The Interplay Between Conflict Management And Academic Staff Performance

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The Interplay Between Conflict Management And Academic Staff Performance


Abstract


The purpose of the study was to assess the interplay between conflict management and academic staff performance in the faculty of science in Edo State University, Edo State. Three specific objectives and research questions were formulated to guide the study. The respondents used were academic staff in the faculty of science of Edo State University. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. The researcher used questionnaire as the instrument for data collection. In order to answer the research questions, descriptive statistics of frequency, percentages and mean were used. From this study, it was revealed that the most effective management strategies used for minimizing conflict among academic staff were Dialogue Strategy, Prevention Strategy, and Mediation Strategy. Also, the impact of conflict management on academic staff performance was shown to include low productivity among staff, inability to achieve the goals and objectives of the institution, closing down of university, loss of lives and property, delay in promotion of staff, delay in payment of salaries, and disruption of academic calendar in the universities. The study concluded that in order to overcome conflict, workers welfare needs such as training, promotion and accommodation should be addressed when due as preventive strategies must be embraced rather than the curative measure. It was recommended that academic staff should adopt conflict management strategies which are most suitable to produce the most effective results and maintain the organizational process and flow of operations.


Table of Content


Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Question
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisation of the Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Review
  • 2.2 Types of Conflict
  • 2.3 Concept of Conflict Management
  • 2.4 Concept of Organisational Performance
  • 2.5 Conflict Management and Organisational Performance
  • 2.6 Theoretical Review
  • 2.6.1 Dual Concern Model of Conflict Resolution
  • 2.7 Empirical Review

Chapter Three

3.0 Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Target Population
  • 3.3 Sample Size
  • 3.4 Sampling Technique
  • 3.5 Instruments for Data Collection
  • 3.6 Validity of Instrument
  • 3.7 Reliability of Instrument
  • 3.8 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.9 Method of Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.0 Results and Discussion
  • 4.1 Result
  • 4.2 Green Management Policy
  • 4.3 Green Business Practices
  • 4.4 Drivers of Green Business Practices

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Conflict occurs when there is a situation of disagreement between two or more parties or group of people. A conflict situation is therefore one that is characterized by the inability of those concerned to iron out their differences. Conflict is an evitable feature of organizational life. The state of health of an organization lies along a continuum that ranges from a conflict – free organization to a conflict ridden organization. Organization like the universities is not immune from conflict. This is because; in any circumstances where two or more people co-exist to form an organization conflict is anticipated. The modern university system comprises a variety of communities based on the wide range of academic disciplines and functions. Its internal behavior constitutes a very complex organism shaped by these many hands. This implies that, internally the university life is shaped by many logic, habits and dynamics. It is also influenced by various challenges, constraints and pressures from the outer environment. The combinations of external pressures and internal pressures within the university systems made administration very difficult and complex, therefore conflict is inevitable

Conflict management is the process of planning to avoid conflict where possible and organizing to resolve the conflict if it eventually occurs. It has to do with maximizing the benefits of conflict. To maximize the outcome of conflict, several approaches of conflict management should be considered (external and internal). The examples of external approach are mediation, creative peace building, smoothing it over, enforcing a solution and confronting the situation directly (Porter, 2015). In Western cultural concepts such as Canada and United State of America, (USA) conflict is managed by fostering communication among disputants, problem solving and drafting agreement that meet their underlying needs, a win-win solution. Vinod and Swami (2016) opined that it can also make sense to involve religious priests or community leaders to communicate difficult truth directly.

Most often, externally mediated resolution of conflict is temporary. The underlying conflict of interest that generated the dispute will remain. New disputes will arise and the parties may go back to fighting (Billikopf, 2019). If therefore, an impact is to be made beyond a single conflict, the challenge is to develop procedures that the parties or individuals may use even in the absence of external mediators to resolve conflicts more satisfactorily and at lower costs (Billikopf, 2017).

Changing procedures alone, however, is not enough; disputants must have the motivational skills and resources to use the new procedures. The challenge is to change the conflict resolution system to the overall set of procedures used and the factors affecting their use, in order to encourage people to develop skills that will enable them to manage instead of fight over their differences. The burden of solving the conflict as Billikopf (2017) contends, remains with those who are most likely to be able to do so that is the contenders. Manual (2017) emphasized that certain skills are necessary for conflict management, so as to place the person managing the conflict at a vantage position to deal with the conflict in a more stable manner. Conflict management skills and strategies encompass styles and techniques used in managing conflict, between individuals or between groups. Manual (2017) identified interpersonal negotiation skills which are used to resolve interpersonal conflicts. To Hotepo et al (2016), conflict can also be managed in different ways, some focusing on interpersonal relationships and others on structural changes. To maximize the outcome of conflict management, however, the internal approaches/skills should be used. Such internal skills include negotiation, diplomacy, withdrawing from an actual or potential dispute, compromising, competitive, cooperation etc.

