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Managing Workplace Conflict & Change - LAWS8058
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Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 2
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: Academic Program must be either 9200, 9210, 5740, 9230, 9211, 5211, 9235, 5235, 9231, 5231, 9220 or 5750.
Equivalent: JURD7558
Excluded: JURD7558
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course aims to provide students with a theoretical framework and especially practical insights relating to the negotiation of change and the management of conflict in the workplace. Australian IR has tended to institutionalise conflict on the assumptions of the conventional adversarial model, while the alternative mutual gains perspective has received little serious attention or application. The course will take students through some of the classic texts in the field such as Walton & McKersie's A Behavioural Theory of Labour Negotiations and Walton et al's Strategic Negotiations and then into a series of contemporary overseas and Australian case studies. The impact of the Fair Work Act on the negotiation of change and dispute resolution will also be critically examined.

LLM specialisation(s)

Course Objectives

A candidate who has successfully completed this course will:
  • Have gained a good appreciation of the competing models on workplace change and conflict;
  • Have critically examined the approach of the key piece of federal legislation on point, the Fair Work Act;
  • Have had the opportunity to consider a number of instructive case studies;
  • Be better equipped to deal with or advise on the negotiation of change and the management of conflict in the workplace

Main Topics

  • Approaches to the negotiation of change and the management of conflict in the workplace: a comparison of the adversarial and mutual gains (interest-based) models.
  • Change and conflict resolution in social context
  • The makings of the great workplace
  • Understanding information-sharing, consultation and negotiations in the workplace
  • Competing, different and shared interests in the workplace
  • The assumptions and architecture of the Fair Work Act in relation to negotiation and dispute resolution
  • Case studies on change and conflict resolution in the workplace
  • Prospects for a fresh approach to change management and conflict resolution in Australian workplaces


Class attendance and participation (20%)
Class presentation (20%)
Essay (60%)

Course texts

No prescribed textbooks. The course will draw on a collection of journal articles, case studies and other sources. These will be made available to students electronically through Blackboard.

  • Walton & McKersie, A Behavioural Theory of Labour Negotiations (Cornell University Press, 1965);
  • Walton et al's Strategic Negotiations - a Theory of Change in Labor-Management Relations (Harvard Business School Press, 1994);
  • Bamber et al, Up in the Air - How airlines can improve performance by engaging their employees (Cornell University Press, 2009);
  • Anstey, Managing Change, Negotiating Conflict(Juta, 2006);
  • Kochan & others, Healing Together - the labor-management partnership at Kaiser Permanente (Cornell University Press, 2009).

Further Information

The course commences with an initial introductory and framing session of two hours, followed by four full days spaced a week apart (usually Fridays).

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.