1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Conflict or misunderstandings among employees in an organization is inevitable. If managed properly, it will bring about positive change and can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and performance of the organization. Conversely, unmanaged or lack of effective management of conflict negatively has an impact on both employee satisfaction and organisational performance. When organizational leaders ignore organisational conflict, they send a message that unsatisfactory job performance and inappropriate behavior are acceptable. Awan and Anjum (2015) posit that properly managed conflict promotes open communication, collaborative decision making, regular feedback, and timely resolution of conflict in an organisation. Open communication and collaboration enhance the flow of new ideas and strengthen work relationship, which can have a positive impact on employee morale and by extension organizational performance. Regular feedback and timely resolution of conflict has the potential of improving employee satisfaction and job performance. Unmanaged conflict promotes dysfunctional communication and poor behavior among employees. Poor behavior on the part of one employee has the power to affect overall employee morale, which results in lower productivity and performance. According to Dana (2000), “conflict is not just an annoyance. It costs money and those costs can be calculated, in terms of wasted time, bad decision, lost employees.” In the health care industry, patients’ health and even their lives can be affected by unmanaged conflict. Awan and Ibrahim (2015) contend that if employees do not have the communication or interpersonal skills to resolve their disputes, the conflict can grow and spread to others, eventually affecting their job performance, which, in turn, affects the job satisfaction of others, as well in addition to the staff not having the communication skills to address their disputes, their leaders often lack the necessary skills to be effective in conflict resolution. Once human resources personnel are involved, the process becomes punitive and results in disciplinary action, which contributes to an even greater reduction in employee morale and employee satisfaction. Within any organization, there are usually different positions and jobs. People occupying these positions have different perceptions, goals, thought and concerns. It is difficult to conceptualize society or an organization without inherent differences and contradictions and these leads to disagreements/conflict. In organization a serious problem can be conflicts that are very serious. This is the bad practice that will be impossible for the workers to at the same place for work. Awan and Ahson (2015) asserts that conflict is a natural and inevitable part of people working together and should be kept at a manageable level where it will not disorganize the activities of the organization towards the attainment of its goals. Awan et al (2015) contend that conflict may also be beneficial to the organization where it brings about radical change in the organizational power structure, current interaction pattern and entrenched attitude and also can lead to increase in productivity. While some conflicts are functional others are not.
Organization or a business environment is an identifiable social entity whose members or employees pursue multiple goals collectively to enhance productivity and performance. The pursuance of these goals is done side by side with their personal goals and aspirations through their coordinated activities and relationships. Hence, organization has people, materials and goals that are achieved through coordination.
An organization exists to provide either goods or services that people desire. These goods and services are the products of the behaviours of workers who occupy different level of the organizational structure. These people have different cultures, skills and educational background as well as different perceptions, roles, expectations and values. Conflict in an organization will depend on the degree with which the manpower is met with opposition in protecting their interest, values and goals.
However, the establishment and continuous existence of organization through the realization of set goals and objectives requires the continuous and effective functioning of its material input with the human element being indispensable. The human elements required to facilitate goals attainment often engage in disagreement and variance over factors such as; interest, views, style of management among others. The reactionary effect due to the perceived incompatibilities resulting typically from some form of interference or opposition is known as conflict. Azamoza (2004) observed that conflict involves the total range of behaviours and attitudes that is in opposition between owners/managers on the one hand and working people on the other. It is a state of disagreement over issues of substance or emotional antagonism and may arise due to anger, mistrust or personality clashes.
It can also affect the organization negatively when it is associated with decreased employee satisfaction, insubordination, decreased productivity, leads to economic loss, fragmentation to mention but a few. It is the management major responsibility to device strategies in bringing down conflict as low as possible, which will enable the organization to still function to succeed (Robbins & Sanghi, 2006) against this background the study was being carried out on the negative effect of conflict.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Organizations have a shorter life cycle today because of various changes in the operation of organizations. These organizational changes may cause turbulence and uncertainties that in turn, create conflict.
