Queen's University IRC

Research Briefs – September 2017

Queen's University IRC - Research Briefs

   Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners

Sept 2017   



In This Issue…

  1. Workplace Bullying and Harassment: Costly Conduct
  2. Designing for Collaboration
  3. Flashback Feature: The Development and Enforcement of the Collective Agreement
   Queen's University Campus 

Workplace Bullying and Harassment: Costly Conduct Deborah Hudson, Lawyer, Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP, 2015

As media scrutiny over schoolyard and cyberbullying pervade the news, allegations of workplace harassment and bullying are on the rise. Media reports reveal the deleterious and even deadly impact that bullying can have on children in our communities. Unfortunately for employers, adults in our workplaces sometimes engage in similar transgressions. While the popularization of the terms "bullying" and "harassment" has both educated and empowered employees to assert the right to a respectful workplace, it has conversely sometimes resulted in overuse of the terms and meritless complaints in relation to reasonable management measures. Employers are left with the difficult task of managing all competing interests to ensure a safe, respectful and productive work environment.

One Canadian professor previously estimated that a whopping 40% of Canadians experienced one or more acts of workplace bullying at least once a week.(1) Although it is difficult to determine exactly how much harassment and bullying actually occurs in Canadian workplaces, we can be certain of the impact of such conduct. Workplace bullying and harassment create a toxic work environment resulting in many negative effects which may include: decreasing productivity, increasing employees' use of sick days, damaging employee morale and causing attrition of good employees. It can also result in significant legal liabilities. Considering all of these potential impacts, the tangible and intangible costs of workplace harassment and bullying can be high. This should be reason enough to motivate employers to expeditiously address such issues; however, for those not motivated by practical business measures or healthy employee relations, we should also consider the expansion of Canadian laws to protect workers from harassment and bullying, and the significant liabilities that can arise when such issues are not properly addressed.

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Designing for Collaboration Brenda Barker Scott, Queen's IRC Facilitator, 2014

Collaboration is emerging as a core organizational competence, and indeed an imperative, in today's interconnected work context. Despite the need, collaborative results often fall short of the intended ideals. A large body of research suggests that while collaboration may be necessary, it is not easy (Bryson, Crosby & Stone, Rhoten, 2003; 2006; Suddaby, Hardy, & Huy, 2011). Failed collaborative efforts have led academics to point to the many sources of collaborative inertia; organizational elements that act as barriers to collaboration. What if, instead of attempting to overcome elements of inertia, we shift our efforts to designing holistic systems that enable collaboration? Below, I argue that collaboration is a design challenge. To enable more fruitful collaboration in our organizations, we need to design for it.

If we are going to design our organizations to support collaboration, we need to know what it is. The term 'collaboration' has been adopted widely and used ubiquitously to describe multiple types of interactive forms, from simple communication, to cooperation, to full-fledged co-creation (Aboelela, Larson, Bakken, Carrasquillo, Formicola, Glied, Haas & Gebbie, 2007). Today, most academics agree that collaboration is more than communication or cooperation; it requires mutuality amongst the players, as well as joint engagement in a dynamic and evolving process, directed toward the achievement of a shared goal (Bedwell, Wildman, DiazGranados, Salzar, Kramer, and Salas, 2012). Often, deep learning exchanges amongst the players are required to facilitate the sharing and leveraging of expertise required to create novel insights (Pennington, 2008). Collaborative efforts can focus around a wide variety of outcomes including problem solving, innovation, process improvement, or enhanced quality. Those participating can take many forms including teams, networks, communities, alliances, and partnerships. Whatever the focus, collaborative efforts aim to achieve outcomes that cannot be achieved by the parties working on their own; an outcome referred to as collaborative advantage (Huxham & Vangen, 2005; Moss Kanter, 1994).

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Flashback Feature: The Development and Enforcement of the Collective Agreement C.H. Curtis, 1966

The collective agreement is the basic corner-stone of collective bargaining in North America. From its beginning the problem of making the provisions of collective agreements binding on the parties who entered into them has been a major concern of unions, employers, employees and increasingly of public authorities.

This paper, originally published in 1966, traces in depth the historical development of procedures in Canada for the enforcement of collective agreement provisions. The main emphasis is upon those methods developed by Canadian legislatures to provide orderly means of enforcement and thus contribute to a greater stability of union-management relations.

The author, Professor C. H. Curtis, was a Professor of Industrial Relations in the School of Business, and Faculty Associate in the Industrial Relations Centre, at Queen's University. This paper reflects the author's experience in the field of industrial relations, as a teacher, as a researcher and author, and as a well-known and respected chairman of arbitration and conciliation boards in Canada.

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Upcoming Programs

Linking HR Strategy to Business Strategy Sept. 18-20, 2017 Toronto

Labour Relations Foundations Sept. 24-29, 2017 Kingston

NEW Designing Collaborative Workplaces Sept. 26-28, 2017 Toronto

Change Management Oct. 3-5, 2017 Calgary

Coaching Skills Oct. 17-18, 2017 Halifax

NEW Performance Management Oct. 18-19, 2017 Calgary

Negotiation Skills Oct. 22-27, 2017 Kingston

Organization Development Foundations Oct. 24-27, 2017 Toronto

Strategic Workforce Planning Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2017 Ottawa

Building Trust in the Workplace Nov. 2, 2017 Ottawa

Managing Unionized Environments Nov. 7-9, 2017 Edmonton

Talent Management Nov. 8-9, 2017 Toronto

HR Metrics and Analytics Nov. 14-16, 2017 Kingston

Mastering Fact-Finding and Investigation Nov. 14-17, 2017 Toronto

NEW Strategies for Workplace Conflicts Nov. 21-23, 2017 Toronto

Organizational Design Nov. 21-23, 2017 Toronto

Designing Change Nov. 28-30, 2017 Ottawa

Labour Relations Foundations Dec. 4-8, 2017 Victoria

Coaching Skills Dec. 6-7, 2017 Victoria

Labour Arbitration Skills Dec. 11-14, 2017 Victoria

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