Conflict Management In Local Government Service

Project and Seminar Material for Industrial Relations and Personnel Management

Conflict Management In Local Government Service


Abstract


This research study is to investigate the conflict management in local government. Service with particular reference to Ojo local government being the local government use as a case study for this work. Conflict management is very crucial in the achievement of each other actually when there are employer over some issues like condition of work or condition of employment.

The local government, which is the third tier of the executive arm of government, is established to meet the welfare the local people

The ubiquitous presence of conflict can hinder the local government constitutional duties. The activities of various social groups in the local government. If not effectively controlled or managed can be costly in terms performance &,reputation. The instrument used to carryout this study effectively was the questionnaire which was administered to the staff of Ojo local government area total number of one number (100) questionnaire, were administered which the hypotheses using percentage while the hypothesis was tested with he chi–square statistics.

The result and funding of the study reveal that conflict management in the local government is the fundamental phenomenon that effect the performance of the local government management its employee.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

The term conflict specifically means breakdown of relationship between parties and this was corroborated by oxford English dictionary definition in which conflict was defined as a serious disagreement, on argument, a struggle, a fight. The history of mankind cannot be devoid of conflict from the primordial age to the era of communal capitalism, feudalism up to the present.

A lot of attempts were recorded in capturing various sources of conflict and how it can be effectively managed. In every organization where people of different backgrounds and interest have , to interact in the collective effort towards achieving a common goal, conflict is bound to take place. This is because every member of the organization comes from different places, background and brings to the workplaces his own personal interest, ambition, which he/she earnestly desires to achieve along organizational goals. These individual goals may not necessarily be compatible with that of other members and as a result of this conflict will definitely come up in the organization:

Conflict management may be planned and formal or unplanned and verbal or physical ranging from passive resistance to active aggression.

Conflict takes place between individuals and between groups, between distinct organizations or groups within an organization and conflict no doubt is an important element of social interaction and apart from being a “negative ” factor that “tear apart” conflict may contribute in many way to the maintenance of groups and collectivities as well as the cementing of inter personal relations. A conflict is therefore endemic. It is common knowledge that an organization needs peaceful co-existence for survival, which may be threatened by conflict.? Conflict management is very crucial in the achievement of organization goals for proper understanding of each other actually when there are disagreement between the employees and employers over some issues like conditions of employment etc. Karl Marx and some scholars say that industrialization is a mixed blessing, which has brought prosperity, strike and dispute in industries. It is unthinkable to find any organization without conflict.

The local government, which is the third tier of the Executive arm of government, is established to meet the welfare needs of the local people. Although the various local councils in the country were created in the early 50s to perform localized functions and to bring government closer to the people, the purpose of local government is essentially to promote democracy at the grassroots level and ensure service delivery. A local government system may be recognized as either a single – tier or multi-tier local government. It is single tier if it performs all the functions assigned to a local government within its area of jurisdiction and it is multi tier, if two or more local councils share responsibility for local services within a given local territory.

The management structure of local government takes the form of mayoral or mayor – council model. The mayor (chairman) is a weak mayor, as he does not have the power to appoint, remove and supervise the entire administrative staff. The ubiquitous presence of conflict can hinder the local government in discharge of its constitutional duties. The activities of various social groups in the local government if not effectively controlled or managed can be costly in terms performance and reputation. In fact any organization without conflict is as good as dead. Conflict can only be dysfunctional or harmful where there is no machinery that is put growth of the organization.

Conflict management expressed in what ever form pose cost to all industrial relations actors, certain machinery have to put in place for emerged overtime and new approaches are being worked out to reduce the effect of conflict in both public and organized private sector in order to prevent the development of all forms of costly expression of industrial discontents.


1.2 Brief History of Ojo Local Government

Ojo local government was carved out of Badagry local government in May, 1989. Until October I, 1996, when two other local governments namely Amuwo – Odofin and AjeromiIfelodun local governments were created, it was the most population of 1.01m by the 1991 national population census provisional figure.

With the creation of Amuwo-Odofin and Ajeromi/Ifelodum local governments, there were boundary adjustments. As at now, the local government shares boundaries with Badagry local government at Oto with the Ologe lagoon forming a natural boundary on its southwest flask. It is bounded in the East by Amuwo-Odofin local government, in the North by Alimosho local government and in the south by the lagoon.

Ojo houses the Alaba International Market, which is the largest electronics, electrical parts, and allied material market in the West Africa Sub-Region.

Currently, Ojo local government Area is divided into 11 Electoral Wards, which are represented by councilors under the leadership of Apostle Solomon Ajibola Akin- Aina as Executive chairman.

Local Government Administration

Local government in the federation over the year have gone through various reforms, particularly during the regime of Generals Ibraham Babangida and Sani Abacha when local governments had their political functionaries either elected or appointed and enjoyed autonomy.

