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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how different goals and assumptions about conflict in organizations shape perspectives on managing conflict and resolving disputes. Four frames of reference are described: the neoliberal egoist perspective emphasizing the operation of the free market as the ideal method of resolving conflict; the critical perspective emphasizing broad societal divisions between labor and capital as the source of conflict; the unitarist perspective viewing conflict as primarily a function of interpersonal differences and organizational dysfunction, which can be remedied by improved managerial practice; and the pluralist perspective emphasizing the mixture of common and competing interests in the employment relationship, which requires institutional interventions to remedy the inequality of bargaining power that produces conflict. The pluralist perspective may best balance the often competing goals of efficiency, equity, and voice. It is described further in this chapter together with its implications for the design of dispute resolution procedures and conflict management systems.

Keywords: conflict management, dispute resolution, employment relations

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