Workplace dispute resoltion procedures in Australia
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 01:58 authored by Jonathan Marc Hamberger
This thesis examines the resolution of workplace disputes through the use of formal dispute and grievance resolution mechanisms in Australia, including the evolving legal and policy framework. A series of research questions are posed, including whether legally mandated dispute settlement procedures are used effectively, and why organisations have developed their own internal grievance procedures. Previous research on both union and non union dispute resolution procedures is considered, especially from the United States and the United Kingdom, together with relevant developments in both these countries. Relevant findings from related areas of study such as organisational justice and high performance work systems are also discussed. The legislation in Australia governing workplace dispute resolution is analysed, including how this legislation has evolved since the 1990s, reflecting a shift from a highly centralised system based on compulsory conciliation and arbitration to one where the focus is on the enterprise. The relevant recommendations of the Hancock and Niland reports are examined. The current system under the Fair Work Act 2009 is considered, including the role of the Fair Work Commission. Trends in the number of dispute applications to the Commission, the nature of dispute settling procedures in enterprise agreements, the identity of parties filing disputes with the Commission and the way in which disputes are dealt with by the Commission are all analysed, using a range of data sources. This leads into a broader consideration of the approach taken by different organisations to the general issue of workplace conflict management, drawing in particular on an analysis of seven case studies of large organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. A typology of different approaches to workplace conflict management is developed. A model is then developed to explain the factors that lead to the adoption of different approaches, and the consequences that flow from each approach. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the implications of the research for management, unions, the Fair Work Commission, policy makers and researchers.