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Title. HRM, Organizational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) Conflict Management: The case of non-union MNC Subsidiaries in Ireland Liam Doherty and Paul Teague The Queens University Belfast. Subtitle. Title Structure of Presentation .

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HRM, Organizational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB)Conflict Management: The case of non-union MNC Subsidiaries in Ireland

Liam Doherty and Paul Teague

The Queens University Belfast


Title structure of presentation
Title Structure of Presentation

  • Why the creation of OCB is an important, yet under-explored, goal of the HR function ?

  • The relationship between OCB and conflict management.

  • The research methodology employed.

  • Main descriptive statistics that emerge from the survey

  • Findings of Interviews with senior HRM managers in some of the surveyed subsidiaries

  • The significance of the findings

Hrm and organizational citizenship behaviour
HRM and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour

  • Nature of HRM in organisations has been dominated by two interrelated themes.

  • The organizational design of the HRM function

  • The employment practices required to create high performing organizations and employees.

  • Relatively little research about how the HRM function contributes to shaping the social system of an organization

  • Paper by Bowen and Ostroff (2004) is a notable exception

  • Key argument of this paper --A core function of HRM is to mould the social system of the organization in a manner that promotes organizational citizenship behaviour.

Defining organizational behaviour
Defining Organizational Behaviour

  • Podsakoff et al (2000) identify seven recurring themes in the related literature

  • OCB manifests itself in employers having a positive commitment to the organization and displaying on-going discretionary effort to help the organization achieve its goals.

  • A key goal of HRM is to elicit this behaviour (Ulrich 1997).

  • On-going debates about the extent to which particular HR policies will engender positive employee behaviour (Caldwell 2003)

Ocb a role for adr
OCB --A Role for ADR ?

  • Popular view in USA that firms are forging a ‘new social contract’ at work by diffusing ADR practices to solve workplace disputes (Lipsky and Seeber 2003).

  • Optimum way to gain employee commitment is to recognise that workplace conflict will be part and parcel of organizational life –need to establish formal arrangements for resolution(Bendersky 2003).

  • Contrast with the more orthodox view that workplace conflict can prevent organizations developing a unitarist culture (see Lewin 1987).

  • Do HR managers use innovative workplace conflict management policies to help forge organizational citizenship behaviour ?

Adr practices surveyed
ADR practices surveyed

  • Mediation

  • Facilitation

  • Arbitration

  • Employee Hotline

  • Open Door Policy

  • Management Review Boards

  • Peer Review

  • Ombudsman

The research
The Research

  • survey of 83 subsidiaries of non-union foreign-owned multinationals located in Ireland.

  • survey administered through face-to-face interviews due to the length of the survey and the nature of the topic.

  • Initially, the survey contained questions about the incidence of conflict in multinationals and how these were resolved, but a pilot survey found that companies were not willing to answer these questions

  • a series of in-depth interviews with senior HR managers in 10 of the subsidiaries that took part in the original survey

Conflict management practices in non union subsidiaires
Conflict Management Practices in non-Union Subsidiaires

  • Formal grievance procedure 100%

  • Mediation 39.5%

  • Facilitation 43.2%

  • Arbitration 18.5%

  • Employee Hotline 25.9%

  • Open Door policy 97.5%

  • Management Review 65.4%

  • Pier Review 6.0%

  • Ombudsperson 6.2%


  • Does your organization have “informal” problem solving mechanisms to detect employee grievances? 96.4%

  • The organization of focus groups 35%

  • HR personnel interacting with employees

    on an informal basis 87.5%

  • Line managers responsible for interacting

    with employees on a informal basis 86.3%

Views from the inside
Views from the Inside mechanisms to detect employee grievances? 96.4%

  • evident that HR managers had a deep antipathy to the ‘conflict management’ paradigm,

  • conflict management not required for the HR function to be strategic in character.

  • No ‘business case’ for innovative workplace conflict management practices

  • HR managers did want the language of conflict or conflict management to be used in the organisation

  • common endeavour is to expunge conflict from the vocabulary of the organisation.

View from the inside
View from the Inside mechanisms to detect employee grievances? 96.4%

  • Do not recognise the inevitably of conflict or the need for formal, easily accessible, procedures to manage conflict management

  • Conflict management procedures are not abandoned but are kept dormant in the HR cupboard only to be used in exceptional circumstances.

  • HR managers are being highly innovative but not in the way suggested by the dominant themes in the literature

  • A form of OCB that seeks to push conflict to the margins –conflict is dissident and deviant

Some views
Some views …. mechanisms to detect employee grievances? 96.4%

  • “Dispute resolution is not part of our language”

  • “I would not invest resources in it (conflict management) compared to recruitment, development or reward”

  • “It does not merit a line in our HR strategy”.

  • “The grievance procedure is for people that do not have a future in our organization.”

  • “I would focus on creating a work environment in which people can feel free to raise any issues without fear or concern for their future”

Conclusions mechanisms to detect employee grievances? 96.4%

  • Subsidiaries of non-union multinationals based in Ireland do not use innovative workplace conflict management practices.

  • No widespread diffusion of ADR-type practices to resolve problems and disputes at work.

  • In an effort to promote organizational citizenship behaviour, HR managers sought to socialize conflict out of the organization