Conflict for Mutual Gains?

21 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2007

See all articles by Nicholas Bacon

Nicholas Bacon

Nottingham University Business School

Paul Blyton

Cardiff University Business School


This paper adopts Walton and McKersie's Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations to examine the outcomes of industrial relations negotiations to implement team working. Negotiations from 21 departments across two integrated steelworks are classified into four negotiation patterns, each producing different outcomes from team working for managers and employees. Managers secured lower manning and increased productivity in negotiations both in departments characterized throughout by cooperation and those characterized by conflict. However, mutual gains were secured only where union negotiators pursued conflict tactics during bargaining. In those departments where union negotiators adopted more conflictive bargaining tactics, more employees reported pay increases and greater satisfaction with team working agreements, compared with employees in more cooperative departments. Mixed bargaining approaches in other departments were less successful, particularly for union negotiators.

Suggested Citation

Bacon, Nicholas and Blyton, Paul, Conflict for Mutual Gains?. Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 44, No. 5, pp. 814-834, July 2007, Available at SSRN: or

Nicholas Bacon

Nottingham University Business School ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Paul Blyton (Contact Author)

Cardiff University Business School ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, CF10 3EU
United Kingdom
+ 44 (0) 29 20 875725 (Phone)
+ 44 (0)29 20874419 (Fax)


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