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Can the use of mediation as a dispute prevention tool contribute to the maintenance of a positive relationship between PDFORRA and management during the operation of public sector collective agreements within the Defence Forces?

Cahill, Simon (2013) Can the use of mediation as a dispute prevention tool contribute to the maintenance of a positive relationship between PDFORRA and management during the operation of public sector collective agreements within the Defence Forces? Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

The medium term outlook for state finances within Ireland remains difficult (International Monetary Fund, 2013). Within this environment government policy is to ensure that the provision of state services remains at acceptable levels (Department of An Taoiseach, 2011). To achieve this, it is necessary to extract increased productivity levels from a decreasing pool of state employees (Labour Relations Commission, 2013). As part of this process, it is envisaged that the successful operation of public sector collective agreements will form a key element in achieving this higher productivity. However given the constrained resources available, the operation of these agreements has the potential to generate disputes between employees and management across the range of public sector organisations (Cutcher & Joel, 1991). Included in this is the Defence Forces, which despite its unique industrial relations environment is still subject to the management / employee strains that can arise within traditionally structured organisations. Given this context, it is the intent of this research to explore if the use of mediation as a dispute prevention tool can contribute to the maintenance of a positive relationship between the largest Defence Forces employee representative association ‘PDFORRA’ and management during the operation of public sector collective agreements?

In order to address this aim, a detailed literature review was conducted that covered previous academic work in the areas of ‘Industrial Relations within a Military Environment’, ‘Public Sector Collective Agreements’ and ‘Mediation’. The information that was obtained from this review was then complimented by the collection of primary data through a series of semi-structured interviews. These interviews involved the participation of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) Advisory Service as well as the main actors within the Defence Sector.

As a result of this collection of both primary and secondary data, a number of research findings became apparent. These findings would include; The existence of a positive approach to engagement between management and employee representatives; Management concerns over the delays that can be experienced when attempting to resolve disagreements with representative associations; A willingness on the part of all parties to consider the use of mediation as a dispute prevention mechanism; A concern on the part of management over the scope of use that would accompany a mediation process; A desire within the LRC to support the use of dispute prevention mechanisms such as mediation in the public sector; A willingness on the part of the LRC to support the use of mediation within the Defence Sector.

Building on these findings four conclusions were drawn from the research that was conducted. Specifically the research identified that there is significant evidence to support the premise that mediation is a suitable tool for use within the unique internal industrial relations process of the Defence Forces. It is also assessed that mediation can have a positive impact on the operation of public sector collective agreements within the Defence Forces. In addition the conclusions recognise that the research which has been conducted has the capacity to contribute to the level of academic knowledge that is available on the use of mediation as a tool to assist in the operation of public sector collective agreements. Then to conclude, the research supports the conclusion that the use of mediation as a dispute prevention tool can contribute to the maintenance of a positive relationship between PDFORRA and management during the operation of public sector collective agreements within the Defence Forces.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: U Military Science > U Military Science (General) > Defence Forces
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Conflict Resolution > Mediation
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government > Public Sector
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Depositing User: CAOIMHE NI MHAICIN
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2013 13:34
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2013 13:34
URI: http://trap.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/900

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