Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Reframing workplace relations? Conflict resolution and mediation in a primary care trust

an article by Richard Saundry and Louise McArdle (University of Central Lancashire, UK) and Peter Thomas (Lancaster University, UK) published in Work Employment & Society Volume 27 Number 2 (April 2013)


In recent years, workplace conflict has become increasingly manifest in individual employment disputes as collective labour regulation has been eroded. Accordingly, attention has been focused on finding ways to facilitate the early resolution of such disputes.

Policy-makers have placed a particular emphasis on workplace mediation.

However, the broader impact of mediation on conventional grievance and disciplinary processes and on the workplace relations that underpin them has been largely ignored. This article reports on research into the introduction of an in-house mediation scheme within a primary care trust. It explores the implications of the scheme for: workplace relations within the organisation; the dynamics of conflict management; and trade union influence.

It argues that the introduction of mediation provided a conduit through which positive workplace relations were rebuilt which in turn facilitated informal processes of dispute resolution. Furthermore, it allowed trade unions within the organization to extend their influence into areas traditionally dominated by managerial prerogative.

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