The study captioned: organizational conflict and management in higher institutions with a reference to Enugu State University of Science and technology, Enugu. The purpose of this study is to investigate the causes, effects and solutions to ever- increasing crisis and industrial disputes that have bedeviled to University system over the years. To this end, the researcher adopted both the historical and surveys research methods. The data used in making analysis was collected mainly through questionnaire, interviews and review of related interactions. Respondents were also selected by means of simple random sampling method, which gives every member of the university equal changes of being selected. Analysis was carried out using tables, simple percentage and z-test for proportion. A total number of 38,132 respondents formed the population out of which 396% respondents were selected as the sample, making use of Yaro Yarmine sample size formula. Out of 396 questionnaires that were printed and distributed, only 387 were properly filled and returned and the final analysis was based on this figure. Based on the analysis made, the researcher discovered among other things that: The national strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) in recent times was aimed at compelling the federal government to devote 265 of its annual budget to education in accordance with the UNESCO provisions. On the basis of findings, the researcher therefore recommended among others; that a flexible organizational structure should be instituted to improve on the relationship between management and staff.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
University worldwide is regarded as the citadel of knowledge, the fountain of intellectualism and the most appropriate ground for the incubation of leaders of tomorrow.
Organization as an university with a structure that allows two or more units or groups to share functional boundaries in achieving its set objectives, thus, there is every tendency conflicts might generates which is inevitable in any organization.
Organization by their nature such as the university, bring together people of different and desire orientations and background – students, lecturers and administrative staff have to work harmoniously together in their bid to achieve stated objectives.
Hence, the organizational structure is organized such that staff and staff, students and students, and staff and students share functional boundaries of exchange of knowledge.
Te goal of University education is pursued through its main functions and activities of teaching, research, dissemination of existing and new information, service to the community, and being a store house or knowledge (Adewimi: 1992).
As such, in carry out these functions, there is always conflicts within and among the categories of people within and among the categories of people within the University community, namely students, academics, administrators, non-academics and their unions due to different in purposes and expectation from the university.
As noted by Adewimi (1992:1) a conflict situation is one in which there are differences and divergence of opinions, attitude, disposition, views and positions on particular issues or development.
In other words, conflict is a situation which characterized by the inability of those concerned to iron out their differences and reach an agreement on issues of common interest.
This inability manifests in one form of protest or the other such as strikes and other work-disruption (slow-downs, sabotage and planned absenteeism). Which often results to disruption of university programmes and closing down of institutions.
However, this is not the case because conflict at times properly managed can be contrastive-that is, it can be beneficial because it may cause an issue to be presented in different perspectives. According (Knootz: 1983), he explained that one top executive of a major company maintained that when there was no conflict on an issues, it could not have been sufficiently analyzed and proponed until all aspect of the issue were critically evaluated .Thus, some level of conflict is necessary from time to time if only to help in bringing “life” to a rather monotonous situation and bring social life in any organization.
Consequently, a higher institution like Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), is an institution know in the world of literates as a citades of knowledge that produce intelligent men and women into the labour market folds. Often conflicts have occurred in the noble institution either between or within the top echelon or the institution and the non-academics staff;’ the students and sometimes between the state government and the institution itself.
However, in ESUT, conflict occur and re-occur but at each occasion, such conflicts are dealt with totally with an incredible equanimity by these at the helm of affairs in the institution as if nothing has happened. Sometimes many other higher intuitions have been able to handle such phenomena without any external ambiter.
The researcher believe that the secret behind their ability to achieve such remarkable facts depends to a large extent on their expertise in conflict management. The ability to manage conflict has been a major source of success for many institutions in this country.
Hence, the question in the study is how conflict is being managed in organization especially in higher institutions.
It is as a result of the above analogy and in response to the questions posed that the study looked critically at the issue of management of organizational conflicts in higher institutions with special reference to Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Enugu.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Over the last thirty years in Nigeria, the educational system has witnessed an unprecedented industrial unrest and so many official assaults than any other social institutions.
