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Conflict Resolution Strategies and Headteachers Administrative Effectiveness In Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

Conflict has different definitions. It can be referred to as a form of friction, disagreement, or discord arising within a group when the actions of one or more members of a group are either resisted by or unacceptable to one or more members of another group. It can be viewed as mutual hostility in inter-human relationship; such as occurring in form of distrust, injustice, superiority, strikes, withdrawal of love and support, open violence, or even destruction of life and properties. Conflicts do occur at the level of interpersonal, inter-group, institutional or intra-institutional relationship between staffs and non-staffs, the students or pupils and the school authority, the school and the community etc. Conflicts also occur among peer groups, families and organizations. Routine group interaction is first disrupted by an initial conflict often caused by differences of opinion, disagreements between members or scarcity of resources.  During this period of conflict escalation in some cases gives way to a conflict resolution stage, after which the group can eventually return to routine group interaction.

Conflicts is rarely seen as constructive; however, in certain contexts such as competition in sports, moderate levels of conflict can be seen as being mutually beneficial, facilitating, understanding, tolerance, learning and effectiveness.  Sophia Jowett differentiates between content conflicts where individuals disagree about how to deal with a certain issue, and relational conflict where individuals disagree about one another, noting that the content conflict can be beneficial, increasing motivation and stimulating discussion, whereas the relational conflicts decreases the performance, loyalty, satisfaction, commitment and causes individuals to be irritable, negative and suspicious. Task conflict is related to disagreements in view points and opinion about a particular task.

This effect on individual, groups as well as social, political, economic, religious and educational attainment of their goals and objectives.  Conflicts are natural part of life and, therefore, a natural part of school life. The manner in which conflicts are handled in an institution, to a large extent determined the effectiveness of such institution. Conflicts can also be viewed as a reality of management and organizational behaviour and can be related to power and politics.

Conflict Resolution (Disambiguation) otherwise known as reconciliation. It is conceptualized as the methods and processes involved in facilitating the peaceful ending of conflict and retribution. The term “Conflict resolution” may be used interchangeably with dispute resolution. The concept of v resolution can be thought to encompass the use of non-violent resistant measured by conflicted parties in an attempt to promote effective resolution. Conflicts affect the accomplishment of organizational goals due to their attendant stress, hostilities and other undesirable effects when poorly resolved. The issue of conflict has become paramount for goal accomplishment. The term “conflict” carries a variety of definitions, depending on the usage and the context of its usage. Rahim (1992) defined conflict as an interactive process is manifested in a compatibility, disagreement, or difference within or between social entities (i.e individuals, groups, organizations). Rahim (1995) indentifies compromise as a behavior at the intermediate level of co-operation and assertiveness. The administrator using this style engages in give and take and may make a series of concessions. According to Bailey (1991) the ability to successfully minimize and resolve conflict is an important skill for School administrators to develop. Oyebade (1994) in his study described conflict as inevitable and as a fact of life.

In primary school system, there had been chains of conflicts which had let to gradual but steady disruption of academic activities. The nature and types of conflicts vary from one school to another as well as between staff and pupils.  The nature and type of conflict may determine the conflict resolution strategy to be adopted, such as; avoidance, domination, accommodation, compromise and consensus, introduced by Mary Parker Follett (1926) and Kerzner (1998). Daihrendorf’s (1995) describe conflict as the tension within the organizational system. Tensions can be observed by paying attention to possible incompatibilities among department, members of staff or employees to complexities of the communication network; and even the organizational structure itself.

The manner in which conflicts are resolved in the school system, to a large extent can affect the administrative effectiveness of the school, hence the realization of educational goals and objectives at the level of education. School administrators use the strategy that is more appropriate for the conflict situation, in order to resolve the conflict. The strategies adopted may vary according to the nature of conflict or source of conflict, but when conflict along lines is properly resolved, there can be a positive outcome. The resolution of conflicts using peaceful, non-violent methods has been around for a long time. There are strategies for peaceful resolution of conflict along the lines prescribed by the institutions or organization. These strategies are available at individual, family, group, organization, community or international levels. The process of using the effectiveness of the administration during conflict situation is to apply various conflict resolution strategies and determine how each predicts administrative effectiveness of the headteachers. The “appropriate resolution strategy in a given situation requires accurate identification of both the conflict origin and participants and their relationship, in order to apply the most effective resolution techniques”. However, conflicts have become part and parcel of organizational and can be included in primary schools and other levels of educational institutions.  It also implies that as conflict continued to manifest, research in multifarious dimensions with a view to exploring the best strategies for meaningful conflicts. This study is to determine the extent of conflict resolution strategies predicting the administrative effectiveness to primary school headteachers in Ikot Ekpene. In other words, what is the extent to which conflict resolution strategies predict administrative effectiveness of primary school headteachers in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area? The question necessitated the investigation of some of strategies considered important for the prediction of administrative effectiveness of primary school headteachers.

