A Conference and Special Issue Honoring David B. Lipsky

Conflict and Its Resolution in the Changing World of Work

The ILR Review ( invites submissions for a conference and subsequent special issue devoted to the role that conflict and conflict resolution play in the changing world of work. Ariel Avgar (University of Illinois;, Alexander Colvin (Cornell University;, and Harry Katz (Cornell University; will serve as coordinators of this special issue. Scholars interested in participating should submit a complete draft of their paper by April 15, 2017. Authors will be notified by July 1, 2017, if their paper has been accepted for presentation at the conference. Prospective contributors are urged to consult any of the coordinators regarding preliminary proposals or ideas for papers.

Authors whose papers are accepted will be invited to a conference sponsored by the ILR School at Cornell University honoring David B. Lipsky and recognizing his many contributions to the field of conflict resolution. The conference will be held in Ithaca, New York, in November 2017. Conference expenses will be subsidized by Cornell University. Papers presented at the conference should be suitable for immediate submission to external reviewers. A subset of authors will be asked to submit their papers to the ILR Review with the expectation that their papers will be published in a special issue if they pass the external review process. Papers that are deemed of good quality but not selected for the special issue may be considered for publication in a regular issue of the journal.

Conflict and its resolution play a pivotal role in the workplace and organizations and help to explain a range of important outcomes at different levels of analysis. While conflict is an inherent part of the workplace and organizational life, the past 40 years have seen a dramatic and consequential transformation in the way it is resolved and managed. In the workplace arena, individual employment rights disputes have supplanted collective bargaining as the most widespread mode of conflict resolution, with declining unionization and strike rates and rising litigation numbers. At the same time, a growing proportion of organizations have turned to alternative methods for dealing with conflict, such as mediation and arbitration that, among other things, are designed to bypass approaches that rely primarily on traditional litigation or managerial authority. New organizational structures and work practices have changed the very nature of conflict and require new and innovative conflict management approaches.

This changing landscape has given rise to important questions about the antecedents and consequences associated with new forms of conflict and the wide array of methods used to manage and resolve it. While scholars in a variety of disciplines have begun to address these questions, there is much more we need to know. Research on alternative conflict resolution methods, for example, has focused more on explaining how and why such methods have emerged and much less on how they affect employees, organizations, and society more generally. In addition, existing studies have primarily focused on conflict resolution in the context of traditional employment arrangements, with far less attention paid to new forms of work and employment models. Existing research has also focused heavily on conflict resolution in the United States, with less attention given to international and comparative perspectives.

The study of conflict and its resolution has been fragmented, with little integration of theoretical and empirical insights across disciplines. Research examining conflict and its resolution at the individual or group levels, for example, does not incorporate relevant findings from organizational and societal level studies, and vice versa. Our theories need to integrate an understanding of how factors at multiple levels of analysis affect conflict, alternative approaches to conflict resolution, and related outcomes.

For this conference and special issue, we are particularly interested in papers that address underexplored areas of research and that incorporate diverse disciplinary perspectives. We welcome papers that are empirical or conceptual; that include international perspectives; and that make use of a range of methodologies, including surveys, experiments, case studies, archival studies, or legal research.

Potential topic areas include, but are not limited to:

  • New and emerging conflict resolution techniques in union and nonunion settings
  • Conflict and conflict resolution practices in different national settings and their implications for theory in this area
  • The relationship between alternative work arrangements and workplace conflict and conflict management
  • The influence of new employment models on conflict and conflict resolution
  • The adoption of conflict resolution practices in small and entrepreneurial firms
  • The link between conflict resolution methods and the level and nature of conflict in organizations
  • The impact of conflict resolution practices on employee, group, organizational, and societal outcomes
  • The implications of internal conflict resolution practices for employee access to justice
  • The relationship between legal, economic, and competitive pressures and workplace conflict and its resolution
  • Explaining individual usage patterns of various conflict resolution practices
  • Advances in the field of negotiation

To submit a paper for consideration, please go to and click on “Submit a Manuscript.” After you have logged into the manuscript submission website, be sure to fill in the “Special Issue” option.

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