Conflict in any organization may not enable the organization to achieve its set objectives if not properly managed. Hart (2000) asserted that, successful organization in the future must create the capability to absorb conflict during the organization’s life cycle. The capability here refers to conflict management mechanism in order to minimize the rate of conflict and improve performance. The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (2005) supports the perception of an increase in organizational conflicts with some hard facts. Their research reported a 17% increase in organizational conflict measured by the more than 115,000 employment tribunal applications in 2004 in the United Kingdom.
According to Rivers (2005), the hidden costs of unresolved conflict in organizations are enormous and finding effective ways to manage and resolve organizational conflicts can have a significant impact on productivity and therefore, may enhance performance. Healthy differences of opinion are however vital in an organization in order for it not to stagnate, but when individuals are not able to work through their differences constructively and agree on a way forward, the conflict becomes destructive and damaging to individual, teams and ultimately to the organization (Rivers, 2005).
1.3. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine conflict management strategies on organizational performance. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1. To examine the effectiveness of conflict resolution strategies in place in organizations in Nigeria.
2. To determine the relationship between conflict management strategies and organizational performance.
3. To assess the role of employees towards effective resolution of conflicts in organizations in Nigeria.
4. To assess the impact of conflict on workers productivity.
5. To highlight the strategies available for conflict management in organizations and how effective they are.
6. To recommend ways of improving conflict management strategies in Nigerian organizations.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the level of effectiveness of conflict resolution strategies in place in organizations in Nigeria?
2. What is the relationship between conflict management strategies and organizational performance?
3. What is the role of employees towards effective resolution of conflicts in organizations in Nigeria?
4. What are the strategies available for conflict management in organizations and how effective are they?
5. What is the impact of conflict on workers’ productivity?
6. What are the ways of improving conflict management strategies in Nigerian organizations?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There are no significant effects of conflict management strategies on organizational performance.
H1: There are significant effects of conflict management strategies on organizational performance
H0: There is no significant impact of conflict management strategies on employee productivity.
H1: There is significant impact of conflict management strategies on employee productivity.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Firstly, it will be beneficial to management in all organizations. This is because conflict has become a regular and frequent feature of most organizations. By investigating the causes of organizational conflicts the study will be able to find out how conflicts will be minimized since they cannot be completely avoided. Besides, in examining the causes of conflicts, the study will be able to determine why they reoccur. Furthermore, by examining how conflicts are managed, the study will be able to find out the limitation of the strategies. All these will provide the basis on which recommendations will be made for the benefit of management. Secondly the government will also benefit from the study. As conflicts occur at the private organizations so do they occur in government organizations. The findings of this study will be very useful to the government in formulating effective strategies for managing conflicts in the public sector. Thirdly, employees in both the private and public sector organizations will also benefit from this study. This is because it will show how their intra and inter-relationships bring about conflict and how they can accommodate one another or what approach to adoption order to avoid conflicts. Fourthly, union leaders will also benefit from the study. This is because the findings will show how they can use their positions in helping to ensure sustained harmony in corporate organizations. Finally, the study will be useful for academic purpose. This is because students who will carry out related studies will use this project report as a reference material.
1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to conflict management and organizational performance in Nigeria using selected money deposit banks in Port Harcourt Rivers State as case study.
1.8. OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Conflict: This is a struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas, values, or goals (Algert and Watson, 2006). Paul and Dean (2002) defined a conflict as the friction felt when two or more people or groups disagree about something.
Management: This is the act or skill of dealing with situations in a successful way. That is, bringing situations like conflict in organization under control.
Public: As used in this study, it stands for Government.
Organization: According to Robinson (2008), organization is an establishment set aside to provide services to members of the public.
1.10 CHAPTER SUMMARY
Chapter one will look at the background to the study, statement of problem, objective of the study, statement of hypotheses, scope of the study, significance of the study, research methodology, definition of terms, and plan of the work. Chapter two will look at literature review and theoretical framework. Chapter three will discuss the historical background of the area of study. Chapter four will discuss the presentation of data and analysis. And finally, chapter five will be summary, conclusion and recommendations.
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