Conflict Resolution strategies is the process of facilitating peace, negotiation strategies to avoid conflict where possible and organizing to resolve conflict (Baron, 2006). Conflict resolution is also the process of reducing the negative and destructive capacity of conflict through a number of measures and by working with and through the parties involved in that conflict (John, 1990). Conflict Resolution strategies are the different methods of handling conflict by the school heads.  The skill and competence of the school headteachers in conflict resolution would to a large extent determine the administrative effectiveness of the school system.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

In the course of disagreement, controversies, discords, frictions, interactions and differences inherent in human nature are exposed.  Conflicts are interpersonal, inter-departmental, staff-management, staff-pupil, or pupil-pupil, need to be effectively managed and resolved for the good of the school system. Conflict resolution strategies such as suspension, confrontation, structural change and delay approaches may have been adopted by school headteachers to bring about effective administration but all prone negative.  As noted by Udoho (2008) poor knowledge of conflict resolution strategies often lead to school administrators adopting ineffective methods in resolving conflicts in their institutions, and cannot attract needed resources with which to function effectively. Costly, disruption often ensue which negatively affect the teaching and learning process and can impede the realization of educational goals and objectives in primary schools.

Mostly, the present population in schools has brought about changes in the behaviour of pupils due to the introduction of free and compulsory education in both primary and secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State by the State government. Schools have been more complicated, that both the school administrators and teachers are usually confronted by parents and other stakeholders in the educational system, on the reports of the negative attitude of their children.  Pupils make things too difficult in term of disobedience, noise-making, pinching, violence practices and fighting, all these jeopardize the educational goals and objectives.

Therefore, the problems of this study is to examine how conflicts resolution strategies can predict administrative effectiveness of primary school headteachers in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The study was done to examine conflict resolution strategies and administrative effectiveness of primary school headteachers in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area.

The objectives of the study were to:

  1. determine how avoidance as conflict resolution strategy predicts headteachers administrative effectiveness in primary schools.
  2. determine how domination as conflict resolution strategy predicts headteachers administrative effectiveness in primary schools.
  3. determine how accommodation as conflict resolution strategy predicts headteachers administrative effectiveness in primary schools.
  4. determine how compromise as conflict resolution strategy predicts headteachers administrative effectiveness in primary schools.

1.4       Significance of the Study

The study is immensely significant to a number of beneficiaries while at the same time contributing to the stock of knowledge. The knowledge of conflict resolution would be useful to school headteachers in dealing with both staff and pupils in conflict situations. Such knowledge is hoped to shape their behaviour and foster a conducive teaching-learning environment in schools, besides, the headteachers will be better guided in taking decisions on issues of conflict in school system.

The study would also expose the extent of the relationship between conflicts resolution strategies and headteachers administrative effectiveness in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area. Pupils and teachers will benefit from the study as they will gain the knowledge of conflict resolution strategies through their participation in seminar for which this study is prepared. Parents and stakeholders will also benefit when they are exposed to this knowledge.  The researcher stands to benefit from the study as it form the basis and serve as a resource material for further studies in related areas.

 

 

1.5       Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.

  1. What is the extent to which avoidance as a conflict resolution strategy predict headteachers administrative effectiveness in primary schools?
  2. To what extent does domination as conflict resolution strategy predict headteachers administrative effectiveness in primary schools?
  3. What is the extent to which accommodation as a conflict resolution strategy predict headteachers administrative effectiveness in primary schools?
  4. To what extent does compromise as conflict resolution strategy predicts headteachers administrative effectiveness in primary schools?

1.6       Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated to direct the study.

  1. Avoidance as conflict resolution strategy does not significantly predit headteachers administrative effectiveness.
  2. Domination as conflict resolution strategy does not significantly predict headteachers administrative effectiveness in primary schools.
  3. Accommodation as conflict resolution strategy does not significantly predict headteachers administrative effectiveness in primary school.
  4. Headteachers administrative effectiveness in primary schools is not significantly predicted by compromise as conflict resolution strategy.

1.7       Scope of the Study

This study is delimited to the conflict resolution strategies and heateachers administrative effectiveness in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area. The variables of avoidance, dominance, accommodation and compromise are considered in the study.

1.8       Definition of Terms

Below are the definition of terms used in the study.

Conflict Resolution:  These are the approaches or techniques used in resolving conflict in primary schools by headteachers. The following has five (5) conflict resolution approaches to conflict: Avoidance, Domination, Accommodation, Compromise and Consensus.

Avoidance: This refers to an uncooperative approach to conflict resolution. A situation where the headteacher could stay out of conflict, ignores disagreement and often remain neutral.

Domination:  This approach has to do with assertion and uncooperative behaviours. The headteacher remains focused on resolution to the conflict without yielding and fail to recognize the value of alternative.

Accommodation:  This is an approach where the headteacher seeks to preserve personal relationships even when it does benefit project objectives.

Compromise:  The approach refers to behaviours of cooperation and assertiveness. The headteacher attempts to balance personal relationship and may make a series of concessions.

Headteachers:  They are primary school administrators that give direction to smooth functioning of the schools.

Administrative Effectiveness:  This defines the smooth running of the school with a reasonable tone for teachers and pupils to carry out their functions properly.

 

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

 

This chapter will be treated under the following sub-heading:

(1)        Theoretical Framework

(2)        Conceptual Framework

(3)        Empirical Framework

(4)        Summary of Literature Review

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