Title goes here

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
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
The significance of the findings
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
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
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
Employee Hotline
Open Door Policy
Management Review Boards
Peer Review
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
Formal grievance procedure
Employee Hotline
Open Door policy
Management Review
Pier Review
• Does your organization have “informal” problem solving
mechanisms to detect employee grievances?
• The organization of focus groups
• HR personnel interacting with employees
on an informal basis
• Line managers responsible for interacting
with employees on a informal basis
Views from the Inside
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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 ….
• “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”
• 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