Navigating self-managed conflict resolution: a case study

Kristine Olson, Benjamin Hopkins

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This study examines how an organization-wide self-managed interpersonal conflict resolution system is experienced from the point of view of permanent and seasonal employees. Twenty semi-structured interviews and observations at a single agricultural organization were used to assess the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) system. Employee reports were coded by determining if the conflict was owing to processes, relationships, or tasks problems, as well as determining if each conflict was resolved with accommodating, aggressive, avoidant, or collaborative resolution tactics. Interestingly, it was the permanent employees who initiated a majority of conflict resolution processes. Furthermore, only permanent employees opted to utilize aggressive tactics, usually by demanding that their colleagues quit the job at the organization. The findings indicate the importance of ADR training in order to develop confidence among seasonal employees to initiate resolution processes as well as the importance of teaching resolution tactics as a means of reducing employee termination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding information: The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


  • Conflict resolution
  • non-standard employment
  • self-management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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