1.1. BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Diversity is an increasingly important factor in organizations. Jackson, May, & Whitney (2012), as noted in Shaw & Barrett-Power (2009), define diversity as “the presence of differences among members of a social unit”. Jones and George (2014) defined organizational conflict as “the discord that arises when the goals, interests or values of different individuals or groups are incompatible and those individuals or scatter or thwart one another’s pursuit to achieve their objectives”. Green, Lopez, Whysocki and Kenper, 2008 stated that acknowledging, understanding, accepting valuing and celebrating differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice and public assistance status is what diversity is all about. The differences that make people unique are also sources of potential conflict among them. Diversity in race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, and other personal qualities can lead to divisive and costly conflict in the workplace. A workplace rich with diversity has the potential of exceptional creativity and productivity in organization and success and competitive advantage. It is quite impossible for individuals with diverse background skills and norms to work together, make decisions, and try to meet project goals and objectives without conflict. Conflict among staffs in an organization is unavoidable. If it manages properly, it will bring catalyst for change and can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and performance of the organization. Conversely, lack of effective management of conflict negatively impacts both employee satisfaction and job performance. When organizational leaders overlook conflict at workplace, they pass a message that unsatisfactory job performance and inappropriate behavior are acceptable. According to Awan and Anjum (2015) effectively managed conflict enhances open communication, collaborative decision making, regular feedback, and timely resolution of conflict. Open communication and collaboration enhance the flow of new ideas and strengthen work relationship, which can have a positive effect on employee morale. Regular feedback and timely resolution of conflict has the potential of improving employee satisfaction and job performance. Awan and Anjum (2015) argue that a negative work environment that does not promote conflict resolution can result in poor employee behavior and job performance. Poor management of conflict promotes malfunction communication and poor behavior among workers. Poor behavior on the part of one employee has the power to affect overall employee morale, which results in lower productivity. “Conflict is not just an annoyance according to Dana (2009). It requires money and those expenses can be calculated, in terms of wasted time, bad decision, lost employees.” In the health care industry, patients’ health and even their lives can be affected by unmanaged conflict. Awan and Ibrahim (2015) contend that if the individuals do not have the communication or interpersonal skills to resolve their disputes, the conflict can grow and spread to others, eventually affecting their job performance, which, in turn, affects the job satisfaction of others, as well in addition to the staff not having the communication skills to address their disputes, their leaders often lack the necessary skills to be effective in conflict resolution. Once human resources personnel are involved, the process becomes punitive and results in disciplinary action, which contributes to an even greater reduction in employee morale and employee satisfaction. Within any organization, there are usually different positions and jobs. People occupying these positions have different perceptions, goals, thought and concerns. It is difficult to conceptualize society or an organization without inherent differences and contradictions and these leads to conflict. In organization a serious problem can be conflicts that are very serious. This is the bad practice that will be impossible for the workers to at the same place for work. Awan and Ahson (2015) say that diversity and conflict is a natural and inevitable part of people working together and should be kept at a manageable level where it will not disorganize the activities of the organization towards the attainment of its objectives. Awan et al (2015) plead that diversity and conflict may also be of benefit to the organization where it generates radical change in the organizational power structure, current interaction pattern and entrenched attitude and also can lead to increase in output. While some conflicts are functional others are not. It can also affect the organization negatively when it is correlated with poor employee satisfaction, insubordination, low productivity, leads to economic loss, fragmentation to mention but a few. It is the major responsibility of the management to device effective strategies in bringing down conflict to the barest minimum, which will enable the organization to still function to succeed (Robbins & Sanghi, 2014) against this background the study was being carried out on the effect of diversity and conflict management on organizational performance.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The discriminatory attitude of some workforce, individual identity, lack of cooperation amongst workers has been extended by workers in same diverse organization beyond limits, which results to conflict with negative performance index. This is because departmental goals are pursued more at the expense of broad organizational goals and objectives. Diversity and conflicts in organizations have destabilizing effects on the overall performance of the organization. It leads to under performance since valuable time and resources (human and material) are used in controlling and managing conflicts rather than in enhancing output and productivity. Diversity and conflicts also lead to interpersonal disharmony in the organization which makes attainment of organizational goals difficult. Attaining organizational goals is possible if efforts are always made to reduce the overall level of conflict within the organization. Consequently, it is very imperative that efforts are made towards finding ways of effectively managing diversity and conflict so as to achieve organizational objectives. The effect of diversity and conflict management in corporate organizations with particular emphasis on boundary adjustment commission, Abuja is the focus of this study.
1.3. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.4. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the effect of diversity and conflict management on organizational performance. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant effect of diversity and conflict management on organizational performance.
H1: There is a significant effect of diversity and conflict management on organizational performance.
H0: There is no significant relationship between diversity, conflict management and organizational performance.
H1: There is a significant relationship between diversity, conflict management and organizational performance.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is very important in several respects. Firstly, it will be beneficial to management in all corporate organizations. This is because conflict has become a regular and frequent feature of corporate organizations. By investigating the causes of conflicts the study will be able to find out how the conflicts will be minimized since they cannot be completely avoided. Furthermore, by examining how diversity and conflicts are managed, the study will be able to find out the limitation of the strategies. All these will provide the basis on which recommendations will be made for the benefit of management. Secondly the government will also benefit from the study. As diversity and conflicts occur at organizational level so do they occur in the public sector level. The findings of this study will be very useful to the government in formulating effective strategies for managing conflicts in the public sector. Thirdly, employees in both the private and public sector organizations will also benefit from this study. This is because it will show how their diversity, intra and inter-relationships bring about conflict and how they can accommodate one another or what approach to adoption order to avoid conflicts. Fourthly, union leaders will also benefit from the study. This is because the findings will show how they can use their positions in helping to ensure sustained harmony in corporate organizations. Finally, the study will be useful for academic purpose. This is because students who will carry out related studies will use this project report as a reference material.
1.7. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to the effect of diversity and conflict management on organizational performance (a case study of boundary adjustment commission, Abuja)
Conflict: All kinds of opposition or antagonistic interaction (Armstrong, 2009). It refers to a situation of disharmony and grievance.
Performance: Refers to the measure of evaluating the success of an organization, business unit, project or individuals compared to the company’s strategic goals and objectives (Lebans & Euske 2014)
Organization: This refers to a combination or group of people who work together to achieve a goal.
Disharmony: This refers to a situation of absence of togetherness.
Management: This refers to the art of planning, organizing, directing and controlling. It also refers to decision-makers in a corporate organization
Age Diversity: Refers to generational differences among individuals or employees in a corporation and the values and perspectives attached to each (Backes-Gellner & Veen, 2009).
Diversity: Diversity refers to the existence of a workforce in which individuals come from different socio-cultural and religious backgrounds (Raza, Ishtiaqi, Butt & Newaz, 2013).
Ethnic Diversity: Ethnic diversity refers to the heterogeneity in the mother religion, languages, cultures and races that exists among employees in a firm (Hoogendoorn & van Praag, 2012).
Gender Diversity: Gender diversity implies psychological disparities and experience that socially or culturally attached to being a male or a female within the organization (Ali, Kulik & Metz,2011).
Heterogeneity: Heterogeneity refers to the degree or extent of basic human disparities in a given population in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, ethnicity, social class and religion among others (Zaidi, Saif & Zaheer, 2010).
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