Employee Relationships and Conflict Management in Higher Education ( A STUDY OF DELTA STATE POLYTECHNIC OGWASHIUKU )
Conflict management strategies are the measures used to manage conflict in universities in order to improve staff performance; however, these polytechnics have experienced a significant decline due to conflict. Conflict is a natural occurrence in the majority of organizations as long as human relationships exist. Due to the welfare of employees, the existence of conflict has become a matter of concern at Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku.
The resultant effect has not only affected the employees, but also the entire organization. This study examined the Impact of Conflict Management on the Performance of Ogwashiuku, Delta State Polytechnic. The research is survey-based and cross-sectional in nature. The study’s population consists of 112 Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku, employees.
Using multiple regression, the data were analyzed. The conclusion of the study was that there is no single optimal strategy for managing conflict, as it depends on the behavioural intentions of the parties to the conflict, the time frame, and the situation in which the organization finds itself. In order to improve the performance of the organization, it was recommended that the management of Delta State Polytechnic emphasize the adoption of collaboration and avoidance strategies.
In every aspect of human society and endeavor, conflict is regarded as a natural occurrence that is unavoidable so long as human relationships exist. It is a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively impacted or is about to negatively impact something important to the first party (Robbins, Judge & Vohra, 2012).
At home and at work, conflict is extremely frequent and, in some instances, unavoidable (Mughal & Khan, 2013). Friction, disagreements, or arguments may result from people interacting with one another due to actual or perceived differences or incompatibilities, escalating to conflict. Thus, conflicts in organizations can take numerous forms, including interpersonal conflict, task conflict, and process conflict, giving rise to a variety of conflict management strategies (Budd & colvin, 2013).
However, over the years, the Nigerian government has established a variety of techniques to assist organizations in the management of conflicts. The Labour/Employment Act, 1971; the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 2010; the Trade Dispute Amendment Decree, 1988, No. 39; and the Trade Dispute Act 18, 2004 provide five steps for the legal management of conflict in organizations in the nation (Akinwale, 2011).
According to Akinwale (2011), these policies involve the use of internal machinery consisting of grievance procedures and external machinery consisting of mediator, conciliator, and referral of disputes to industrial arbitration panel, national industrial court, and the establishment of a board of enquiry. The judgment of the national industrial court is final and binding on employers and employees as of the date the judgment is rendered in the country. According to Longe (2015), the Trade Union Act,
Conflict management is the process of limiting the negative aspects of conflict and enhancing the positive aspects of conflict in order to improve learning and group outcomes, such as effectiveness or performance in organizational settings (Rahim, 2011).
Managers must deal with conflict management because conflict has a significant impact on employee morale and turnover, which can have a positive or negative impact on the success of an organization. Therefore, the effectiveness of conflict management is largely dependent on the degree to which the causes of the conflict have been comprehended.
When conflict is effectively managed, it can bring enormous benefits to individuals and organizations, as conflict management is frequently one of the most significant drivers of organizational change. If handled correctly, it can create stronger bonds, help people become more innovative, build effective teams, establish strong working relationships, and ultimately enhance both individual and organizational performance. The key is to confront an issue directly and negotiate a win-win resolution for all parties involved (Garcia, 2013).
Organisational performance is viewed as the result of an activity accomplished by an organization in accordance with its authority and responsibility in achieving the goal legally, not illegally, and in accordance with the organisation’s morals and ethics (Almajali, Alamro & Al- Soub, 2012).
Financial or non-financial measures may be selected to evaluate the performance of an organization, depending on the type of organization being evaluated and the evaluation’s intended outcomes. However, improved organizational performance is contingent on the conflict management strategy (s) adopted by the organization, such as collaboration strategy, compromise strategy, and avoidance strategy.
Implementing the appropriate strategy will enhance the performance of employees, resulting in enhanced organizational performance. On the other hand, an organization’s inability to implement the appropriate conflict management strategy(s) will result in a decline in employee performance, which will in turn result in a decline in organisational performance.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Ogwashiuku, Delta State Polytechnic, is troubled by the existence of conflict. The organization faces the issue of negotiating employee bonuses, typically at the end of the year. The lingering issue leads to conflict between management and employees of the organization, which manifests as employees harboring grievances against management, a change in attitude or behavior, a decrease in effort towards work, physical confrontation between both parties, and the cessation of production as employees refuse to work.
This affected the individual employees’ and the organization’s effectiveness and performance. The management’s attempts to resolve the conflict have only resulted in conflict suppression. This is because the management employed a dominance strategy that benefited them at the expense of the workers. Therefore, Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku must devise an efficient method for resolving the organizational conflict.
Several studies on conflict management have been conducted; however, the majority of these studies are qualitative in nature (Fatile & Adejuwon, 2011; Garcia, 2013; Kazimoto, 2013; Nwosu & Makinde, 2014; Ebhote & Monday, 2015). Conflict management has to do with human intentions, so it cannot be generalised across all aspects of an organization.
While some empirical studies in this area examined the effects of some or all of 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 focused 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 by Ongori (2009), Hotepo, et al. (2010), Obasan (2011), and Mughal and Khan (2013) only identified the conflict management strategies used by the understudied organizations, but did not measure the effect of the strategies on organizational performance.
Since conflict is inevitable in an organization, its management will determine whether it has a positive or negative impact on the performance of the organization (Uchendu, Anijaobi & Odigwe, 2013). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of conflict management using collaboration, compromise, and avoidance strategies on the performance of Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS.
The following are the specific research questions to be addressed in this study:
How does the Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashiuku’s collaboration strategy impact its performance?
To what extent does Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku’s performance depend on its compromise strategy?
To what extent does Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashiuku’s avoidance strategy affect its performance?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY.
This study’s primary objective is to examine the impact of conflict management on the performance of Ogwashiuku Delta State Polytechnic. The particular aims are to:
Examine the impact of collaboration strategy on Delta State Polytechnic’s performance.
Determine the impact of compromise strategy on Delta State Polytechnic’s performance.
Determine the impact of avoidance strategy on Delta State Polytechnic’s performance.
1.5 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESES.
In accordance with the study’s research objectives, the following hypotheses are developed.
Delta state polytechnic, Ogwashiuku’s performance is unaffected by its collaboration strategy, according to H01.
H02: The performance of Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashiuku is unaffected by compromise strategy.
H03: The performance of Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashiuku, is unaffected by avoidance strategy.
The study benefits the administration of Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashiuku, other researchers, the general public, and adds to the existing body of conflict management knowledge.
1.7 RADIUS OF THE EXAMINATION
This study examined the relationship between Conflict Management and Organizational Performance at Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashiuku. Cross-sectional research was conducted with a focus on conflict management strategies that contributed to organizational performance. The dimensions of collaboration strategy, compromise strategy, and avoidance strategy were operationalized for the independent construct of conflict management, while organisational performance served as the dependent variable.
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