CONFLICT MANAGEMENT IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR: A CASE STUDY OF NATIONAL ARCHIVES ENUGU ZONAL OFFICE
This study deals with conflict management strategies in the public sector, a case study of National Archives Enugu Zonal Office. The Research method is survey. The research design is descriptive design using questionnaire survey. The population of the study is 202. The sample for the study is 130 respondents drawn from the population. Structured questionnaire is the research instrument. Stratified random sampling was used in selecting the sample for the study. The procedure was made possible through the application of Taro Yamani statistical method. Direct method of data collection was made. Descriptive and inferential method of data analysis were adopted using charts, tables and chi-square statistical tool. The research findings show that: (a) medication, collaborating compromise and division of labour are the major conflict management strategies used by National Archives Enugu. (b) The red flags of conflict include personal interests, bureaucratic principles, application of ethical standard and embezzlement of public fund. (c) Conflict in the public sector has both positive and negative impacts. The negative consequences include low productivity, non-achievement of organizational goals while the positive impact is reforms and establishment of rights. The problems could be solved through the application of task setting and division of labour, disciplinary measures and public service rules.
CHAPTER ONE /INTRODUCTION
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Industrial or Organizational Relations as a subject of study is concerned with the behaviour of men in organizations in which they work for living (Swinton 2008:1). Organizational Relations attempts to explain patterns of cooperation, conflict management and resolution among workers and between two groups (Black 2000:17).
Benton (2000:1) organizational relations seek to discover factors determining outputs of the organization, from human satisfaction to physical products, dissatisfaction or labour and relations between an organization and the host community as regards cooperation and social responsibility.
Organizational or workplace conflict management calls for strategies and styles for successful resolution of the conflict in the private or public sector. Kail Mark in his scholarly work, Alienated labour stated that the production of goods and services holds the key to human progress and fulfillment or satisfaction of wants and needs (Marx 19 :7).
Weber (Somonu 2005:6) in his study on bureaucracy and rationalization found that bureaucratic organizations are the dominant institutions of industrial society. This presupposes that in the course of production, varying interests and valves are bound to arise. These have the capacity to trigger off conflicts in the public sector where bureaucracy rears its head.
(Benton 2000:495) in the 1890’s Taylor evolved scientific management to achieve strategic planning and achievement of organizational goals, reduce conflicts and increase productivity. Nowadays conflicts, conflict management and resolution are common in the public service of Nigeria. These conflict are of various kinds and dimensions such as those involving union-management relations workers and their counter parts, government and Trade Union, internal conflicts in government establishments Emanating from power tussle, embezzlement of public fund and inter professional conflicts. These call for conflict management and resolution in order to achieve organizational goals.
Brett and Golderg (2004:2) defined conflict as disagreement or discord, while conflict management refers to the long term management of conflicts. Conflict management is the label for the various opportunity and ways by which social groups, individuals and organizations handle grievance in line with what they consider to be right or wrong. Many government establishments as ministries, para-military, parasatals and Agencies are in recent times confronted by various kinds of conflicts. These conflicts have negative effects on productivity and achievement of organizational goals. As a result of inadequate knowledge of conflict management skills and strategies (Amako 2007:18). Mbonu (2008:7) stressed that conflict management is on going process that may achieve solution to organizational conflicts resolution.
Ibeanu (2006:3) Nduka (2007:17) stated that in strategic management and corporate governance, corporate strategy, task setting, division of labour, recognition of cadres as professional clerical and executive help in assignment of roles and management of conflict in the public sectors.
Management by objectives (MBO) as well as strategic management demands acquisition of management skills, staff discipline, motivation and team work for organizational success. Conflict management strategies become necessary to reduce hostility and rancor at work, increase productivity building of good corporate image and achievement of increased profit and other organizational goals.
The organizational structure of an ideal ministry or parasatal in the pubic sector is hinged upon the principle of cooperation between the top management, middle management, staff and the entire organization for enhanced productivity. The role of the policy makers and labour unions are also important factors that bring about organizational success.
Conflict between the government and the labour union over pay rise, actualization of labour, like in prices of petroleum products lead to stagnation of industrial activities and loss of economic resources. Also conflict between the inter-professional cadre and some professionals with divergent interests lead to tension, confusion and negligence of roles in the public sector.
Templer (2007:30) stressed that the attainment of organizational success depends on the application and operationalization of strategic management skills, task setting, division of labour, recognition of cadres, role assignment, existence of disciplinary measures and conflict resolution methods.