12:00 - 13:00
Dr Elaine Yerby and Dr Ruth Reaney
Lectures, talks and seminars
Centre for Work, Organisation and Society (CWOS) Research Seminar Series
Essex Business School
Dr Sophie Hales email@example.com
This seminar will explore hybrid and remote conflict management drawing on evidence from the UK Higher Education sector. Emergent themes will be presented, which indicate that participants see the online environment as contributing to the cause of conflicts, but the shift to online environment has prompted innovation in dispute resolution. Thus, the seminar offers insight into the impact of technology on conflict management and dispute resolution within organisations and indicates the need to investigate how organisations might capture the benefits of the online environment while reducing its negative effects.
Workplace conflict in the UK costs approximately £28.5 billion per year (ACAS, 2021) in lost productivity costs, and lengthy grievance and disciplinary procedures. Conflict can manifest itself in various forms on both a collective and individual basis, through direct means such as strike action, and indirect means such as labour turnover and absenteeism (c.f. Ackroyd, 2008; Collinson and Ackroyd, 2005). In recent years, there has been a focus on the uptake of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve such conflict (Hann et al, 2019). However, given the shift to remote and hybrid forms of working accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as wider changes driven by advanced mobile technologies, machine learning and artificial intelligence, the ways in which people are managed and interact with customers, clients, and colleagues are changing (CIPD, 2021). As such, new localities and causes of conflict, grievances and disciplinaries can arise. Whilst there is general evidence and guidance for how to effectively manage remote teams and hybrid work to avoid workplace conflict, to date there is limited sector-specific evidence relating to the type of grievances and disciplinary issues caused in these types of working environments. In addition, the role of emerging technologies that underpin these working practices could play in formal and informal dispute resolution is yet to be extensively examined.
This research seeks to address these gaps by conducting a qualitative study within the UKHE sector, which offers a quasi-public and unionised context where a range of organisational actors are involved in the management of conflict. In pursuing this objective, it draws on semi-structured interviews with HR managers and trade union representatives in UKHE Institutions to explore their experiences and perceptions of managing conflict in hybrid and remote environments. Emergent themes from this data indicate that participants see the online environment as contributing to the cause of conflicts, but the shift to online environment has prompted innovation in dispute resolution. Thus, the research offers insight into the impact of technology on conflict management and dispute resolution within organisations and indicates the need to investigate how organisations might capture the benefits of the online environment while reducing its negative effects.
This seminar is free to attend with no need to register in advance. The seminar will take place on Wednesday 23 November 2022 at 12pm
We welcome you to come join us in person in room CTC.3.04 in the Causeway Teaching Centre.
If you can't make it to us we will also be streaming this seminar online.
Dr Elaine Yerby is Senior Lecturer in HRM at Essex Business School where she is the Programme Director for OS/HRM programmes and Deputy Director of the MBA. Previous roles include Senior Lecturer in HRM Practice at LSE and prior to this managed the MSc HRM and completed her PhD at the University of East London. Elaine is a committed practitioner – researcher and practices workplace mediation as part of a pan-London Higher Education group. Her research has explored conflict in the gig economy, HR careers and new approaches to conflict management.
Dr Ruth Reaney is a Lecturer in Human Resource Management at the Adam Smith Business School. Prior to this, she was an LSE Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, having completed a PhD in Management at Queen’s University Belfast in 2018. Ruth’s research interests relate broadly to work and employment in the context of wider institutional and societal change.