1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Conflict is a struggle over claims, values, ideas, roles, beliefs, interest and scarce resources. It is inevitable among individuals and in organizations because of the nature of human beings who differ in value orientation, attitudes and levels of understanding. Conflicts have become part of human organizations the world over. There are two major types of conflicts, internal and external. Internal conflict occurs between employees and their employers while external conflict occurs between employees and other bodies outside the organization such as the government. External conflicts seem to be the crux of the crises in the organization and they occur at alarming rates due to the diverse nature of the parties involved. The political nature of man, together with the fact that conflict is a global phenomenon in organizations, has made its occurrence in the work place an inevitable situation.
Every organization encounters conflict on a daily basis. It is something that cannot be avoided. It happens on the job, between groups, in our society, within families and right in the middle of our most personal relationships. But it is possible to manage them when we recognize them on time. It is necessary to continuously track the organizational signals which point to their existence. If we do not react duly, this can lead to the situation that the conflict will negatively affect the organization.
Conflict occurs between people in all kinds of human relationships and in all social settings. Because of the wide range of potential differences among people, the absence of conflict usually signals the absence of meaningful interaction. Conflict by itself is neither good nor bad. However, the manner in which conflict is handled determines whether it is constructive or destructive (Deutsch and Coleman, 2000). Conflict is defined as an incompatibility of goals or values between two or more parties in a relationship, combined with attempts to control each other and antagonistic feelings toward each other (Fisher, 1990). The incompatibility or difference may exist in reality or may only be perceived by the parties involved. Nonetheless, the opposing actions and the hostile emotions are very real hallmarks of human conflict. Conflict has the potential for either a great deal of destruction or much creativity and positive social change (Kriesberg, 1998). Therefore, it is essential to understand the basic processes of conflict so that; we can work to maximize productive outcomes and minimize destructive ones. This review describes some common sources of conflict, the nature of conflicts in modern organizations, and the general strategies of approaching conflict that are available.
While no single definition of conflict exists, most definitions seem to involve the following factors, that there are at least two independent groups, the groups that perceive some incompatibility between themselves and the groups that interact with each other in some ways (Putnam and Poole, 1987) for this research project, we choose to define Conflict as a struggle or contest between people with opposite needs, ideas, beliefs, values or goals.
Conflict among employees has been increasingly popular in Africa, Europe and North America in recent years. Conflict on team is inevitable; however, the results are not predetermined. Conflict might escalate and lead to non-productive, or conflict can be beneficially resolved and lead to quality final product. Therefore, learning to manage conflicts is integral to a high performance team, although very few go expecting conflict, more often than not, conflict results because of miscommunication between people with regards to their needs, beliefs or values. Conflict management, then is the employment of strategies to correct the perceived differences in a positive manner. Conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness about conflict modes, conflict communication skills and establishing a structure for management of conflict in our environment.
Conflict management also involves implementing strategies to limit the negative aspects of conflict and to increase the positive aspects of conflict at a level, equal to, or higher than where the conflict is taking place. Furthermore, the aim of conflict management is to enhance learning and group outcomes that is the effectiveness or performance in organizational setting (Rahim, 2002). It is not concerned with eliminating all conflict or avoiding conflict. Conflict can be valuable to groups and organizations. It has been shown to increase group outcomes when managed properly (Rahim &Bonoma, 1979; Kuhu& Poole, 2000). The purpose of this case study is to enlighten the researcher on how conflict is being managed in organizations. The research aims to investigate the extent to which managers manage conflict in their organizations when it arises and also the negative impact it has on organization.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Conflict in the workplace can have different effects depending on how it is managed. In organizations, the soft drinks sector clear-cut policies ought to exist to provide guidance on how the administrators ought to manage or resolve conflicts.
First of all, it was noted that frequent and an unwanted argument among employees leads to unhealthy atmosphere within the organization creating a climate of mistrust and suspicion at the workplace.
Secondly, a destructive competition between functions or departments also reduces productivity of work. Again employee’s dissatisfaction at work leads to an increase in employees turnovers and also strikes.
The role of management in conflict resolution is therefore, crucial for effective and efficient organization of banking management. However, the researcher will not overlook the fact that, the role of management in conflict resolution is only one of the many functions, which could lead to better organization.
Conflict management is one of the important aspects in solving most of the problems in organizations in the world today. The study concluded that social conflicts in educational institutions demand moral authority and leadership integrity to resolve them. If not resolved, they can have a destabilizing effect on institutional performance in all learning processes.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study was to know the purpose of conflict resolution strategies and organizational productivity in the selected soft drink firms in Rivers State.
The specific objectives of the study are:
1. To investigate the causes of unresolved conflicts in the organization
2. To determine the impact of conflict on the effectiveness of the organization.
3. To investigate how conflict will be resolved in the organization.
4. To determine the effect of conflict in the organizational performance.
5. To determine the extent of the relationship between conflict resolution strategies and organizational productivity.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is considered relevant any organization, since the effect of conflict can hinder the performance of the Organization. The knowledge gained will also be vital for the government in making the right policies that will positively affect organizations. It is also relevant to business students in furthering their studies. The owners of organization (private) will also benefit in this study, which will provide a model for an effective means of managing Conflict.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. To what extent are the impacts of unresolved conflicts in the organization?
2. To what extent has conflict impacted on the effectiveness of the organization?
3. To what extent can conflict be resolved in the organization?
4. To what extent is conflict important in the organizational performance?
5. To what extent does relationship exist between conflict resolution strategies and organizational productivity?
1.6 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In view of the above research questions, the following hypotheses were formulated:
H0: There is no significant impact of conflict resolution strategies on the organizational productivity.
H1: There is significant effect of conflict resolution strategies on the organizational productivity.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study focused mainly on conflict resolution strategies and organizational productivity (a study of soft drink firms in Rivers State). The researcher met with a lot of constraints which includes that of; time, attitude of respondents and financial barriers which made it difficult to collect data needed for this study and therefore limits the study to the selected soft drink firms in Rivers State.
The time constraints has to do with the limited period available to the researcher within which to complete the project.
The attitude of the respondents was a constraint because of the general tendency for people to hide their feelings for fear of being victimized.
Due to the financial constraints faced by the researcher, data analysis for survey was narrowed down to selected soft drink firms in Rivers State.
1.8 DEFINITION OF RELATED TERMS
Conflict: Conflict is a breakdown in the standard mechanism of decision making so that an individual or group experiences difficulty in selecting an alternative action.
Conflict Resolution: To address the underlying issues of a conflict and to focus on the relationship and communication between parties
Management: It is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively.
Motivation: Motivation is a general term applying to the entire class of drives, desires, needs, wishes and effort to satisfy a want or goal.
Mediation: This is an amicable settlement of dispute under the chairmanship of a person mutually agreed upon by both management and worker’s representative.
Productivity: Is usually defined as a ratio of output produced per unit of resources. It can be looked at as how well resources have been used in producing a given level of output over a period of time.
Organization: A group of people brought together for the purpose of achieving certain objective. An entity designed to achieve a common goal.
Organizational Performance: The degree of how well or badly the organization achieved its set goal.
Dispute: Short- term disagreement that are visible on the surface and relatively easy to resolve because they involve interests that are negotiable. Dispute often exist within a larger, longer and more deep-rooted conflict
Evaluation process: This is the systematic procedure that is employed to measure employee job performance and their potential for development.
Personnel: The person or group of persons employed in an organization to perform certain tasks or service.
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