Cet article identifie quels sont, parmi 21 objectifs et 23 comportements des parties durant la conciliation, ceux qui sont reliés à l'efficacité du processus. Les données ont été recueillies par questionnaire auprès de 732 porte-parole patronaux et syndicaux ayant oeuvré en conciliation volontaire au Québec en 1987-88. Le résultat le plus frappant est que les objectifs poursuivis par chacune des parties n'agissent à peu près pas sur l'issue du processus.
This paper is the first of a series of two articles describing the results of a research project on the efficiency of compulsory and voluntary conciliation procedures in Quebec. The similarity between these two procedures having been established in a previous paper (Ross and Brossard 1990), the purpose of the present study is to analyze how the objectives and attitudes of the parties affects the efficiency of conciliation.
This first article pertains exclusively to the voluntary conciliation System which was established in Quebec in 1978. The extensive literature on conciliation procedure efficiency may be divided into three categories, i.e., the intervention context, the conciliator, and the negotiating parties. However, in the third case, where the analysis focuses on the parties, the emphasis is mostly on their characteristics and on the nature of their relationship. It is less common for researchers to explore the intentions and attitudes of the parties during conciliation. In view of this gap in the research field, authors like Kochan suggest that the parties themselves be observed closely (Kochan and Jick 1978).
In order to analyze the objectives of the parties, a typology was developed and validated by specialists with extensive knowledge of the procedure. This typology includes 21 objectives divided into three large categories. These objectives are listed in Table 1. A questionnaire probing the objectives of each party was sent to 732 management and union spokespersons. Table 2 shows which objectives are viewed as having priority by each of the parties. Specific objectives considered most important by each party are displayed in Table 3. The results show that the parties are very much alike from this standpoint. Various tactics used during conciliation were also drawn upon to develop a typology to analyze attitudes. The 23 tactics shown in Table 4 are divided into six categories, each one referring to an important feature of the conciliation procedure: importance given to conciliation in the overall collective bargaining strategy; accessibility of the conciliation procedure; negotiation committee members and rights; collective bargaining content; choice of conciliator and current pressure tactics. A questionnaire consisting of 49 specific questions was important in precisely identifying the parties' attitudes.
Three categories were defined regarding the efficiency — the most efficient cases, the more or less efficient cases, and the truly less efficient cases - according to a method described in a previous article (Ross and Brossard 1990). The findings of this research show primarily that only one objective (out of 21) is linked to efficiency (whatever the type of tactic) and that 11 out of 23 tactics seem to have some effect on the outcome of the conciliation. Table 5 demonstrates which objective and tactics are related to the procedure efficiency. It also identifies the importance of the relation between each of the significant variables and the procedure efficiency. The study suggests that those variables which are related to the parties matter as much in explaining the phenomenon as the more contextual variables, namely the resort to conciliation, the duration of the conciliation procedure, union status (independent or affiliated), etc.
These early results lay the groundwork for a comparison between compulsory and voluntary conciliation, to be pursued in a subsequent article.
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