1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Conflict is an inevitable friction in any organization. This is true because of the clash of interest, differences in value and objectives between the management and the labour. Conflict is a condition of disharmony or hostility within an interaction process which is usually the direct results of clash of interest by parties involved, Kalu, (2016).
Conflict management is crucial in any organization since conflict is inevitable in contemporary organization. It can be negative and can cause deep rifts in the framework of an institution; it can also be used as a tool to take the institution and people in it from stagnation to a new level of effectiveness. What makes difference is conflict management. (Holton, 2014). Conflict management according to Adikpo (2006) is designing effective macro-level strategies to minimize the dysfunctions of conflict and enhancing the constructive function to improve effectiveness in organization. In the same perspective Obi, (2005) states that conflict management is the process of reducing the negative and distractive capacity of conflict through number of measures and by working with and through the parties involved in that conflict. Best (2005) asserts that conflict management covers the entire areas of handling conflict positively at different stages including conflict limitation, containment and litigation.
The above mentioned including Otite in Obi (2007) assert that conflict management is more of a long term arrangement involving institutionalized provisions and regulative procedures for dealing with conflicts whenever they occur. There is realization that not only is conflict endemic but that it is an inevitable part of organizational life.
Conflict management involves reduction, elimination or termination of all forms or types of industrial conflict, through the use of term negotiation, bargaining, mediation or arbitration.
Effective management of industrial conflict in the Nigeria Civil service has been so difficult to achieve due to the politicization and negligence of the civil servant, this keeps threatening the smooth and uninterrupted running of the public establishment.
Conflict remains inevitable situation in everyday life whether it would be with yourself, others, organization, or societies. Within organizational setting, conflict may arise from conflict between employers and employees over how revenue should be divided, how work should be done, how long and hard people should work (Ford, 2007). It can also occur as a result of incompatibility of needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals among people working as a team (Suliman & Abdulla, 2005); however, the end results of conflict are not predetermined and it could either be good or bad. To many managers conflict is evil that must not be entertained in a team, organization, or social settings while others conceived it as a weapon to thrash out differences and promote unity among those that concerns it for the purpose of attaining a goal or objectives. The variation in perception of people to occurrence of conflict is because managers react differently to conflict situation which is also the reflection of their knowledge of the cause of conflict and its modes of management for achieving maximum productivity in workplace.
Studies have been conducted by many scholars on the issue of conflict to investigate and explain why conflict is inevitable in work organization and possible ways to manage it.
However, constant changes in work system vis-à-vis demand of both employees and employers call for periodic study of conflict situation and its management strategies in contemporary workplace. To understand the multi-dimensionality of conflict in today’s competitive business environment, attempt is made here to examine the works of scholars such as Ubeku (2006) who observed that conflict in civil service is a consequence of enduring power struggle between workers and their employer over the control of various aspect of work, inequality in the distribution of proceeds of industry, job insecurity of the worker, and poor management control. In addition, Ogunbameru and Oribabor (2000) conceived that industrial conflicts take place whenever there is conflict of interests and objectives in labor-management relations. Also, Alebiosu and Akintayo (2007) noted that industrial conflict emerges as a result of employers not taking into consideration the needs or request of their workers.
More explicitly, Benjamin and Hideaki (2004) reported that the reasons and motives of industrial conflicts can be widely classified into two categories, namely economic and noneconomic causes. His distinctions can be equated with the challenges of conflict management and reasons for conflict among civil servants in Anambra State. The economic causes involves subjects relating to amends such as payment, award, allowances, and conditions for work, working hours, leave, and holidays without pay, and unfair layoffs and retrenchments. The non economic factors incorporate victimization of workers, poor treatment by staff members, compassionate strikes, political elements, indiscipline, etc. In addition, Deutsch and Coleman (2000) conflict is not a battle between the rational and irrational; however, the manner in which conflict is controlled establishes whether it is constructive or destructive. It is worth noting that conflict may increase and lead to unproductive results or conflict can be resolved and lead to quality final products. Therefore, learning to manage conflict is integral to high-performance work organization that aims to maximize productive outcomes through effective conflict resolution mechanism.
This study therefore intends to look at management of industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service Commission.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Conflicts occur at various levels-within a person, between members of group and between groups. It has different implication for individual behavior and work group behavior but the focus here is essentially on the intergroup conflict (management and workers (union), where in this case, it is between the government and the civil servants in Anambra State. Whenever there are difference between the goals of the separate groups or even several individuals in the civil service, conflict occurs.