The present political functionaries at the local government level were elected on April, 2003 on party basis. However, the elected functionaries assumed office on June 1, 2003 having been sworn-in by the Executive governor of Lagos state, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The 1999 constitution, which is the operational statue book for the fourth republic, put the control of local government administration under the state government, this led o he passing of bill on local government into law on October 4, 1999 in Lagos state. The law provided for a total separation of the executive and legislative powers at the local government level. ‘ Thus empowering the chairmen to appoint members of their executive committee i.e. the supervisors and the secretary to the local government, while the elected constitute the legislative arm.

The Executive Arm

At the top of the Executive Arm is the chairman of the local government who is the chief Executive and accounting office. Other members are the Vice-chairman, supervisors and secretary to the local government as appointed by the chairman and top officers in the service of the local government. The supervisors are the political heard of department. The executive arm is largely responsible for policy formulation, control of finances and award of contracts, among other.

The Legislative Arm

The legislative arm comprises the elected councilors with a leader and the Deputy elected from among he councilors. The legislative arm also has a council clerk who takes care of the proceeding of the council and its general administration. The leader presides over the council meetings.

The legislative council among other function debates amends and approves and advises the chairman when necessary.


1.3 Statement of Research Problem

Conflict as expressed in strike and other from industrial action including peaceful negotiation seem to be more evident and prevalent in unionized organization. Workers do not have recognition of unionized organization. In non-unionized organization workers do not have recognition of common front to protect collective interest, and as a consequence of the absence of consensus opinion, management is expected to be with a barrage of individual workers demand, which naturally would be very difficult, is manage.

The situation which is expected to be more conflict prone is paradoxically more peaceful even when conflict in all ramification is considered in unionized organization trade union support for workers in exercise of their power arising from group dynamic has been deplored by employers as being dysfunctional is an ideal peaceful industrial environment employers believe that minor dispute which would have been settled in- house are blown out of proportion by unions, and the notion of unions insistence on cost involving elaborate grievance procedure is concern to employers.


1.4 Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study is to examine in clear terms the specific cause of conflict in a local government service. It would attempt to establish modern management techniques of conflict management. The study will proffer an ‘over view of labour management relations in an organization and examine having identified the cause of conflict, grievance and dispute, the effectiveness of the machinery set for the resolution of the grievance and dispute which is restricted to the internal and external. (Statutory) machinery and collective agreement between the senior staff workers and junior staff workers and their management with a view to making suggestions to improve and or minimize, and if possible eliminate dispute from labour management interaction in an organization.


1.5 Significance of Study

This study is expected to establish specific cause of conflict in a local government service and how it effect can be mitigated. It would give manager of the organization insight on the forms of conflict in their organization and enhance their ability to manage such conflict.

The employee of local government and tend to benefit from the research most especially Ojo Local Government workers because the research would practically establish the benefit of organization harmony thereby ensuring their job security the research would also be beneficial in the area of research exercise for would be researcher. The study will also help to fashion out an understanding of the causes, nature and resolution of the conflict.


1.6 Research Questions

The study will attempt to address the following questions:

  1. Can structural problem lead to conflict?
  2. Can inter-government relationship generate conflict?
  3. Does political and bureaucratic corruption result to conflict?
  4. Have you ever had cause to protect over issues :concerning wages and salaries?
  5. Can dissatisfaction as to working environment and condition lead to conflict?
  6. Are you aware of any internal machinery for settling dispute in the organization?

1.7 Research Hypothesis

  1. Ho; There is no relationship between conflict and its management in a Local government service.
    HI; There is a relationship between conflict and its management in a Local government services.
  2. Ho; There is no cordial working relationship between management and employees that enhances productivity.
    HI; There is cordial working relationship between management and employees that enhances productivity.
  3. Ho; Effective conflict resolution does enhances employee’s productivity.,
    HI; Effective conflict resolution enhances employee’s productivity.
  4. HI; Cordial working relationship between management and employees enhance productivity.
    Ho; There is no need for modern management techniques in the operation of local government service for high productivity to be ensured.
  5. HI; There is need for modern management techniques in the operation of local government service for high productivity to be ensured.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Conflict:

This is defined as serious disagreement, an argument, a struggle, a fight.

Management:

This is defined as the art of getting things done through people.

Local Government:

This is defined as the vehicle for dynamic rural development and the third tier of the Executive arm of government.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Policy Implications

Overview

The aim of any research was to make an investigation into conflict management in Local Government Services in Nigeria. This chapter presents the summary, conclusion and policy implications based on objectives of the study. Different recommendations are addressed to Local Government Authorities and for later researchers.


Summary

The study was conducted with the main objective of examining the conflict management practices in Local Government Authorities particularly in Ojo LGA Council by looking into the types, areas, causes, effects and strategies of conflict management. The study adopted a descriptive research design, with one hundred respondents. Purposive and simple random techniques were used to select respondents where Councilors, District Executive Director, HODs, HOs and other employees were involved in the study. Questionnaire, interview, and documentary review were used as data collection methods.

