Conflict Management Strategies And Employee Performance

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Conflict Management Strategies And Employee Performance


Abstract


This study was carried out on the impact of conflict management strategies on employee performance using some selected secondary school in Ondo state as a case study. The study was carried out to examine the impact of accommodating conflict management strategy on the commitment of Academic staffs in selected secondary schools in Ondo State, ascertain the influence of collaborating conflict management strategy on the engagement of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State, examine the relationship between the avoidance conflict management strategy and the work attitude of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State, evaluate the impact of collective bargaining on the creativity of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State, and determine the effect of compromise strategy on job satisfaction of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprised of academic staff of some selected public secondary schools in Ondo State. In determining the sample size, the researcher purposefully selected 165 respondents and 150 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables. While the hypotheses was tested Pearson Correlation statistical tool, SPSS v23. The result of the findings reveals that the accommodating conflict management strategy has a positive impact on the commitment of Academic staffs in selected secondary schools in Ondo State. The study also showed that the collaborating conflict management strategy has a positive impact on the engagement of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State. Therefore, it is recommended that the concerned authorities must be flexible in the adoption of strategies of conflict management. The circumstances of the organization and the relationship subsisting between the parties must be allowed to determine the choice of management strategy. A mindset that accommodates conflicting viewpoints is necessary for effective management of conflicts. To mention but a few.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The performance of every organization is a reflection and function of collective efforts of stakeholders in business who contribute in one way or the other. An Organisation’s success and competitiveness depend upon its ability to embrace diversity in the workforce. Each department brings together diverse groups of people who come from different backgrounds and have differing ideas, personalities, perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, values, goals and interests. Differences in goals and interests may sometimes overlap with those of other groups which may result in conflict. The growing organizational interactions among employees from different departments with different professional specializations lead to more complex and dynamic relationships within organizations (Zhu, 2013). Global economic crises erupted the world economy in the mid-2008 has challenged managers, strategist and scholars to question how to sustain long term competitive business strategy. The conflict in the international organisations also challenges competitive strategies, disseminating the failure in group interaction, synergy, and productivity. Therefore, solving conflict at international business organisation and global, leadership underpins the success of long term stability and success. Educational institutions in Nigeria are usually be devilled with so many challenges ranging from scarcity of resources to build infrastructures, payment of salaries and emoluments to making funds available for research development (Alajekwu & Alajekwu, 2017). This is quite pervasive in public owned institutions of higher learning that are majorly dependent on tertiary education trust fund (TETFUND) gotten from budgetary allocation to the educational sector. However, staff of these institutions spent most of their productive energies and times especially those who are saddled with the responsibility of managing staff welfare by resolving issues that could be regarded as needless if the right things are being done on time to nip conflict in the bud. The organisation in its entirety cannot exist without human and physical resources as lubricant of smooth running of its functions. Thus, achieving the organisational objective through the goal congruence is always a challenge as a result of conflict of interest among the employees’ and alsowithin the management. Conflicts could either be “functional” which support an organisation’s goals, or “dysfunctional” which prevents an organisation from achieving its goals. Nevertheless, whichever form conflict manifests, it may have destructive consequences if not properly handled. But if managed properly, conflict can add value to employee performance and increase organisational productivity. Conflict cannot be completely eradicated from human beings and their endeavours, be it group or organisation. This means that as long as there is interplay between individuals in an organisation, conflict is a “necessary evil” that one cannot do without. Muhammad, Imran and Faisal (2011) opine that for an organisation to grow, change and survive, it must resolve conflicts among stakeholders. The American Management Association reported that managers spend at least 24% (percent) of their time in a working day resolving conflicts (Guttman,2009). This shows the importance of conflict resolution in an organisation. Conflict in an organisation is a state of friction caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests between people working together (Oseremen & Osemeke, 2015). This is why it isso important to understand different types of conflicts in an organization and to differentiate between the ones that have positive consequences from those of negative consequences.

