Relatively little is known about the complex inter–relationships between the various expressions of workplace conflict. This is an important topic because a full understanding is necessary for successful dispute resolution, to predict future developments such as form or method displacement, and perhaps most significantly, to develop conflict theory. Thus, a key purpose of this chapter is to build theory by examining the relationship between expressions of conflict. Conflict at work (or workplace conflict) has been broadly defined to include such forms as absenteeism, theft, sabotage, turnover, grievances, job actions and strikes. The most studied expressions are undoubtedly grievances and strikes but we know very little about their inter–relationship. Are they complementary or competitive? Are they alternatives or substitutes? The literature provides only anecdotal evidence of their relationship and no theory. Consequently, this chapter develops and tests, at least in an introductory fashion, a theory of workplace conflict that will provide hypotheses about expression relationships. To date scholars from various disciplines have conducted conceptual and empirical studies to address whether, and how, conflict can be managed or resolved (see, for example, De Dreu 2008, Jehn 1997, Morill et al. 2003, Wheeler 1985). But to address these issues, enquiries must be conducted into the nature of workplace conflict and its dynamics. To better understand these latter two issues, it is necessary to consider the literatures on workplace conflict from several disciplines and then integrate their findings into a comprehensive theory (Bendersky 2003, Feuille and Wheeler 1981).
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- A Theory of Workplace Conflict Development: From Grievances to Strikes
Sung Chul Noh
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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