The research questionnaire was divided into two parts. Part A comprised demographic information while Part B comprised closed and open ended questions like what types of conflicts, areas and causes of conflict, impact of conflicts and strategies or styles used to manage conflict and was done to get perceptions from study participants. The data was analysed based on the computation of various percentages and coefficients using statistical package for social scientists (SPSS). colleague


Conclusion

The aim of this study was to achieve its objectives. Based on the objectives of study, the following conclusion is made;

Conflict in LGAs is inevitable as it was seen in Ojo LGA Council. Conflicts arise when people work together and if not solved, they can hinder employees‟ performance, productivity, profitability and prosperity of the Councils in LGAs. From the research findings, it was found that, when there is scarcity of resources, differences in attitudes, poor communications, lack of teamwork, delay in promotion, unequal opportunities of training, poor implementation of projects, inadequacy of allowances, lack of clarity in roles and responsibility, rules and regulations, vision and mission of the Council, conflict may arise. Collective bargaining, meetings, compromising and avoiding are styles or strategies used to solve conflict. The success or failure in solving any particular conflict is determined by the style used and the success of conflict management style is determined much by the types and causes of conflict. Therefore, there is no particular style that can be used to handle every conflict. The Council should facilitate and support a culture of healthy response to conflict.


Policy Implications

There is a need for the LGAs to review the budget ceilings, allocation and releasing of funds for employee’s capacity building and development projects timely in Councils so that Council plans including development projects can be accomplished on time. The LGAs should encourage Councils to find other sources of funds that may be used to finance various employees‟ training rather than depending much on funds released by Central Government that cannot meet the Council requirements. Councils should be capacitated on how to conduct sound training needs assessment (TNA) and prepare comprehensive training programmes to reduce conflicts associated with opportunities for training. Furthermore, Councils should have promotion policies that are disclosed to all employees, and employees should be promoted and receive new salaries timely.


Recommendations for Improvement

Based on the findings from this study, Conflict Management in Local Government Services in Nigeria should facilitate and support a culture of a healthy response to workplace conflict by considering the following recommendations;

  1. The Council should conduct regular meetings between the management and employees, this will help the management to know the problems facing their employees as a result occurrence of conflict can be minimized. The integrity and disciplinary committee should be known to all employees and meet regularly so as to handle conflict when it arises.
  2. Conducting training needs assessment and preparing training programme. The Management should conduct TNA for all employees and prepare Council training programme. This will allow equal opportunities for training employees through long and short course training and this will reduce complaints. Discussions with individual staff and team can encourage reflection on strengths and difficulties experienced when working in the team. This will allow identification of relevant training courses for individuals and groups from different departments.
  3. Fairness in promoting employees. There should be openness and well known strategies on how to promote employees. For the promoted employees, the management should ensure that changes of employees‟ salaries on payroll are done on time through the system of Lawson (HCMIS) and given their salary arrears claims on time. Also, the management should reduce bureaucracy in handling promotions, salaries and employees‟ deductions in the system of Lawson.
  4. Clear rules, regulations and well known vision and mission of the Council. There should be clear and well known vision and mission of the Council, clear rules and regulations, roles and responsibilities of employees in order to avoid the possibilities of rising of conflicts. Important public service statutes and other circulars should be disclosed such as the Standing Orders for Public service, Public Service Act, 2002 and its amendments of 2007 and its regulations of 2003, recruitment and employment circulars, promotion, training circulars and others. These will help employees to know their rights and increase performance.
  5. Good communication is an essential ingredient to leading and building a better understanding with staff, and most importantly it establishes trust, cooperation and teamwork. The most critical communication skill is the capacity to listen. The willingness to listen and understand issues and concerns raised by staff (while not necessarily agreeing with their views or positions) can lead to increased insight, changed outlooks and the generation of solutions to problems. The simple act of bringing people together to talk makes a big difference in the course of conflict. Management of LGA Councils in LGAs should encourage Councilors as well as staff to meet and talk with each other to resolve differences. The DEDs and HODs has a role in encouraging this, and can facilitate positive outcomes by providing staff with guidance on how to approach such difficult conversations.
  6. Strongest of the mechanisms dealing with employees complaints. The management and mechanisms for dealing with employees‟ complaints in the Council should be strong. The management should have the ability to manage conflict, to deal with situations of conflict effectively when they arise and to create an environment where individuals are skilled and empowered to handle differences with co-workers in a positive and productive.
  7. Develop strong employee’s management skills. Management should develop strong employees management skills such as motivating staff, sharing information, providing constructive feedback etc. Management should provide clear conflict guidelines to staff and discuss on how conflict is to be managed in the workplace. Staff will have greater commitment to healthy conflict management if the management set time for group discussion on the effects of conflict on performance and positive benefits of well managed conflict.

Conflict Management In Local Government Service


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