Through effective conflict management, conducive working atmosphere is created for promoting opportunities, encouraging innovation and movement directed towards non-violent reconciliation of basic clashing interests. According to Oseremen and Osemeke (2015), effective conflict management leads to organisational performance, enhances productivity and improves the growth and sustainability of the organisation. Researchers and experts such as Alajekwu & Alajekwu, (2017) identified various methods and techniques in which conflict can be properly managed in an organization, prominent among these include: avoidance, accommodation, competition, compromise and collaboration strategy. The avoidance strategy is called conflict avoidance. Any organisation using this method is sitting on a keg of gun-powder. The accommodation strategy believes that no amount of sacrifice is too much to allow peace to reign. It is a palliative technique which involves capitulation and appeasement. In the compromise strategy, parties to the conflict are willing to give up something in order to settle the conflicting problem. The last approach is collaboration which is a win-win approach whereby parties to a conflict are prepared, willing and ready to satisfy each other demands fully. Except for the collaboration strategy which isreflected in behaviours that are both cooperative and assertive, all other approaches dependmajorly on the structure of the organisation, because they provide a short term solution to conflict situations.

In Nigeria, conflict presently constitutes a menacing factor in academic life. Schools frequently appear to be at the center of tension and on occasions, they are probably a manifestation of problems in the general policy. This is witnessed by the frequent ASUU strikes (Academic Staff Union of Universities) that occur in tertiary institutions in the country. According to Egberigbe (2009) a major cause of this repeated conflict is the failure of the Nigerian Government to meet the demands of Nigerian Lecturers and provide them with the necessary motivation to be able to carry out their duties effectively. The first ever ASUU strike was in 1988 after the body ASUU was newly formed in 1978 (Lateef, 2014). The strike was done in a bid to obtain fair wages and university autonomy (Nasir, 2013). The strike was met with a tough response from the General Babangida’s Military regime as the body was suspended and stripped of its properties (Babasola, 2002). The body was later restored in 1990 after negotiations with the military government (Babasola, 2002). However, since then the ASUU body has gone on no less than eighteen strikes due to various demands ranging from improvement in salary, better working conditions and improvement of University Facilities (Fashola, 2015). This has adversely affected the student’s academic performance and the level of quality education in Nigeria, as no Nigerian University is currently ranked among the top one thousand universities in the world (Johnson, 2013).

Furthermore, conflicts in the Nigerian Educational institutions do not just occur in universities they also occur in other tertiary institutions like polytechnics and colleges of education. For instance, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, in January 2017 embarked on a nationwide seven-day strike over shortfall in payment of salaries and allowances among other demands. They have also threatened recently to embark on another nationwide strike until their salary demands are met (Hassan, 2015). Furthermore, the Colleges of Education in Nigeria also regularly go on strike in protest of poor infrastructure and poor salaries of lecturers and facilitators in the schools as occasioned by their strike in 2014 (chimara, 2016).

Furthermore, conflicts also take place in secondary schools between teachers and the government in form of NUT (Nigerian Union of Teachers) strikes (Akinsanya, 2016). Since the forming of the Union in 1931 under the leadership of the late Oludotun Ransome Kuti, they have been at the forefront of advocating for teacher’s rights. This many times has led to clashes with the government with it culminating in strikes. These strikes have affected the growth of the educational industry and students’ academic performance. According to West African Examination Council (2016) Nigeria’s success rate in their SSCE exams has been dropping steadily over the past four years with 2017s success rates less than 30% (Johnson, 2017). Most of the times this strikes are caused by the variation in the demand of teachers and lecturers in contrast to what the government is willing to meet. Furthermore, conflict in secondary schools doesn’t stop there as it occurs between teachers and the principals, between teachers themselves or between teachers and the students. This has forced many teachers who are in managerial positions in schools to adopt various techniques of conflict management (Nwagbara, 2016).

According to Flummery (2015) the style of conflict management adopted by the manager depends on the manager’s personality. Collaborating, this review Nwagbara (2016) the manager in a secondary school may choose to adopt the accommodating style of conflict management. The accommodating style of conflict management involves selflessness and low assertiveness (Spears, 2014). According to Laden (2013) it majorly adopted by easy going personalities who rather accept the blame than allow the conflict to linger. According to Nwagbara (2015) adopting this style of conflict management maybe best in order to foster unity among staffs and harmony. Nwagbara (2015) further stated that a manager in a secondary school may choose to adopt the collaborative style of conflict management.

Mason (2014) opined that the collaborative style of management tries to make sure all the aggrieved parties are satisfied. It involves working with the aggrieved parties to find a solution for both parties (Wheater, 2015). Onasanya (2016) noted that this style may be adopted by a manager who runs his administration like a politician. To him this style of conflict management can be easily achieved when a leader is a popular figure among his/her team members. According Wheater (2015) is of the opinion that a transformational leader is more likely to adopt this kind of approach. Furthermore, the collaborative style of conflict management is the style that has been adopted under the democratic government in Nigeria when managing conflicts between them and various educational labour unions. Also, according to Nwagbara (2015) notes that the manager can adopt the avoidance strategy of conflict management. This strategy of conflict management involves the ignoring of the existence of the conflict until the conflict ends (Wheater, 2015). According to Smith (2011) managers that tend adopt this strategy are managers with low self esteem or managers who do not hold much power over the conflicting parties.