Another way of coping with conflict is through smoothing, emphasizing the areas of agreement and common goals and de-emphasizing disagreements. This is also the method of forcing, pushing one’s own view on others; this, of course, will cause overt or covert resistance. A traditional way of coping with conflict is to compromise, agreeing in part with the other person’s view or demand. According to Butler (2017) people who use integrating (collaborating), obliging (accommodating) or avoiding style were more effective than those who use dominating (competing) style. Individuals who use integrative (collaborative style) conflict handling style experience lower level of work conflict and stress at job, but people using avoiding or dominating (competing) style were facing more conflict and work stress (Friedman et al 2016).

Armed with these skills, individuals are more likely to arrive at satisfying and enduring outcomes and conflict thus becomes a positive force, rather than a negative force which would threaten the individual or group. Moreover conflict if properly managed can increase individuals’ innovativeness and productivity (Uline, Tschannen-moran, & Perez, 2017). Conflict can offer “interpersonal relationship satisfaction, creative problem solving, the growth of the global workforce, and domestic workplace diversity (Ting-Toomey & Octzel, 2016) and can lead to “improved efficiency, creativity, and profitability” (Axelrod & Johnson 2015). If however, mishandled conflict can directly cause “organizational inefficiency, reduced productivity, stymied innovation, and compromised profits” (Axelrod & Johnson 2015). It becomes necessary therefore to assess academic institutions where conflicts are bound whether individuals have the necessary skills to resolve the conflict as the findings may necessitate a training for them.


1.2 Statement of Problem

Although the educational system in Nigeria is plagued with many problems, one of the major problems in the schools according to Adegbenro (2016) is conflict. Over the last decades, it has been observed that Nigerian universities have been faced with so many crises ranging from conflict between academic staff and university administrators, students versus Academic staff, students versus university authorities, and non-academic staff versus university administrators. The conflicts have resulted in distrust and hostility among professionals and academics thus contributing in inadequate and improper administration in the university systems. Regardless of this situation, education stakeholders seemed to develop nonchalant attitude towards these conflicts. Without proper check and balance, it can be descriptive and negative as people involved will often see one another as rivals.

This is unhealthy for the University community and the country’s tertiary educational system as a whole. It therefore becomes imperative that conflict among academic staff, administrators and staff in Nigeria be investigated with the aim of proffering feasible strategies that can be used for controlling and managing it. This study therefore examines the utilization of conflict management strategies among academic staff in the faculty of science in Edo State University.

These are situations that may impede the staff work performance, quality of teaching and subsequent students’ performances if not properly handled and managed. Yet issues of conflict resolution most times are handled through external conflict resolution strategies, with little attention paid to the input of individuals in resolving the conflict. In spite of these attempts to resolve conflicts in schools through external conflict resolution strategies, the incidence of conflict in some of these schools of nursing continues to be high. If individuals do not possess necessary skills appropriate for conflict resolution, things would spiral out of order. It thus becomes necessary to investigate the interplay between conflict management and academic staff performance.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to assess the interplay between conflict management and academic staff performance.

The specific objectives of the study are to:

  1. Determine the major causes of conflict among academic staff in the faculty of science, Edo State University
  2. Ascertain the most effective management strategies used for minimizing conflict among academic staff in the faculty of science, Edo State University
  3. Determine the impact of conflict management on academic staff performance in the faculty of science, Edo State University

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions were formulated from the problem and the objectives of the study;

  1. What are the major causes of conflict among academic staff in the faculty of science, Edo State University?
  2. What is the most effective management strategies used for minimizing conflict among academic staff in the faculty of science, Edo State University?
  3. What is the impact of conflict management on academic staff performance in the faculty of science, Edo State University?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • HO1: There is no significant relationship between conflict management and academic staff performance in the faculty of science, Edo State University
  • HA1: There is a significant relationship between conflict management and academic staff performance in the faculty of science, Edo State University

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will provide information on conflict management strategies used among academic staff in the faculty of science, Edo State University. It will thus be of great significance to academic managers, academic staff, educators and researchers. The conflict management strategies found might sensitize the academic staff to organize seminars and workshops with the aim to improve the strategies in academic staff. Further studies could also be motivated to be carried out on the improvement of these conflict management strategies among academic staff. The findings from this study could also bring to the attention of professionals in the field of conflict resolution that a multidimensional strategy may be required in helping individuals in conflict resolution. In general, the academia and academic institutions stand to benefit from the study.

