- 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.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The bureaucratic nature of the public service for example, the National Achieves of Nigeria can provoke different kinds of conflicts in the organization. Conflicts are known to be anti-production; it has the capacity to demoralize workers, create rancor and discord as well as point a negative image of the public sector.
It is a common place experience that any ministry or parasatal that finds itself in long term management of conflict stands to spend millions of naira every year in setting up administrative pannels of inquiry, probes, arbitration litigation, general meetings and consultations in order to resolve the conflict and move the ministry or parasatal forward. In some cases involving termination of appointment, secondment transfer or litigation, the ministry spends a huge amount of money to the detriment of organizational profit and productivity.
Productivity, retention of employee, staff training and promotion often decline in ministries and parasatals that pass through the problem of long term management of conflict. However, conflict can be necessary for effective interpersonal relationships, establishment of rights at workplace, policy reforms and model for effective staff discipline and management principle.
The cost of conflict may be enormous; conflict can also have both merits and demerits. This study therefore, focuses on conflict management strategies in the National Achieves Enugu Zonal Office.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are to:
- Find out the kinds of conflicts in the public service of Nigeria.
- Evaluate the causes of conflicts in the public sector, using National Archives as a case
- Identify the impact of the conflicts in the ministry or Department under investigation.
- Identify or examine the major strategies for conflict. Management in the establishment.
- Suggest ways of solving the identified problems
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Five research questions were formulated to guide the study. They are:
- What kind of conflict exists in the public service of Nigeria?
- What factors are responsible for conflicts in the National Archives of Nigeria?
- In what ways would public sector conflict have impact on the department?
- What strategy exists for conflict management in the public sector?
- In what ways can the identified problems be solved?
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Three hypothesis were formulated as a yard stick for measuring and testing the responses to the questionnaire items and to give the study a logical conclusion. The hypothesis have both negative and positive, they are presented by the alternative and null hypotheses. The null hypothesis is given as Ho; while the alternative is represented by Hi:
- Ho: Mediation alone cannot stop all kinds of conflict in the public sector.
Hi: Mediation alone can stop all kinds of conflict in the public sector.
- Ho: Conflict is not restricted to personal interests alone in the National Archives Enugu.
Hi: Conflict is caused by so many factors in the National Archives, Enugu zonal office.
- Ho: Public sector conflict has not any positive impact on achievement of organizational goals.
Hi: public sector conflict has both negative and positive impacts.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is significant in various ways. The beneficiaries include the civil servants, policy makers, public service commission, future researchers and the staff of National Archives Enugu.
Civil servants who read through project stand to appreciate the causes of conflicts in the public sector and ways for managing them. Victims of conflict will also find their mistakes for future social adjustment.
Members of staff of the National Archives Enugu who are opportune to read through this work stand to count the costs of conflict and how best to resolve them.
The public service commission, policy markers, and the Head of Service will find out the role of policy making in check