Human Resource Management: Managing Conflict in the Workplace in Britain and Russia

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CONTENTS

1. Introduction

2. HRM activities

2.1 Employee relations
2.2 Handling organisational conflict

3. Conflict resolution: a theoretical framework

3.1 Techniques HR managers use for conflict management
3.2 Types of collisions they manage
3.3 Role of trade unions in regulating employee disputes

4. Conflict resolution: a comparative case study of UK and Russia

4.1 British approach to the employee relations
4.2 Employee relations in Russia

5. Conclusion

6. List of references
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1. Introduction

Managing human resources (HRM) appears to be a part and parcel of effective and efficient organisation. Inherently, the underlying gist of HRM is to maximise economic profitability from employees by organising them into a combined, productive and inventive power of force (Price 2007, p.31).

A number of activities can be identified in the HR function, for example “planning, recruitment and appraisal” (McKenna and Beech, 1995, p.4). However, this work will only highlight the employee relations, with particular attention to conflict resolution. The purpose of this project is therefore to introduce the reader to the critical issues in conflict management. Firstly, to achieve this, I will look at the employee relations from HR standpoint, thus uncovering several levels of conflict in the organisation. Secondly, I will describe the types of disputes and the methods HR managers adopt to solve employee altercations. On top of that, we will glimpse at the role of trade unions in resolving labour quagmires. Thirdly, a comparative case study based on hands-on evidence would be given to highlight techniques managers apply in two different countries. Lastly, the inference will recapitulate numerous of the incessant thorny problems of contemporary employee relations through the UK-Russian dimension. Hence, revealing the discrepancy between theory and practice.

2. HRM activities
2.1 Employee relations

Essentially, employee relations are dealing with obviation and resolving issues involving individuals which influence work situations (Gospel and Palmar 1993, p.3). What is significant is the fact that employee relations differ from industrial relations to the extent that there is an inclination on direct communication with the labour and liaison with the staff at the level of individual (Bright, 1993, p.42). On a more general note, Bright (1993) argued that organisations need to be capable of handling with employees on both an individual and a representative basis.

2.2 Handling organisational conflict

There may be some justification for claiming that conflict might dissipate precious human resources that would be better focused to other activities, including the pivotal objective of the organisation. Thereby, managing conflict in an organisation is regulated by the rules and established procedures (Edwards, 1994). Sparrow and Hiltrop (1994, p.186) identify two levels of conflict in organisation: the collective level and the individual level. With regard to the collective conflict, it can provoke industrial actions including walkouts, go-slows and overtime bans. Likewise, individual conflict may expose itself as truancy, high personnel turnover and other subversive actions.

3. Conflict resolution: a theoretical framework
3.1 Techniques HR managers use for conflict management

Several effective conflict management techniques can be executed at all levels of an organisation. As a case in point, Wilson (n.d., p.4) advocates to adopt five methods to curb certain types of conflict in the workplace. The first technique is "straight speaking". In other words, manager should embolden his staff members to abstain from "beating around the bush." His second concept is “generous listening”. It involves sincere listening without prejudging others or their flow of thoughts, this, by-turn, eliminates “negative misconceptions” that...
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