Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Conflict Management in Organizations

By Hennessy, Jennifer | Irish Journal of Management, January 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Conflict Management in Organizations


Hennessy, Jennifer, Irish Journal of Management


Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Conflict Management in Organizations Edited by William K. Roche, Paul Teague, and Alexander J.S. Colvin, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2014

This book offers a multidimensional review on conflict management including theoretical perspectives, approaches to conflict management, exemplars and innovators in the area and international developments in the field. Roche, Teague and Colvin provide a comprehensive introduction to developments in conflict management, which set the scene for the rest of the text. In each of the sections which follow, their introduction weaves the various chapter themes together to provide a sense of cohesion and logic to what is often an unwieldy range of topics within the subject area.

Part one notes in the introduction how conflict management and dispute resolution has been an undertheorised area and draws from a wide domain to explore theoretical perspectives in the field while also raising the question of how we wish to think about the 'implications of conflict and its management and resolution within organisations' (p. 8). Chapter one challenges the goals and assumptions that underpin views of conflict management in organisations. Chapter two asks questions of labour-management conflict, where does it come from, why it varies and what it means for conflict management systems? Chapter three focuses on employment rights and workplace conflict from a governance perspective, and finally in this part of the text, chapter four highlights the relationship between HRM and conflict management, focusing specifically on employee voice mechanisms.

Part two examines the various approaches that organisations can adopt to conflict management, from both an individual and collective perspective. This section is particularly rich in content, providing a multilevel analysis of conflict in organisations, while also exploring both traditional and alternative forms of conflict management. Chapter five deals with collective bargaining and grievance procedures, with chapter nine also focused on grievance procedures, but from the specific perspective of non-unionised environments. In chapter six, there is an examination of third-party processes in employment disputes and chapter seven systematically deals with interestbased bargaining. Chapter eight looks at the burgeoning area of workplace mediation. …

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