Whilst notions of conflict have historically underpinned the rhetoric and policy focus of employment relations, more recently the locus of debate has shifted towards the relationship between employment relations and organisational performance. Yet, Acas remains best known for its dispute resolution services. Using new data, the paper explores Acas' dispute resolution functions, but also examines a broader range of Acas interventions aimed at supporting organisations in handling conflict through arrangements for improved employment relations. It reports data on Acas customers' perceptions of the nature and impact of Acas interventions. Focusing on the activities aimed at tackling collective issues, it considers how these fit into the Government's wider “productive workplace” agenda. It concludes that Acas' strength lies in bringing the parties to the table, both to resolve disputes and also to develop innovative strategies for improving workplace effectiveness. The paper also assesses future opportunities for seeking a more strategic approach to managing conflict at work.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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