We've all experienced conflict in the workplace, but how many of us feel we could resolve it confidently?

Managers typically spend around five hours per week managing conflict between staff, but don't feel highly skilled to do so. And more than 80 per cent of employees say they deal with conflict regularly.

To help address this problem, Dr Samantha Hardy and Dr Olivia Rundle from the Faculty of Law have developed a new Graduate Certificate in Workplace Conflict Management. 

Dr Hardy and Dr Rundle both have PhDs in conflict resolution. They have also recruited other expert practitioners in the field to contribute to the course content.

This course is the only one of its kind in Australia, and it has been designed for people working full-time. 

"As dispute resolution specialists and active mediators, coaches and facilitators, we saw the need for a serious up-skilling of those in management roles in particular," said Dr Hardy.

A common theme is that conflict is left to go on far too long, when it could have been dealt with much earlier. By avoiding the problem, or hoping it will go away on its own, it becomes expensive and sometimes almost impossible to fix.

"We wanted to give people knowledge and skills that they could take back to their workplaces and apply immediately with confidence," said Dr Rundle.

About the course:

This course is highly engaging, with video interviews, online discussions and activities, real life simulations, and practical assessment tasks.

The Graduate Certificate in Workplace Conflict Management has been designed for people working full time. 

The course can be taken one subject at a time and completed in one year. Most of the study is online, with two four-day skills workshops towards the end of the course.

Covered in the course:

• Understanding conflict in the workplace – why it happens, what causes it, what makes it worse 

• What you need to know to prevent, manage and resolve conflict

• What organisations can do to set up policies, procedures and systems for managing workplace conflict, and to ensure a proactive conflict culture in the organisation

• Supporting people in workplace conflict using advocacy, coaching, mediation and facilitation techniques

• Managing and decision-making in relation to conflict in the workplace (how to use appropriate processes such as performance management and workplace investigations, gathering and evaluating facts and evidence, acting fairly and legally, providing reasons for decisions).

Who should take this course:

The Graduate Certificate in Workplace Conflict Management is an ideal qualification for anyone who manages staff or operates as a consultant. Many job descriptions now ask for conflict management skills so this qualification would be a valuable addition to anyone’s skill set.

The course will commence in February 2016.