THE IMPACT OF CONFLICT MANAGEMENT ON ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
The structurally differentiated character of contemporary work-organizations, whether in the manufacturing or service industry inevitably generates conflicts of interest. These conflicts of interests arise in groups because of the scarcity of freedom, position and resources (Hotepo, Asokere, Abdul-Azeez&Ajemunigbohun,2010). Conflict among workers in an organization is inevitable. If it manages properly, it will bring catalyst for change and can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and performance of the organization. Conversely, unmanaged conflict negatively impacts both employee satisfaction and job performance. When organizational leaders ignore workplace conflict, they send a message that unsatisfactory job performance and inappropriate behavior are acceptable.
Conflict is thus endemic despite the best of management practices in organizations and manifests in various forms as an intrinsic and unavoidable feature of employment relationship. It is by nature an ever present process and more likely to occur in hierarchical organizations where people with divergent view, opinion and background interact. However, conflict in work-relations is not an aberration, since it creates or provides an opportunity for correction and reconciliation for the betterment of both the organization and the workers (Osad&Osas, 2013).According to Kazimoto (2013), conflict is described as the presence of discord that occurs when goals, interests or values of different individuals or groups are incompatible and frustrate each other's' attempt to achieve objectives in an organization. It is a communication process and an inevitable consequence of transactional relationship manifesting in disagreement and dissonance with and between individuals and groups in the work-environment.
In this context, conflict is a fact of life in any organization as long as people will compete for jobs, power, recognition and security (Adomie&Anie,2005). Therefore, the task of management is not to suppress or resolve all conflicts, but to manage them in order to enhance and not to detract from organizational performance. Awan and Anjum (2015) says that properly managed conflict promotes open communication, collaborative decision making, regular feedback, and timely resolution of conflict. Open communication and collaboration enhance the flow of new ideas and strengthen work relationship, which can have a positive effect on employee morale. Regular feedback and timely resolution of conflict has the potential of improving employee satisfaction and job performance.
Though, 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 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. 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 objectives (Awan&Anjum,2015).
With the permanent nature of conflict in work-relations, high performance organizations will be those that may constantly develop the appropriate methods of managing conflict to achieve set-standards and goals. As is now established, the Nigerian organizations have for a long time been concerned with the effect of conflict management on business performance in the country. However, empirical validation of findings across organizations is very limited at best. The available few studies within the country have concentrated mainly on manufacturing and construction industries. Empirical research efforts are still passive in focusing on the service organizations. As such, this present study is an attempt to redress the situation by providing valuable insights to management in the service organizations about the strategic importance of conflict management as a resource tool for optimizing business performance.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
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. Unmanaged conflict promotes dysfunctional communication and poor behavior among staff. Poor behavior on the part of one employee has the power to affect overall employee morale, which results in lower productivity. In the health care industry, patients' health and even their lives can be affected by unmanaged conflict. Awan and Anjum (2015) argue that a negative work environment that does not promote conflict resolution can result in poor employee behavior and job performance.
However, if the individuals 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.
Conflict 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).
1.3 Research Questions
Research questions are logical questions relating to the statement which seek to provide answers to research problems through the answer a researcher is able to provide for them. This research will take to answer the following questions.
i Does adoption of avoidance strategy enhance organizational performance?
ii To what extents does accommodation and collaboration strategies have effect on organizational performance?
iii Can compromise strategy enhance organizational performance?
iv To what extents does conflict management have effect on organization performance?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
Thus, the broad objective of this study is to explore the impact of conflict management on organizational performance in Nigeria. From this general aim, the study also seeks the following specific objectives, which are to:
i To examine whether the adoption of avoidance strategyhas enhancedorganizational performance.
ii To determine if accommodation and collaboration strategies has effect on organizational performance.
iii To investigate whether compromise strategy can enhanced organizational performance
iv Determine the effect of conflict management on organizational performance.
1.5 Hypotheses of the Study
To validate findings from the study, the hypotheses for the study are stated as:
H01: adoption of avoidance strategyhas effect on an organization performance.
H02: espousal of accommodation and collaboration strategies has effect on an organization
H03: implementation of compromise strategy has effect on an organization performance.
H04: conflict management has significant effect on an organization performance.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The main focus of this research is on the impact of conflict management on organizational performance in Nigeria. Also, the study focus on both academic and non-academic employees in Al-Hikmah University in Ilorin. The purpose of restricting the study to Al-Hikmah University is to enable the ease of data gathering and timely completion of the study. The study covered the time frame for 2011 to 2016.
1.7 Justification for the Study
The study is considered relevant since the effect of conflict can hinder the performance of an Organization. The knowledge gained is vital to organizations in making the right policies that will positively affect the organization; it is also relevant to business students in furthering their studies. It will 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. The owners of organization will benefit in this study, which provide a model for an effective means of managing Conflict..