af Mette Ringsted
An analysis of the possibility of using central elements in the Scandinavian Conflict Mediation Method (SCM-model) as a constructive contribution to an organisational development process.
Our assumption is that it has become a requirement for organisations to be able to continuously change and develop, and that organisational change implies change and development of employees as well. These changes may develop conflicts in the workplace that delays the development process.
In the thesis we have chosen to look at organisations from an HRM perspective. We have chosen both a theoretical and empirical approach. The theory includes HRM-literature, communication literature and theoretical literature about the Scandinavian Conflict Mediation Model. The empirical data is based on management and leadership course material from two large organisations in Denmark in a period of 10 years.
From an overall perspective the language in the SCM-model and HRM seems to have many aspects in common: Dialogue, empowerment, recognition. Furthermore the HRM language includes a lot of positive words like learning, team, coaching, feedback etc. We have chosen to take the SCM-model for granted, and from this perspective see, if it can be fitted into the HRM theory and practice.
The comparative analysis between HRM’s general theory and the SCM-model has focussed on whether there is a contrast in views that excludes a further correlation. The analysis shows, that at an overall level there is a difference between the conflict view in HRM and the SCM-model. The SCM-model is operating from a dissensus perspective, where conflicts are seen as a social reality that may give a positive result depending on the conflict handling. HRM is operating from a consensus perspective, that implies a view that conflicts are not seen as a positive potential for development, but rather as something the organisation should avoid. The focus in HRM is on how to avoid future conflicts best possible.
The analysis of HRM’s course material compared to the SCM-model’s approach, shows that HRM communicates in a language that both indicates learning and development, but that the language tend to become a rhetoric which deleminates the possibilities for the single employee. The language is apparently the same in HRM and the SCM –model but used in different contexts the consequence is that both conflicts and the power structure are hidden in the HRM rhetoric. Conflicts are not addressed openly in HRM as such.
HRM focuses on common values for all employees in an organisation. The consensus perspective in HRM contributes to conflicts not being a question about agreeing-disagreeing, but a matter of love me-love me not. In the language code used in HRM a disagreement about values tend to be a rejection of the single employee’s values, and as such a rejection of the person as a whole. In this complex setting conflict about values tends to hide real structural conflicts that cannot be solved in the Scandinavian Conflict Mediation Model.