Assessment Of Conflict Resolution Strategies In Managing Conflict In Selected Secondary Schools

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Assessment Of Conflict Resolution Strategies In Managing Conflict In Selected Secondary Schools


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

In Nigeria, the education system extends from primary to post secondary, with the secondary level of education in between. As a result, it can be viewed as the link between primary and secondary education. It also has the job of generating craftsmen who want to better their lot by acquiring technical knowledge and practical skills from comprehensive high schools and technical institutions (Adhiambo & Enose 2011). The public secondary schools under study, like other schools in the same category in Nigeria, are established to carry out these specialized tasks, and in order to achieve these goals, offices for various positions, such as principals, bursars, subject teachers, typists, librarians, and so on, are established, and these offices are filled by qualified and competent personnel. Each occupant of these positions is expected to perform a set of specialized responsibilities, and such consistent patterns of individual behavior are referred to as roles, which is a role that one performs inside a system.

In order to create safer and more supportive school learning environments, effective conflict resolution is essential. Conflict arises when various perspectives or opinions are inherently incompatible (Bano, Ashraf, & Zia, 2013; Ghaffar, 2010; Ramani & Zhimin, 2010). According to Adhiambo and Enose (2011), conflict causes tension and discomfort because of the fear of the unknown; as a result, it is a gloomy and unpleasant state of affairs for all parties involved. Conflict disrupts the teaching and learning process, but if carefully investigated and managed, it leads to harmonious cohabitation between instructors and school authorities.

Conflict, on the other hand, is unavoidable, and in theory, all disputes cannot be resolved and controlled (Ramani & Zhimin, 2010). However, experts suggest that teachers and school leaders should be well-versed in how conflict happens and how to respond to or manage it in order to achieve positive change while minimizing negative consequences (Olubunmi, 2014; Uchendu, Anijaobi-Idem, & Odigwe, 2013).

Aja (2013) defines conflict as “an antagonism or competition between two or more forces emerging either from the pursuit of incompatible aims or a class of rival beliefs.” Conflict, according to Oboegbulem & Alfa (2013), is “a struggle over values or claims to status, authority, and scarce resources in which the warring parties’ goals are not only to achieve the desired values, but also to neutralize, harm, or eliminate the rivals.”

Conflict in educational institutions, particularly in public secondary schools, is largely due to the way such schools are built, as well as the conduct of individuals within these structures as they interact with one another and the community surrounding them. Conflict management, as a phenomenon, is an essential component of every given organization’s administration. The school as an institution is made up of people from various backgrounds in terms of their competencies, requirements, values, skills, aspirations, and psychological make-ups. Thus, no company can achieve its goals without dealing with organizational conflicts, since Ejiogu (1999) asserted that conflicts are unavoidable in all human interactions and organizational behaviors. As a result, conflict is an unavoidable element of school life, because we all agree that where there are people, there will be conflict. Though some of these disputes are good and, when seen positively, can be change drivers, others can be detrimental to academic progress. According to Corwin (1996), unhealthy conflict has the potential to cause negative business effects if it rears its head regularly. Because conflict is an organizational behavior, we cannot deny the existence of a positive relationship between organizational behavior and organizational output. Because conflict is a change driver, persons who generate conflict can also generate change; hence, Dip Paola & Hoy (2001) discovered that militant personnel were not only conflict-oriented but also change engines in their study.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Conflict studies reveal that working with people in organizations entails dealing with a wide range of challenges (Okotoni & Okotoni, 2003). The repercussions of conflict between teachers and school administrators, like the consequences of conflict between organizations, have been terrible. According to Oboegbulem & Alfa (2013), one of the consequences of conflicts is interruption of academic programs, insufficient staffing owing to unanticipated transfers, hatred among staff members, suspicion, and withdrawal from active engagement in school activities. These issues have an impact on the professional work of the personnel in such a way that they are unable to concentrate because they are preoccupied with other topics.

Individuals interact throughout the teaching and learning process in order to achieve educational objectives within schools; as a result, disputes within schools can occur for a variety of reasons. According to Msila (2012)’s study on conflict management and leadership, the majority of school leaders do not grasp their leadership roles. However, in a research conducted in Malaysia by Salleh (2013), insufficient resources such as finances and a lack of facilities, as well as a severe workload and dissatisfaction with management, were identified as sources of conflict. Similarly, poor facilities and money, conflicts among staff members, personality variables, and role conflicts were listed as reasons of conflict in a study done in Nigeria by Uchendu, (2013). Furthermore, the researchers contended that highly ‘connected’ instructors violate school laws and regulations and frequently miss class, making school management difficult for administrators.

Because conflict is natural in any organization or establishment, management must deal with it intelligently in order to maximize its benefits while minimizing its dysfunctional repercussions. Understanding the core causes of conflicts is therefore crucial for developing an effective approach to conflict management. As a result, the purpose of this study was to identify the primary drivers of conflict between teachers and school administrators, as well as the tactics utilized to manage and resolve such conflicts.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to assess conflict resolution strategies in managing conflict in selected secondary schools. Specifically but not limited to, other objectives of this study are:

  1. To determine the causes of conflicts in schools
  2. To examine the effects of conflict on the performance of schools.
  3. To examine the strategies used in managing conflict in schools
  4. To suggest measures that could be taken to avoid future conflicts in schools

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions which are in line with the objectives of this study will be answered:

  1. What are the causes of conflicts in schools?
  2. What are the effects of conflict on the performance of schools?
  3. What are the strategies used in managing conflict in schools?
  4. What are the measures that can be taken to avoid future conflicts in schools?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study will be significant in that the findings may be useful to education researchers, educational planners, and other scholars of educational administration, as it will hopefully increase their awareness of conflict values as well as constructive conflict management methods that benefit the school. The findings will encourage principals and other education stakeholders to implement conflict-resolution strategies. The study’s findings will assist policymakers and educational planners in making appropriate adjustments to improve performance in secondary school management and administration. The study also adds to the current body of knowledge about conflicts in school settings. Finally, the study will establish the groundwork for future research in the field of education management.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study will be focused on the assessment of conflict resolution strategies in managing conflict in selected secondary schools. Specifically, it will focus on determining the causes of conflicts in schools, examining the effects of conflict on the performance of schools, examining the strategies used in managing conflict in schools and suggesting measures that could be taken to avoid future conflicts in schools.

Principals and teachers of selected secondary schools in Markudi, Benue State will serve as enrolled participants for the survey of this study.


1.7 Limitations of the Study

A study of this sort would be incomplete without addressing some of the difficulties that the researcher experienced. As a result, the different issues that limit the results of this research endeavor are addressed below.

  1. This study is primarily based on the responses of principals and teachers. The time allotted for this study was insufficient; as a result, the researcher was unable to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the subject.
  2. In the local government region used as a case study for this research, there was another period of long vacation for schools.
  3. Finally, all of the questionnaires distributed by the researcher were not returned by the teachers and principals. Thus the researcher could only work with a limited sample of respondents.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Assessment:

The action of assessing someone or something.

Conflict:

A conflict is a struggle and a clash of interest, opinion, or even principles. Conflict will always be found in society; as the basis of conflict may vary to be personal, racial, class, caste, political and international

Conflict Resolution Strategies:

Is the process by which two or more parties engaged in a disagreement, dispute or debate reach an agreement resolving it. It involves a series of stages, involved actors, models and approaches that may depend on the kind of confrontation at stake and the surrounded


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