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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Recent decades have seen a significant shift in the pattern of workplace conflict in the UK. While the scale and scope of collective industrial action has rapidly contracted, there has been a sustained rise in litigation over individual employment disputes. This chapter examines the key factors that have influenced these changes and charts the development of the regulatory framework governing the UK’s system of dispute resolution. It also assesses the development of organizational approaches to the management of conflict. It argues that the erosion of effective structures of employee representation, coupled with the devolution of responsibility for conflict handling from human resources practitioners to operational line managers, has created a “resolution gap.” Crucially, policy initiatives that are primarily focused on the avoidance of employment litigation have the potential to reduce incentives for organizations to make strategic investments in rebuilding conflict management capacity.

Keywords: conflict, resolution, mediation, employment, management, representation

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