Conflict management strategies are the measures used to manage conflict in the university in order to improve staff performance but unfortunately these polytechnics have suffered major decline due to conflict. Conflict is a natural phenomenon in most organisations as long as human relationships are involved. As such the existence of conflict has become an issue of concern in Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku as a result of employees’ welfare. The resulting effect has not only affected the employees but also the organisation as a whole. This study examined the Effect of Conflict Management on the Performance of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku. The study adopts survey design and is cross sectional in nature. The population of the study consists of 112 staff of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku. Multiple regression was utilized in analyzing the data. The study concluded that there is no one best strategy in managing conflict as the management of conflict depends on the behavioural intentions of the parties to conflict, the time frame and the situation the organisation finds itself. It therefore recommended that management of Delta state polytechnic should emphasize the adoption of collaboration and avoidance strategies in order to improve the performance of the organisation.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
In every aspect of human society and endeavor, conflict is seen as a natural phenomenon that is, inevitable as long as human relationships are involved. It is a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected or is about to negatively affect something that the first party cares about (Robbins, Judge & Vohra, 2012). At home and at work, conflict is very common and in some cases unavoidable (Mughal & Khan, 2013). As a result of people interacting with each other, friction, disagreements or arguments may arise resulting from actual or perceived differences or incompatibilities, thereby escalating to conflict. Thus, conflicts in organisations can take many formssuch as interpersonal conflict, task conflict and process conflict which give rise to diverse approaches to conflict management (Budd & colvin, 2013).
Nigerian Government over the years however has set up various techniques that will guide organisations in the management of conflicts. Some of these management techniques are available in the provision of Labour/Employment Act, 1971; Workmen’s Compensation Act, 2010, Trade Dispute Amendment Decree, 1988, No 39 and Trade Dispute Act 18, 2004 which provided five steps for legal management of conflict in organisations in the country (Akinwale, 2011). According to Akinwale, 2011, these policies are voluntary settlements of conflict with the use of internal machinery of grievance procedures and also with the use of external machinery comprising of mediator, conciliator, and reference of disputes to industrial arbitration panel, national industrial court and the constitution of a board of enquiry. In the resolution of conflict, the judgment of the national industrial court is final and binding on the employers and employees from the date of the judgment in the country. Longe (2015) identified that the Trade Union Act,
2005 is also used for managing union-management conflict in organisations and has been adopted by some multinational firms in the country.
Conflict management involves doing things to limit the negative aspects of conflict and to increase the positive aspects of conflict with the aim of enhancing learning and group outcomes, including effectiveness or performance in organisational settings (Rahim, 2011). Conflict management is something that managers need to deal with as conflict significantly affects employee morale and turnover, which affects the prosperity of an organisation, either constructively or destructively. Therefore, the effectiveness or otherwise of the management of conflict is largely dependent on how well the causes of the conflict have been understood.
When conflict is well managed, it can bring enormous benefits to people and organisations as conflict management is often one of the biggest drivers of change in any organisational set up. If properly handled, it can create stronger bonds, help people to be more innovative, build effective teams, establish strong working relationship and eventually improve individual as well as organisational performance. The key is to openly face an issue and negotiate a win-win outcome from those parties involved (Garcia, 2013).
Organisational performance is seen as the result of an activity which has been achieved by an organisation related to its authority and responsibility in achieving the goal legally, not against the law, and conforming to the morale and ethics of the organisation (Almajali, Alamro & Al- Soub, 2012). The appropriate measure selected to assess organisational performance (financial or non-financial) is considered to depend on the type of organisation to be evaluated, and the objectives to be achieved through that evaluation. However, improved organisational performance is dependent on the appropriate conflict management strategy (s) such as, collaboration strategy, compromise strategy and avoidance strategy adopted by the organisation in managing conflict. Applying the appropriate strategy will improve employees‟ performance resulting to an improved organisational performance. On the other hand, the inability of the organisation to apply the appropriate conflict management strategy(s) will lead to a decline in employees‟ performance which in turn will result in a decline in organisational performance.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
The existence of conflict is an issue of concern in Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku. The organisation is confronted with the issue of negotiation of staff bonuses, usually at the end of the year. The lingering issue results into conflict between management and employees of the organisation which manifested in form of employees nursing grievances against management, change of attitude or behaviuor, decrease in effort towards work, physical confrontation between both parties and stoppage of production activities as employees refuse to work. This affected the effectiveness and performance of the individual employees and the organisation as a whole. Attempt by management to resolve the conflict has only led to conflict suppression. This is because management made use of domination strategy which is of benefit to them at the expense of the employees. As a result, there is a need for Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku to devise an effective means of resolving the organisational conflict.
Several studies have been carried out on conflict management; however, most of these studies are qualitative in nature (Fatile & Adejuwon, 2011; Garcia, 2013; Kazimoto, 2013; Nwosu & Makinde, 2014; Ebhote & Monday, 2015). They cannot be generalised in all aspects of organisations, because conflict management has to do with human intentions. While some empirical studies in this area were carried out using some or all the major conflict management strategies on other dependent variables such as job stress, organisational effectiveness and turnover intention (El Dahshan & Keshk, 2014; Kanani & Farahani, 2014; Lazarus, 2014; Sima, Gbolamabbas, & Saeed, 2012); others were on organisational performance (Ongori, 2009;Hotepo, Asokere, Abdulazeez, &Ajemunigbohun, 2010; Obasan, 2011; Mughal & Khan, 2013; Ajike, Akinlabi, Magaji & Sonubi, 2015; Awan & Saeed, 2015 and Longe, 2015). Studies conducted by Ongori (2009), Hotepo, et al. (2010), Obasan, (2011) and Mughal and Khan (2013)only identified the conflict management strategies used by the organisations understudied but the studies did not measure the effect of the strategies on organisational performance.
Since conflict is inevitable in an organisation, its management will determine whether it will generate positive or negative effect on organisational performance (Uchendu, Anijaobi & Odigwe, 2013). Therefore, this study seeks to examine the effect of conflict management using collaboration strategy, compromise strategy and avoidance strategy on the performance of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku.
1.3 Research Questions.
The specific research questions to be addressed in this study include:
- To what extent does collaboration strategy affect the performance of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku?
- To what extent does compromise strategy affect the performance of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku?
- To what extent does avoidance strategy affect the performance of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku?
1.4 Objectives of the Study.
The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of conflict management on the performance of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku. The specific objectives are to:
- Examine the effect of collaboration strategy on the performance of Delta state polytechnic,
- Ascertain the effect of compromise strategy on the performance of Delta state polytechnic,
- Determine the effect of avoidance strategy on the performance of Delta state polytechnic,
1.5 Statement of Hypotheses.
In line with the research objectives of the study, the following hypotheses are formulated.
H01: Collaboration strategy has no significant effect on the performance of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku.
H02: Compromise strategy has no significant effect on the performance of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku.
H03: Avoidance strategy has no significant effect on the performance of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study is of great benefit to the management of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku, other researchers, general public and lastly, it contributes to the existing body of knowledge on conflict management.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study was carried out on the effect of Conflict Management on Organisational Performance in Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku. The study was carried out on a cross-sectional basis and focus was on the conflict management strategies that contributed to organisational performance. Conflict management being the independent construct was operationalised by the following dimensions: collaboration strategy, compromise strategy and avoidance strategy; while the dependent variable was organisational performance.
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