Managing neutrality and impartiality in workplace conflict resolution: the dilemma of the HR manager

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Van Gramberg, Bernadine and Teicher, Julian (2006) Managing neutrality and impartiality in workplace conflict resolution: the dilemma of the HR manager. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 44 (2). pp. 197-210. ISSN 1038-4111


Human resource managers are expected to resolve workplace disputes and deliver workplace justice. The primary mechanism by which this occurs is the workplace dispute resolution procedure which generally calls for a neutral third person to assist in resolving the dispute. We argue that ethical decision-making to resolve conflict is challenged both by the inherent nature of human resource management and the changes to Australian industrial relations legislation. Human resource managers perform a range of roles, such as ‘strategic partner’, which can be at odds with that of the ‘employee champion’ role, and as they represent the firm, they cannot be considered neutral mediators of workplace conflicts. The tensions in the role raise ethical questions. Given that the new industrial relations legislation will place greater pressure on human resource managers to resolve conflict within the workplace, while at the same time increase their power over their employees, it is timely to consider the development of an ethical code for human resource practice.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1177/1038411106066396
Official URL
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Management and Information Systems
Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Keywords ResPubID11710, ethics, human resource management, impartiality, neutrality, workplace dispute resolution, workplace justice
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