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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Process choice in the resolution of labour-management relations problems Coleman, Richard S.


Two process frameworks are available to solve labour-management problems. One is based on the conflict aspect of the industrial relationship, while the other exploits the relationship's symbiotic nature. The study examined why specific problems are assigned to particular processes with the view that such an analysis would indicate the potential for cooperation. A decision model was proposed which isolates various conditions and resulting behaviors relating to the procedure of problem resolution. In the absence of a method for determining the universal nature of problems it was suggested that individual problems are independently categorized by each party according to their potential for a win/win or win/lose solution. Once each party has independently arrived at a classification for a single problem, a choice of process is effected by the domineering nature of the distributive bargaining process, the presence of audiences, and the need to maintain an image of power. It was hypothesized that a distributive process will be chosen when expectations of response are either unclear or distributive. If more than one problem exists, the same factors will restrict the decision to the distributive process unless both sides agree to a separate integrative process for potentially win/win problems. In addition to a mutual decision to pursue the integrative option, a successful resolution of a problem through a separate integrative process will only be successful if a strategic structure is implemented to minimize suspicion, tendencies towards revenge, and negative audience reactions.

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