Integrating Conflict: A Proposed Framework for the Interdisciplinary Study of Workplace Conflict and its Management

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[Excerpt] Conflict and its management are perennial dimensions of organizational life--ever present with significant consequences for a host of employer and employee related outcomes. All organizations, regardless of industry, union status, workforce characteristics, managerial strategy, organizational culture, or performance levels are confronted with the need to address, deal with or manage the myriad manifestations of workplace conflict. As such, all organizations manage conflict in one way or another, whether they adopt a proactive stance or whether they are avoidant and reactive. Recognized as a central workplace feature, scholars from a variety of different disciplines, including, but not limited to, industrial relations, organizational behavior, and law, have devoted a great deal of conceptual and empirical attention to the study of conflict and conflict management. Much of this, scholarship, however, has been conducted in isolation with limited cross-disciplinary engagement. The central argument set forth in this paper is that conflict scholarship has paid a hefty price for the disciplinary silos that have emerged across these domains. Each of these disciplines has provided a wealth of conflict related findings and insights that have advanced existing knowledge. At the same time, these insights have, for the most part, been incomplete due to the absence of integration across longstanding, well defined, and mostly impenetrable disciplinary boundaries. As a result, the scholarly and practical utility of the body of knowledge that has been amassed across these different disciplines has been, at times, limited.
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workplace conflict; conflict scholarship; employee relations
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