Managerial Competences, Engagement and Productivity
This ESRC-funded project will evaluate the impact of training interventions designed to equip line managers with conflict competence and other skills needed to foster positive relationships with those they manage.
Managerial Competences, Engagement and Productivity - Developing Positive Relationships
There is a growing body of evidence that poor management is one of the main causes of low productivity. The UK government's recent Industrial Strategy noted that 'our managers are, on average, less proficient than many competitors' and therefore it has been argued that improving basic managerial competences is crucial if we are to solve the 'productivity puzzle'. However, the challenges facing line managers are becoming increasingly complex. In particular, the contemporary emphasis on more robust approaches to the management of performance makes it more likely that managers will find themselves having to have 'difficult conversations' and in conflict with their staff.
Workplace conflict is not only widespread but arguably inhibits workplace productivity by tying up valuable organisational resources. A CIPD survey found that over one-third of respondents had recent experience of conflict at work and it has been estimated that employees spend an average of 1.8 hours a week dealing with conflict, an annual loss of 370 million days. At the same time, the way in which managers handle conflict could have a significant impact on organisational performance by influencing levels of engagement; employees are more likely to be engaged if they feel that they are treated fairly and involved in decisions that affect them.
Although line managers play a crucial role in shaping experiences of work, there is growing evidence that they lack the skills needed to manage people effectively and identify, address and resolve difficult personnel issues. Therefore, training programmes designed to increase their capacity to deal with conflict could be one way of securing higher levels of employee engagement and improved productivity. Unfortunately, there has been no robust quantitative academic research in this area, making it difficult to build a persuasive business case for investment in conflict management competences.
The project will provide a valuable evidence base regarding the impact of training and development in conflict resolution skills. It not only aims to have a substantive impact on managerial competence within the case-study organisations but will also underpin the development of training tools which can be replicated in a range of organisational contexts. Furthermore, insights from the research will be shared with practitioner and policy-making communities through a comprehensive programme of dissemination and engagement.
- Saundry R (2019) Fairness, justice and capability -repositioning conflict management
Professor Richard Saundry
Principal Research Fellow
University of Westminster
Professor Peter Urwin
Professor of Applied Economics
University of Westminster
Head of Workplace Policy
|University of Sheffield, United Kingdom (Lead Research Organisation)
|ACAS, United Kingdom (Project Partner)
|Managing Partners' Forum (Project Partner)