Conflict-management is a strong indicator/yardstick of the industrial relations systems, whereby in itself is a subsystem of the national system. It is therefore important to stress that any slightest differences or grievance between labour and management will not only jeopardize the industrial relations systems, but the whole system of the entire society at large. The promotion of an enduring relationship between the civil servants and management is therefore essential for harmonious industrial environment. In addition, the use of effective strategy of conflict management becomes essential and pervasive in any organizational/industrial setting. Furthermore, the impact and consequences of unattended conflict in the workplace on civil servants and the organization (Dijkstra, 2006), would often argue for immediate attention to the resolution of the conflict rather than a careful and systematic (and invariably more time-intensive) approach to investigating the underlying causes of conflict. If the causes of conflict are known and understood, a conflict map can be developed which could guide conflict resolution processes. Realizing and comprehending the various forces that inform conflict behavior, consequently authorizes the facilitator or manager with the opportunity and chance to expand a more collectively focused and nuanced approach for handling with the particular occurrence of conflict.
The Anambra State Civil Commission has had to deal with various degrees of disagreements and conflicts over the years. The civil servants have had reasons to believe that they are short changed by the commission and government on critical issues and areas such as salary and wages, compensation and retirement plans, work environment among other things all of which is consistently brought about an unending conflict between the employers and employees of the Ministry.
This study therefore intends to look into industrial conflict management in the Anambra State Civil service for an understanding into the causes and solutions for conflicts between the government and the civil servants.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study is on management of industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service.
The specific objectives are;
- To identify the Challenges of Industrial conflict management in Anambra State Civil Service.
- To identify the mechanisms for managing industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service and its effectiveness.
- To identify the major causes of industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service.
- To identify remedies for industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Based on the above objectives of the researcher, it is apparently obvious and important that some researchable questions are needed; these questions are expected to be the basis upon which the above stated objectives can be achieved. However, the under listed questions are germane to this research work:
1) What are the challenges of industrial conflict management in Anambra State Civil Service?
2) What are the mechanisms for managing industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service and its effectiveness?
3) What are the major causes of industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service?
4) What are the remedies for industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service?
1.5 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESES
- Ho: There are no challenges facing industrial conflict management in Anambra State Civil Service.
Hi: There are challenges facing industrial conflict management in Anambra State Civil Service.
- Hi: There are no mechanisms for managing industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service and its effectiveness.
Ho: There are no mechanisms for managing industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service and its effectiveness.
- Ho: There are no factors responsible for industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service.
Hi: There are factors responsible for industrial conflict in Anambra State Civil Service.
- Ho: There are no strategies for industrial conflict management in Anambra State Civil Service.
Hi: There are strategies for industrial conflict management in Anambra State Civil Service.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study and the choice of Anambra State Civil Service Commission is due to the unending conflicts between the civil servants and the government.
Theoretically, through the analysis of different strategies of industrial conflict management and its application, this study will be contributing to the body of literature in this field. Thus, it is expected to serve as a reference to other scholars, researchers and social analysts, to whom an understanding of the effective conflict management in Industrial relations is important. Undergraduate students will also find this material relevant for referencing purpose for further research. It will contribute to a vast library on industrial conflict management.
Practically, this study will be useful to the civil service commission through the analysis of variables involved in conflict management in the public sector; it would be recommending means and strategies to achieving harmonious work relations.
The study through the analysis and in-depth explanation of the workings of management of industrial conflict will proffer suggestions on how to achieve and maintain effective and efficient management of human resources through improved condition service at the civil service.
The finding of this study will assist in sharpening the creative and intellectual abilities of union leaders and members in productive dialogue and constructive engagement with the government of Anambra State. The foregoing underscores the empirical significance of the study.
1.7 SCOPE AND DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study was carried out to find out ways through which industrial conflict management in Anambra State Civil Service can be achieved.
The study does not cover other ministries, the federal government civil service and other state civil service because the civil service in Anambra State encompasses all those under the employ of the federal government and is proximate to the researcher.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
During the course of this research, there were some visible and invisible problems encountered in the areas of time, funding and data collection.
Time was a problem as the time for the study was grossly inadequate. The researcher has to share the little available time between the study and classroom work.
The funds needed to facilitate the field work and research for this study was scarcely available due to the economic recession in the country. Also, access to materials to review was a major problem with a negative attitude encountered from the respondents who were generally lackadaisical in providing the needed response for this work due to fear of victimization from those whose ox maybe gored through the revelations of this study.
The researcher however was able to manage the little time and resources to see to the successful end of this research work.
1.9 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Industrial Conflict: Industrial conflict Is defined as any conflict or dispute of difference between employers and employee or between employers and workmen which is connected with employment or non-employment or with condition of labour or any person. Simply put, it relates with inter-organization relations about jobs value regulation that produces disagreement and conflict hence an organizational conflict can arise in any business trade occupation and organization providing employment for certain persons.
Management: Management includes the activities of setting the strategy of an organization and coordinating the efforts of its employees or volunteers to accomplish its objectives through the application of available resources. In this contest however, it is the strategizing and production of methods through which conflicts can best be resolved without much damages and casualities.
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