The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of conflict management on the performance of National association of cooperative credit unions of nigeria (NACCUN) as an organization. A descriptive survey research design was adopted. The target population was employees from all cadres from top management, operational employees and other employees on casual basis at National association of cooperative credit unions of nigeria (NACCUN). The study‘s sample frame was the staff register that is managed at the Human Resource Department, The study used the census technique hence the total sample size was 153 employees. Structured questionnaires were the method used to collect data based on the research questions. The results were analyzed scientifically and objectively using the statistical package for Social Sciences version 21software. Data analysis adopted both descriptive and inferential statistics where correlation and regression analysis was used. A linear regression model was used to determine the nature of impact that the independent variables had on the dependent variable.
1.1 Background of the Study
Conflict among employees in an organization is not simply inevitable; rather it is the nature of complex organizations (Putnam & Krone, 2006). However, if managed properly, it can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and performance (Dana, 2000). Research indicates that management executives are spending twice as much time settling employees’ disputes than they did a decade ago (Accountemps, 2006). If conflicts are managed properly by applying the best course of action, the organization can increase it is performance in terms of utilizing the scarce resources and achieving the organizational objectives. (Awan & Anjum 2015). Conversely, unmanaged conflict negatively impacts both employee satisfaction and performance. Timely management of conflict has the potential of improving employee satisfaction and job performance (Awan & Anjum 2015). Management should therefore resolve conflicts so that organizational performance can be increased (Song, 2000).
In the organization context, performance is the ability to carry out the job well (Armstrong, 2006). According to Lebans & Euske (2006), Performance is a set of financial and nonfinancial indicators which offer information on the degree of achievement of objectives and results. According to Babin and Boles (2000), employee performance is about directing and supporting employees to work as effectively and efficiently as possible in line with the needs of the organization. This includes job satisfaction, commitment and perceived psychological contract (Armstrong, 2000).In National association of cooperative credit unions of nigeria (NACCUN), the employee performance appraisal technique adopted is the balanced score card method, where the aspects of financial, business operation efficiency, customers, learning and growth for each employee are measured. However National association of cooperative credit unions of nigeria (NACCUN) and other Saccos in Nigeria have generally focused on membership growth as the major indication of performance, other business aspects being at the periphery of the key performance indicators.
Armstrong (2006) states that conflict management is the ability of an organization to identify the sources of conflict and put strategic measures in place to minimize or control conflict.
According to Petkovic (2008), conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, establishing structures of conflict models, putting strategic measures as well as approaches in place. The models of conflict management are instruments used to assess the appropriate action required in a conflict situation. These include Blake and Mouton model, Thomas Kilman model and Holton model, (Newell, 2008) Approaches to conflict management, focus on the principle that conflicts cannot necessarily be resolved but can be managed using appropriate actions such as accommodating, avoiding, collaborating, compromise and confrontation (Brigs, 2007) strategies to conflict management are a futuristic detailed approach that looks into achieving long term wins for the parties involved in conflict. Strategies include negotiation, collective bargaining, mediation, third party intervention, brainstorming and communication (Petkovic, 2008).This study focused on the strategies of conflict management specifically negotiation, third party intervention and communication, studies show that the strategy of negotiation, third party and communication have worked in organizations globally for instance Canada, USA, Nigeria in Africa and in the Nigerian context, furthermore Studies have not been conducted specifically in National association of cooperative credit unions of nigeria (NACCUN) as an organization, so this study aimed to fill the gaps in literature on National association of cooperative credit unions of nigeria (NACCUN) as an organization.
Negotiation is the most common strategy of solving conflicts and it is successful when the interests of the opposite sides are partly common and partly different (Shalley et al., 2004). Negotiation is a process by which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding argument and dispute. (Verma, 2006) Since the essence of negotiation involves the ability to move beyond existing ideas and create alternatives, it can help an organization come up with a good performance plan by setting objectives that will in turn drive organizational performance (LeBaron, 2003) for instance a study on conflict management strategies used in secondary schools (Okoth 2013) concluded that the conflict management strategies of negotiation used in secondary schools in Kisumu municipality are effective in increasing performance.
While studies have shown that the strategies of negotiation, third party intervention and communication have worked in organizations globally and regionally, National association of cooperative credit unions of nigeria (NACCUN) has not been subjected to such a study. Since employees are the key players in a conflict situation, while at the same time form the key resources in driving performance, National association of cooperative credit unions of nigeria (NACCUN) therefore provides a good basis to ascertain the influence of conflict management on organization performance. This study sought to determine the influence of conflict management on the performance of National association of cooperative credit unions of nigeria (NACCUN) Society as an Organization.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There has been a growing interest in conflict management in recent years. First, research has stimulated interest in strategies and approaches to handling conflict which in the past may have involved litigation through the courts, Second, there is increased legalization of the workplace, particularly in the areas of occupational health and safety, discrimination, and harassment, Third, there has been heightened interest in the need for organizations to move to high performance work systems (Awan & Anjum 2015).
A few studies have been done on the same topic of conflict management with reference to the Nigerian context. Usman (2010), carried out a study on the effects of workplace conflicts on performance of teachers in secondary schools in Nigeria and concluded that conflicts had an impact on the performance. Similarly, a report on the findings of a survey done on the educational institutions in Nigeria revealed that most educational institutions have been less successful in management of conflicts in spite of the Government policies put in place including arbitration, communication, third party intervention and negotiation (Ministry of Education report, 2008). Many of the unmanaged conflicts were characterized by teacher’s strikes characterized by violence and wanton destruction of property. This had a trickledown effect on the institutional academic performance. This study sought to establish the influence of conflict management on organization performance with a specific focus on National association of cooperative credit unions of nigeria (NACCUN).
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of conflict management on organizational performance.
The interest in this study was to examine conflict as a whole in the organization and more specifically:
- To ascertain the extent to which negotiation as a conflict management strategy influences organization performance
- To establish the extent to which third party intervention as a conflict management strategy influences organization performance
- To determine the extent to which communication as a conflict management strategy influences organization performance