Also, this research work will contribute to the existing body of literature and knowledge on conflict management strategies used among academic staff in the faculty of science, Edo State University. This study would also serve as a means of empirical reference source for future researches as well as educate the public on the results of the findings as well as recommendations made that will be of benefit to the academic system and the society at large.


1.7 Scope of Study

This study is delimited to assessing the interplay between conflict management and academic staff performance in the faculty of science in Edo State University. The study covers the major causes of conflict among academic staff in the faculty of science, the most effective management strategies used for minimizing conflict among academic staff in the faculty of science, and the impact of conflict management on academic staff performance in the faculty of science Edo State University.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

The limitation of the study is that it only catered for academic staff in the faculty of science in Edo State University, Elele, Edo State, Nigeria. It would be difficult to capture the variables of the study among other populations in other schools beyond the state. Also, there was no standardized research instrument to capture the research variables hence, the use of a self-developed questionnaire by the researcher to tackle the pivotal issue of this research work.


1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

Conflict Management:

In this study refer to those qualities that academic staff have that enable them to resolve disputes that may arise interpersonally or intra-personally especially in their work place. These include stress management skills, social skills, avoidance skills competing skills and collaborating skills.

Conflict:

Refers to a clash of interest. The basis of conflict may vary but, it is always a part of society. It could be on the basis of personal, racial, class, caste, political and international systems or levels. Conflict in groups often follows a specific course and particular issue.

Staff Performance:

Assesses whether a person performs a job well. Job performance, studied academically as part of industrial and organizational psychology, also forms a part of human resources management. Performance is an important criterion for organizational outcomes and success.


1.10 Organisation of the Study

This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one included the background of the study, research problem, research objectives and questions as well as limitation of the study. Chapter two contains the literature review. Chapter three includes the methodology and study area. Chapter Four contains the results and discussion of key findings of the study. Chapter Five finally looks at the summary, conclusions, and recommendations based on the findings.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary of the Study

The primary objective of the study was to assess the interplay between conflict management and academic staff performance in the faculty of science in Edo State University, Edo State. A descriptive survey research design and 110 academic staff in the faculty of science were used. A self-designed questionnaire was developed according to the objectives of the study to guide in the generation of information. Socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents and the research question were analyzed using simple frequency and percentage. Findings of current survey demonstrated that majority of the respondents revealed the causes of conflict to include nonpayment of salaries as at when due (86.8%), sudden change in university policies (79.0%), imposition of decisions on employees by professional administrators (76.4%), inadequate provision of physical amenities such as electricity and water (78.3%), denials of right and privileges (79%), non implementation of government circular on staff welfare (89.0%), allegation of corruption against university professional administrators (77.6%), communication gap between professional administrators and academic (68.8%), improper power assignment (62.1%), refusal of management to honor agreement reached with workers union (86.4%), miscomprehension of duties (70.8%), and discriminatory application of university rules and regulations (90%). Findings demonstrated the major strategies to include Dialogue Strategy (87.7%), Prevention Strategy (80.2%), and Mediation Strategy (80.0%). The least effective strategy was the emergency strategy (67.8%). Lastly, the impact of conflict management on academic staff performance was shown to include low productivity among staff (82.9%), inability to achieve the goals and objectives of the institution (72.4%), closing down of university (80.9%), loss of lives and property (71.0%), delay in promotion of staff (82.3%), delay in payment of salaries (78.8%), and disruption of academic calendar in the universities (87.8%).


5.2 Conclusion

There is no doubt that conflict is inevitable in human existence so as it is in tertiary institutions. The management of conflict in tertiary institution was impaired. It is the major militating factor against the educational role in national development. From this study, it was revealed that the most effective management strategies used for minimizing conflict among academic staff were Dialogue Strategy, Prevention Strategy, and Mediation Strategy.

Also, the consequences of non-utilization of conflict management strategies were shown to include low productivity among staff, inability to achieve the goals and objectives of the institution, closing down of university, loss of lives and property, delay in promotion of staff, delay in payment of salaries, and disruption of academic calendar in the universities. In conclusion, the findings of this study implies that for tertiary institutions to move forward and overcome conflict, workers welfare needs such as training, promotion and accommodation should be addressed when due as preventive strategies must be embraced rather than the curative measure.


5.3 Recommendations

The following recommendations were made based on the findings of the study;

  1. Firstly, there is a need for academic staff to adopt conflict management strategies which are most suitable to produce the most effective results and maintain the organizational process and flow of operations.
  2. Secondly, the academic authorities and major stakeholders need to pay attention to issues that cause the occurrence of conflict in the workplace; this will involve paying attention to the welfare needs of the academic staff and workers in the institution.
  3. Lastly, conflict management could also be part of school of nursing curriculum to reduce conflict between nurses within and outside the profession. This will address future concerns and ensure competence in organizational operations and nursing practice.

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