Conflict resolution

By Rebecca Westaway
Stockport Events Lead

Disputes and conflict at work can be stressful and time-consuming for both employers and employees; effective dispute resolution can help to minimise this.

CIPD Manchester Branch held an event dedicated to dispute resolution in October 2016 in Stockport,  where John Sharples challenged conventional thinking about how best to resolve workplace disputes in accordance with company values.

Acting as a catalyst for aligning policies and procedures to organisational values,  interactive sessions provided attendees with the awareness and capacity to begin identifying whether their organisation’s conflict resolution policies supported or contradicted their organisation’s philosophy and values (and how to remedy any misalignment).

Stockport Town Hall | Meeting Room 5

Almost all organisations have a formal set of policies and procedures, setting out how employees are ‘expected’ to behave and the consequences of non-conformance. These policies include the various ways in which employees are required to resolve disputes.

Usually mandatory and clear to follow, policies are increasingly self-serviced. Implementation often falls under the remit of line managers, with little or no HR involvement in the initial stages.

Many organisations will also have one or all of the following;

  • Mission statement
  • Set of values
  • Behaviours framework
  • Performance management framework.

All, no doubt, extoll the virtues of employee engagement and the extent to which employees are not only valued by the organisation but also regarded as a key resource. Indeed, no one could argue with the legality or principles behind such statements, but, looking collectively at the above, some organisations may detect areas of misalignment.

Simply put:

“Policy content doesn’t always reflect what it says on the Values tin.”


John Sharples

Previously Principal HR Manager and Leadership & Development Business Manager at Lancashire County Council, John Sharples has vast experience in learning and organisational development. He has implemented performance management structures; produced and applied values and behaviours frameworks as well as developing programmes to support employee engagement initiatives.

John has an MA in Strategic HR, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management, a Chartered Member of the CIPD and is an Accredited Member of the Professional Mediators Association.

John has a keen interest in collaborative learning and the transference of learning from its source to the workplace.


BENNETT, T. (2013) Workplace mediation and the empowerment of disputants: rhetoric or reality? Industrial Relations Journal. Vo. 44, No 2, pp189-209.

BENNETT, T. (2014) The role of workplace mediation: a critical assessment. Personnel Review. Vol 43, No 5, pp764-779.

CIPD. (2015). “Conflict Management: A Shift In Direction? – Research Reports – CIPD”.

CIPD. (2015). “Getting Under The Skin Of Workplace Conflict: Tracing The Experiences Of Employees – Survey Reports – CIPD”.

TALLODI, T (2015) Mediation’s potential to reduce occupational stress: a new perspective. Conflict Resolution Quarterly. Vol 32, No 4. pp361-388.

Location Manchester, England E-mail Hours Our hours vary according to our programme.
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