and collectivism by examining the relationship between the extent of unionism in these large corporations and their use of ADR. Finally, using the Fortune 1000 data they argue for a strategic approach to the study of workplace conflict management. In doing do, the authors argue that a comprehensive understanding of the current state of workplace conflict management in the United States requires an examination of the forces and pressures that have shaped the ways in which organizations, employees, and their representatives deal with tensions, disagreements, and conflict.

Keywords: conflict management, alternative dispute resolution, strategy, individualism, collectivism, unions

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