Exploring how Conflict Management Training Changes Workplace Conflicts: A Qualitative Case Study

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While many organisations offer conflict management training to both staff and management, there has been little research investigating the changes resulting from such training. Using an interpretive framework of analysis, a qualitative case study was conducted to understand how 'sensemakings' about conflicts change when enacted from the perspective of staff and management in a non-profit organisation that participated in conflict management training. The case study was constructed as a longitudinal investigation with ethnographic fieldwork as the primary method of inquiry. The training worked as a catalyst for the development of new sensemakings about workplace conflicts. These included increasing acknowledgement of workplace conflicts, recognition of interdependent and context embedded relationships in interpersonal conflicts, and enactment of active resistance in a subordinated occupational group. Some conflicts did not change through training, where the perpetual structural bases of the conflicts remained intact. Insights from the study call attention to the embedding of conflict in the organisation's social fabric. As a practical implication of the study, trainers in conflict management are recommended to give more weight to the structural dimensions of conflict and organisational level conflict management when putting training programmes together.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Conflictology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)7-17
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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