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Conflict and Conflict Resolution in Volunteer-involving Organizations: Western Australia Tackles a Not-Always-Obvious but Persistent Problem

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Due to the nature of volunteering, this sector of society is not often associated with conflict. However, like the wider community, conflict within volunteer-involving organisations can be a persistent problem. Although most volunteers enjoy positive and fulfilling experiences and are generally satisfied with the volunteering process, research undertaken by Volunteering WA shows that around 10 per cent of volunteers have been involved in a conflict with an organisation where they have volunteered.

This feature article by Denise Bertilone, the Research & Project Officer at Volunteering WA, describes how conflict develops and focuses on conflict and conflict resolution within volunteer-involving organisations in Western Australia. It examines some of the sources and results, and features personalized accounts of volunteers’ experiences with conflict and its aftermath. It seeks to stimulate discussion on whether or not an independent redress mechanism is a necessity for the volunteering sector, and whether or not volunteer organizations should implement grievance policies and procedures.