1.1 Background to the study
Conflict in an organization is a state of discord by the actual and opposing power which arise from the pursuit of divergent interests, goals and aspirations by individuals and groups in the organization or social environment. This is so because changes in the social environment, such as different ideologies, beliefs, principles and social status which develop a sense of tussle and disagreement with each other and when this happens, the productivity of such organization is undermined Owoseni (2012). The researcher is looking at the effective conflict management strategies that can be adopted in the tertiary institutions to manage conflict situations without rendering the organization porous for incessant conflicts. Otite and Albert (2015) submitted that the most quoted traditional definitions regarding conflict as a struggle over values and claims to scarce status, power and resources in which the aims of the opponents are neutralized, injured or eliminated by their rivals. In this sense, conflict may be seen as a way of settling problem originating from the opposing interest and also attributable to an enduring power struggle between workers and their employers.
Contrary to the prevailing perception, conflict indeed had played quite a positive role in several respect for progressive and good governance of the universities. After reconciliation from the conflicting parties better ideas are produced, clarification of individual views, people willingly search for new approaches ,and long standing problems brought to the surface and resolved. Alper, Tjosvold and Law (2010) assert that conflict occurs when the actions or beliefs of one or more members of a group are unacceptable to others and hence are resisted by one or more members of the group just like the crisis that came up in the University of Calabar in the year 2011 between students and the school management over sudden increments of school fees which led to loss of properties, goodwill as well as loss of opportunity, this issues would have been averted if proper conflict management strategies were adopted. Karl Marx (1818) agreed that conflict is a clash, confrontation, battle or struggle that could come up in any organization.
Eventually, Park and Bourgess in Otite (2015) has the same view that conflict is truly designed to resolve any divergent dualism and achieve some kind of unity even if it is through the annihilation of one of the conflict parties. Alper, Tjosvold, and Law (2010) also confirmed that conflict occurs at all levels of organic existence and it is pervasively ubiquitous and most destructive. It has a capacity to severally constrain development and endeavor by destroying infrastructure, interrupting the production process and diverting resources away from product users. Workers who are the owners of labour the world over have been known to organize themselves into associations or unions with the primary objective of promoting and protecting themselves from unnecessary abuse of their human rights by their employers as well as by fellow workers. In essence, workplace conflict can arise among the workers themselves because people disagree for a number of reasons such as follows: Alper, Tjosvold, and Law (2010).
i) They see things differently because of differences in understanding and view point.
ii) People have different styles, principles, values, beliefs which determine their choices and objectives.
iii) People have different ideological and philosophical outlooks, as in the case of different political parties.
iv) People of different social status think differently and these develop in them the sensitivity to disagree which may result in conflicts of views or opinions. Contrary to the prevailing perception, conflict indeed had played quite a positive role in several respect for progressive and good governance of the universities. After reconciliation from the conflicting parties better ideas are produced, clarification of individual views, people willingly search for new approaches ,and long standing problems brought to the surface and resolved.
1.3 Statement of the problem
Conflict occurs when there is disagreement between two parties and such situation undermines the healthy growth of an organization. Conflict situations have led to the retrogressiveness in the growth of our nations tertiary institutions. This work is trying to solve the problem of unrest, disagreement due to divergent interest in working organization among administrative staff, In 1996 for instance, the conflict between the academic staff union of Nigeria Universities (ASUU) and Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria hindered educational activities for almost a year. The disagreement between non-academic staff union of universities and the Federal Government of Nigeria has also witnessed inconsistencies in the management of Nigerian tertiary institutions. Besides, internal rancor created as a result of delay in salary payment and the monetization of either benefits in college of health technology have led to loss of opportunity, delay in graduation of students and even led to transferred aggression.
Also the crisis that erupted in the University of Calabar year 2011 due to disagreement between students and the management of the University over issues of school fees is a conflict situation which led to loss of properties, as well as loss of opportunities and goodwill. These are issues that would have been averted if proper conflict management techniques were adopted or if management was proactive. Recently, there was an indefinite strike by ASUU that came up as a result of the non implementation of the 2009 agreement by the federal government. Yet, this are issues that would have been properly managed. This action has affected staff productivity by disrupting school calendar, staff ineffectiveness in their duties, over all objectives of the institutions which could mare the wishes of those whom the institutions are established to serve ( students). The above cases and many more however, have given the impetus for researching into conflict management in tertiary institutions to explore the impact of negotiation in conflict situations as well as other conflict management techniques.
1.4 Purpose of the study
The purpose of the study is to examine the extent to which conflict management effectiveness may influence administrative staff productivity in tertiary institutions. Specifically, the study seeks to determine:
1. The relationship between effective consultation and administrative staff productivity.
2. The relationship between effective communication and administrative staff productivity.
3. The relationship between effective staff remuneration and administrative staff productivity.
4. The relationship between periodic training (in-service) and administrative staff productivity.
5. The relationship between workers participation in decision making and administrative staff productivity.
1.5 Research questions
To guide the study, the following research questions were posed.
1. What is the relationship between effective consultation and administrative staff productivity in tertiary institutions?
2. Is there any relationship between effective communication and administrative staff productivity?
3. What is the relationship between effective staff remuneration and administrative staff productivity?
4. What is the relationship between effective in-service training and administrative staff productivity?
5. Is there any relationship between effective workers participation in decision making and administrative staff productivity?
1.6 Statement of the hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated to give the direction to the study.
1. There is no significant relationship between effective consultation and administrative staff productivity.
2. There is no significant relationship between effective communication and administrative staff productivity.
3. There is no significant relationship between effective staff remuneration and administrative staff productivity.
4. There is no significant relationship between effective periodic staff training and administrative staff productivity.
5. There is no significant relationship between workers participation in decision making and administrative staff productivity.
1.7 Significance of the study
It is hoped that the research study may go a long way to throw more light on how conflicts should be managed so as to ensure optimum productivity Educational administrators will derived some ideas from the study; since it may give a guide on strategies and policy formulation that may help resolve conflict in tertiary institutions. The study may provide knowledge and new research information which may help to bridge gaps in research literature though not first of its kind. It may also help in enhancing good relationship between workers and administrators in government, non – governmental organizations, parastatals, and labour unions in different organizations.
To government, it may reveal to them the effective conflict management strategies that can enhance productivity through understanding of the place of motivation, in-service training, effective communication, consultation and workers participation in decision making in an establishment. Finally, the study may further help different trade unions in institutions like Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASUU) to spell out their functions which include the political benefits of unionism.
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