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Dealing with Employee-Employer Conflict

written by: Vikas Vij•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 11/10/2010

Dealing with employee employer conflict is an art. If managed skilfully, conflict can be the catalyst for positive change and strengthen the business organization instead of weakening it.

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    Dealing With Employee-Employer Conflict

    Conflict between Management and Employees In a competitive business environment, it is natural to have disagreements and conflicts at the workplace in certain situations. A democratic business organization allows room for employee employer conflict, but at the same time it must have a sound mechanism in place to deal with such conflict effectively. The root cause of such conflict in most cases is that the goals of the employee are at variance with the goals of the employer. Therefore, for conflict resolution it is critical to ensure that organizational goals are common for both the employer and the employee, and the organization is above any one individual, including the employer.

    Dealing with Conflict Positively

    Conflict in any organization is often the agent of change. Therefore, as long as employee employer conflict can be managed constructively, it is not necessarily an unhealthy phenomenon from an organizational perspective. Conflict should lead to an introspective behavior on part of both parties. With skillful handling of the situation, the employee will be compelled to review his or her own weaknesses and evaluate own work performance and individual aspirations which must be in tandem with the mission and objectives of the organization. The employer, on his part, must evaluate if there is a lack of communication that creates conditions for misunderstandings, disputes or conflict, or if there is a weakness in the management policies that creates a negative environment of unfairness, distrust and dissent. With such, a constructive approach to look within, every conflict can only lead to an improvement and further consolidation of the organization.

    Resolving Employee Employer Conflict through Mediation

    The business organization should ideally have an internal system of mediation in place which can be brought into action in the event of a serious conflict that cannot be resolved mutually between the two involved parties. In many cases, organizations rely on third party mediation because of its objectivity and neutrality toward both conflicting sides. There are professional conflict resolution companies that provide mediator services to resolve employee employer conflicts. The mediator is trained to find constructive and fair solutions with an aim to create a win-win situation for the organization. The mandate given to the mediator is clear that his sole priority must be to provide a solution that is in the best interests of the organization, irrespective of its effect on the individuals involved the conflict.

    Conflict Resolution through Arbitration

    In a situation where the mediator fails to resolve the conflict between the employer and the employee, the next best recourse may be to opt for arbitration. The role of an arbitrator is more formal than that of a mediator. Both parties that are engaged in the conflict make a formal agreement to abide by the decision of the arbitrator. Whatever judgment is passed by the arbitrator becomes binding on both parties. The advantage of arbitration is that it helps to avoid the eventuality of complex and expensive litigation and makes an out-of-court settlement, which is in larger interests of all parties involved.

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