In conclusion to this discussion on conflict management, Nwagbara (2015) also opined that the manager of a secondary school may choose to adopt the competitive style of conflict management. According to Shepherd (2014) sees this style of conflict management as a confrontational strategy where the manager seeks to address the conflict immediately in an aggressive manner. According to Wheater (2015) managers that are likely to adopt this strategy are choleric in nature and adopt an almost dictator like and authoritarian style of leadership. According to Dogtigney (2017) this style is adopted majorly by heads of the schools in crisis situations where hard decisions like a lay-off or a suspension for the parties involved have to be taken. A most likely scenario where this would be needed in a secondary school is when there are physical confrontations among the staffs of the school.

Despite the various strategies adopted to manage conflicts in Nigerian secondary schools it still remains a major problem that all stakeholders in the educational need to take as a great concern. It affects the community, the school administration and the government directly or indirectly. If allowed to continue, it will ruin educational institutions and education itself in Nigeria.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The biggest problem in an organization is catching conflict young and addressing it before it escalates. According to Johnson (2007) it is obvious that most schools have devoted a greater part of academic time and effort to settle conflict related issues be it between employees or manager-subordinate conflict. This scenario has continued unabated, hence poses a negative challenge to the growth of these schools. Although, scholars have reasoned that conflict cannot be completely ruled out in any organization (Uchede, Anijaobi & Odigove, 2013) however when they occur frequently in the academic industry it could have an adverse effect on the schools especially in terms of parental trust, loss of students, poor brand image of the school, unemployment of school staffs and ultimately the reduction in profits. Just like any other state in Nigeria, Ondo State private secondary schools are still confronted with various forms of conflict both interpersonal and task conflicts among employees and management staffs. However, the dilemma remains the style of conflict management to adopt that will turn conflicts into a positive solution that increases the performance of staffs and students

According to Wheater (2015) the appropriate style of conflict management to use is the accommodating style of conflict management. He noted that this style was needed to improve team spirit among employees and would eventually improve employee commitment. However, Douglas (2013) disagreed by stating that the accommodating style would only make the aggressors grow confident and would not hesitate to cause another conflict when they feel it is needed.

Furthermore, Nwagbara (2015) suggested the collaborative style of conflict management would be suitable for adoption in secondary schools. He further suggested that it improve employee engagement as it makes employees feel relevant and an important part of the organization. However, Sulaimon (2009) suggested that collaborative style of conflict management cannot be achieved at all times due to the fact that it is difficult to come up with a resolution that pleases all aggrieved parties at all times.

Makinde (2014) opined that the avoidance strategy is an effective conflict management strategy in secondary schools. However, Wheater (2015) contradicted by pointing out that adopting the avoidance strategy might make the manager seem weak and encourage the staffs to put in a poor work attitude.

Smith (2012) further suggested that the competitive conflict management strategy was most suitable for adoption in organizations such as secondary schools. He noted that it allows for competition among employees and which will improve creativity among the employees.

Therefore, it is very important to examine which of the conflict management strategies would be effective in channeling disagreement to increase staff performance given the fact that conflict is inevitable.

Therefore, it is against this backdrop that this study aims to examine the impact of various conflict management strategies on the performance of secondary school staffs in Ondo state.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to examine the interaction of the contribution of different conflict management strategies on employee performance in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.

Specifically, the objectives will be to;

  1. Examine the impact of accommodating conflict management strategy on the commitment of Academic staffs in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.
  2. Ascertain the influence of collaborating conflict management strategy on the engagement of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.
  3. Examine the relationship between the avoidance conflict management strategy and the work attitude of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.
  4. Evaluate the impact of collective bargaining on the creativity of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.
  5. Determine the effect of compromise strategy on job satisfaction of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.

1.4 Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following questions;

  1. What is the impact of accommodating conflict management strategy on the commitment of Academic staffs in selected secondary schools in Ondo State?
  2. What is the influence of collaborating conflict management strategy on the engagement of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State?
  3. Does avoidance conflict management strategy have a positive effect on the work attitude of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State?
  4. What is the impact of collective bargaining on the creativity of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State?
  5. What is the effect of compromise strategy on job satisfaction of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated in order to achieve the objectives of the study.