The manifestations are in form of cultism, brain drain, under funding by government, erosion of academic freedom, general insecurity, dilapidated structures, non-payment of university staff salaries. The incessant strikes and boycotts of lecturers or work by academic and non-academic staff in our Universities are also evidences that there is strained industrial relations in the Nigerian university system.
Hence, it was on the basis of the above problems that the researcher was motivated to conduct this research work to find out the causes of industrial conflict and ways of managing them if not totally eradicating them is the main purpose of this study.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.4 The reasons for the study is based on the following:
(i) To determine the causes of conflict in Nigerian higher institutions,
(ii) To find out the consequences of organizational conflict in the Nigerian university system.
(iii) To know how conflict could be managed,
(iv) To know the strategies used by
a. the university management
b. the trade union
c. the government in solving disputes in Nigerian university system
(v) To determine the ways of ensuring organizational harmony.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This research work will enable the researcher to come up with answers to the following research questions, namely:
(i) What are the likely causes of conflict in Nigerian university system
(ii) What are the consequences of conflict in Nigerian university system
(iii) How can conflict be managed,
(iv) What are the ways of ensuring organizational harming in Nigerian university system.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is important to recall that this study dealt primarily with the issue of management or organizational conflict in higher institutions with special reference to Enugu State University.
It is not far from the truth to state that no organization can function effectively and efficiently when there is unelement atmosphere prevailing the organization. Therefore, the study will not only be beneficial to the state, employers of labour and employees but also to the society as a whole.
Labour issues have bearing with integrated national planning, it contributes to manpower development and harmonized industrial relations, which promotes rapid economic development.
Thus, a peaceful industrial atmosphere is required to actualized the noble objectives for which universities were established.
The researcher work is therefore, significant in number of ways which include:
(i) The study would be beneficial to the federal and state government who will now appreciate the fact that the inability to implement the joint decisions reached has been a major source of conflict in the University system.
(ii) The study is significant to the university management who are now in advantage position to apply management by consultation or objective in all issues involving labour,
(iii) The study would also benefit labour unions that in the course of this research, they would understand that though their demands are imperative in line with the economic realities, of this country.They must consider the resources of the state and position of management before embarking on industrial actions.
1.6 THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research focuses on organizational conflicts in the Nigerian university system.
Emphasis is laid on management of organizational conflict with a view of identifying the causes, the dimension and socio-economic implications of disputes in our society.
The scope also revolves on the machinery of reaching collective bargaining and identification of parties and their objectives as it relates to tripalism in labour relations.
Thus, the scope of the study is limited to Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT).
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Hardly would a research study be concluded without constraints. In a country of ours where bureaucracy is stock flow of information and where there is inaccurate data and statistics, there really has to be a problem.
Hence, specific instances of constraints related to the data system would include;
-Low quality data and inadequate recording device;
- lack of research skills;
- Privacy of information considerations
- Budgetary limitations.
-lack of incentives and motivation.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
CONFLICT: This represent a kind of disagreement. It means any perceived or denoted difference of interest between groups or individuals or groups to the job conditions or circumstances in which it is to be performed.
BOYCOTT: This means refusal of wage earners to attain a crucial meeting or to patronize a business organization when there is an organized labour grievances.
DISHARMONY: This means lack of harmony or agreement in interest, feeling or opinions.
EFFECTIVENESS: This implies the degree to which an organization attains its goals or the higher output ratio, while a low ratio denoted inefficiency in operation.
ESUT: This is an ancrony of Enugu State of University of Science and Technology.
STRIKE: This implies the situation whereby work ceases as a final resort to press home the demands of labour or wage.
DISPUTE: This counter a misunderstanding between employees and their employer or between a group of employees and employers.
EFFICIENCY: This is the ratio between output and input. An efficiency operation has a higher output ratio, while a low ratio denoted inefficiency in operation.
GRIEVANCE: This is a situation whereby a particular worker is dissatisfies and complains formally to the appropriate authority. It also refers to a real or imagined cause for complaint or protest.
UNION: This is an organized association of workers in an establishment for the presentation and protection of the workers interest.
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