Workplace Conflict Management: Legal Intentions Versus Managers’ Experiences
Greenwood, G; Rasmussen, E
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The Employment Relations Act (ERA) 2000 aims for early resolution of employment relationship problems (ERPs) and good faith behaviour to “build mutual trust and confidence in all aspects of the employment environment”. The policy intentions for problem solving, facilitation and mediation have not been evaluated. Drawing on conflict events and ERPs, this paper investigates relational trust from ongoing PhD research in the primary education sector. These preliminary findings emerged during coding of first order themes from 33 semi-structured interviews. While identifying positive outcomes of conflict and ERPs, participants reported trust was easily damaged and complaints fuelled conflict. On one hand, ERPs were resolved collaboratively; on the other hand, settlement of ERPs by termination and financial exit packages were reported. These findings are discussed in the context of international literature about conflict management.