Ho1: There is no significant relationship between accommodating conflict management strategy and the commitment of Academic staffs in secondary schools.

Ho2: There is no significant relationship between collaborating conflict management strategy and the engagement of Academic Staff in secondary schools.

Ho3: There is no significant relationship between avoidance conflict management strategy and work attitude of Academic Staff in secondary schools.

Ho4: There is no significant relationship between collective bargaining and the creativity of Academic Staff in secondary schools.

Ho5: There is no significant relationship between compromise strategy and the job satisfaction of Academic Staff in secondary schools.


1.6 Significance of the Study

The study will be significant to the management of private secondary schools in Ondo state of as it will show them the best strategy in handling conflicts.

It will also be significant to the Academic industry as it will show them the causes of conflict in the Academic industry and how it can be avoided and resolved.

The study will also be of use to the government as they can also apply the findings to public sector employees.

Finally, the study will be significant to society as it will teach them how to live amicably with their fellow beings and the best way of resolving dispute that arise amongst them.


1.7 Scope of the Study:

The study will focus on the relationship between conflict management strategies and employee performance in selected private schools in ondo state. All schools in the country cannot be covered in this research neither would all the secondary schools in Ondo state be covered. Therefore, this study would restrict itself to some selected public secondary schools in Ondo state Nigeria. The target population are the indigenes residing to impact high secondary school Akure, Ondo state is 150 employees.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.


1.9 Operational Definition of Terms:

Organizational Commitment:

This is the bond an employee experience with their organization. Employees who are committed to their organization feel that they fit in, and feel they understand the goals of the organization.

Accommodation:

It involves giving into the others wishes or smoothing the choppy waves of a conflict. This is a style where a manager prefers other’s side as compared to his own side. Accommodation sacrifices one’s own goals for the sake of the other person. When a party is willing to give up just about everything in order to preserve the relationship with the other party.

Collaboration:

It occurs when parties cooperatively work together until a mutually agreeable solution is found. It is also called win/win strategy. In using this style of conflict, both parties are trying find a solution which truly satisfies the needs of each

Avoidance:

This is a conflict style where a manager is neither cooperative for other’s goal nor assertive for his own preferred outcome. Using this style of conflict, it is clear to both parties that the consequences of delay in making a decision will be minimal

Competition:

This is a conflict style where managers pursue his own goal for his preferred outcome with less or no concern for the other party. Using this style of conflict, you have no concern about the other side feeling’s or how they will live with the decisions

Engagement:

This is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization

Creativity:

It is the act of bringing something new into being which requires passion and commitment

Attitude:

It refers to our opinion, beliefs, and feelings about aspects of our environment


1.10 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the impact of conflict management strategies on employee performance using some selected secondary school in Ondo state as a case study.The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was to examine the impact of conflict management strategies on employee performance using some selected secondary school in Ondo state as a case study. The study specifically was aimed to examine the impact of accommodating conflict management strategy on the commitment of Academic staffs in selected secondary schools in Ondo State, ascertain the influence of collaborating conflict management strategy on the engagement of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State, examine the relationship between the avoidance conflict management strategy and the work attitude of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State, evaluate the impact of collective bargaining on the creativity of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State, and determine the effect of compromise strategy on job satisfaction of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 150 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents are academic Staff of some selected public secondary schools in Ondo State.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following conclusion.

  1. The accommodating conflict management strategy has a positive impact on the commitment of Academic staffs in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.
  2. The collaborating conflict management strategy has a positive impact on the engagement of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.
  3. There is a significant relationship between the avoidance conflict management strategy and the work attitude of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.
  4. The collaborating collective bargaining has a positive impact on the creativity of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.
  5. The collaborating compromise strategy has a positive impact on the job satisfaction of Academic Staff in selected secondary schools in Ondo State.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are proffered.

  1. The concerned authorities must be flexible in the adoption of strategies of conflict management. The circumstances of the organization and the relationship subsisting between the parties must be allowed to determine the choice of management strategy. A mindset that accommodates conflicting viewpoints is necessary for effective management of conflicts.
  2. Various forms of opinions, interests and demands should be accommodated for employees to feel satisfied.
    There is the need to collaborate among parties in conflict in order to give a sense of belonging to members.

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