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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET)

Volume 10, Issue 03, March 2019, pp. 133–143, Article ID: IJMET_10_03_013
Available online at http://www.iaeme.com/ijmet/issues.asp?JType=IJMET&VType=10&IType=3
ISSN Print: 0976-6340 and ISSN Online: 0976-6359

© IAEME Publication Scopus Indexed

WORKPLACE CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND


ADMINISTRATIVE PRODUCTIVITY OF STAFF
OF SELECTED ICT DRIVEN PUBLIC
UNIVERSITIES
IGBINOBA Ebeguki, SALAU Odunayo, FALOLA Hezekiah,
OLOKUNDUN Maxwell, Ogueyungbo Opeyemi
Business Management Department, Covenant University, Nigeria

ABSTRACT
Conflict management strategies are the measures used to manage conflict in the
university in order to improve staff performance but unfortunately these universities
have suffered major decline in Nigeria university due to conflict. The study adopted
the survey research design in collecting data from three public universities that were
chosen from three states to represent Southwest Nigeria namely: Oyo, Lagos and
Ogun. The contiguity of the three States is another factor of convenience and reach
which supported the selection of the States. The analysis which included the
quantitative analysis aimed at assessing the main conflict management strategies that
can influence the productivity of staff in the selected public universities. Based on the
results, the hypothetical model of conflict management strategies and productivity was
drawn up, which was later tested in the current study with a PLS-SEM path analysis.
The above summary shows that only two hypotheses were rejected. Accommodation
strategy does not influence staff productivity, nor does the collaboration strategy have
an effect on the productivity of staff. The results show that there are other several
connections between conflict management strategies and staff productivity.
Key words: Conflict, Compromise, Collaboration, Accommodation, Avoidance,
Productivity
Cite this Article: IGBINOBA Ebeguki, SALAU Odunayo, FALOLA Hezekiah,
OLOKUNDUN Maxwell, Ogueyungbo Opeyemi, Workplace Conflict Management
and Administrative Productivity of Staff of Selected ICT Driven Public Universities,
International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology 10(3), 2019, pp.
133–143.
http://www.iaeme.com/IJMET/issues.asp?JType=IJMET&VType=10&IType=3

1. INTRODUCTION
Conflict is an inevitable and consistent trait in corporate organizations which results from
deviations in interest of individual employees and management. The workplace as a reflection
of larger society is full of conflict indoctrinating affairs (Oni-Ojo and Roland-Otaru, 2013).

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Workplace Conflict Management and Administrative Productivity of Staff of Selected ICT Driven Public
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Conflict occurs at both individual and collective level, and because the values, interest,
attitude and goals of individuals differ, it tends to be unavoidable (Oni-Ojo, Iyiola, and
Osibanjo, 2014). According to Igbinoba, Osibanjo and Salau, (2016) universities in Nigeria
have been plague with series of internal and external conflicts which renders the goals and
objectives of the institutions counterproductive. This can be seen by the poor performance of
the institutions in global rankings as non-Nigerian universities have featured in the best one
thousand universities in the world. This could be attributed to series of conflict that have
plagued the universities. These are clear factors to show that universities are susceptible to
conflict owing to the diversity factors and thus cannot be avoided. Conflict is a major problem
that affect performance (Adebisi, 2014). It is believed that employees cannot be committed or
dedicated to their work whenever conflict exist without proper management (Nair, 2008).
Conflict that is not managed properly can affect the university setting, affect the image of the
institution, poor relation among staff, management and parents. Alabi (2002) suggested that it
impossible for conflict to be completely avoidable in the university but can be managed
because no development can take place where there is dispute. In other to manage conflict in
the university, certain management strategies should be put in place (Havenga, 2005).
Conflict in the workplace over the years have been seen has a major duty of the
management who often times handle it with lackadaisical attitude. So conflict can be either be
positive or negative depending on the way it is handled (Oni-Ojo, Iyiola & Osibanjo 2014). In
Nigeria, conflict in the public universities has become incessant due to bad working
condition, unfavourable rules and regulation, workload, non-implementation of agreements,
pay disaffection and these have often resulted into low productivity, reduced motivation and
high turnover. Thus, there is the need to examine conflict management and its implication for
the performance of staff in public universities. Gmelch and Carroll (1991) suggested that
conflict “is sewn into the fabrics” of educational institutions. Most conflicts in Nigerian
public institutions, arises from the government not fulfilling its collective agreement with its
employees or non-academic staff union and usually persist due to the approach in managing
the conflict. Thereby, resulting in non-academic staff embarking on several industrial action
which may often last for months. Consequently, this action leaves the administrative staff
with a low morale, decrease in productivity, increase in absenteeism, increase in defective
products due to lowered commitment to work, and health issues due to stress and depression.
Therefore, since the public universities have been experiencing incessant labour unrest, it
becomes pertinent to examine its conflict management approaches on employees’ intention to
stay. In most public universities today, one of the key problems is that implementation of
conflict management is not seen as an important technique for reducing conflict in the
organisation. It is against this problem statement that this study examined the impact of
workplace conflict management strategies (avoiding strategy, dominating strategy,
compromising strategy, integrating strategy and obliging strategy) on administrative staff
productivity in public universities.

2. LITERATURE REVIEW
Conflict is inevitable in human activities due to divergent views and aspirations. Organisation
comprises of people with various background, attitude, beliefs, skills and personality, which
makes conflict unavoidable (Uwa 2014). Conflict centres on the inability of those concerned
to be able to iron out their differences (Oni-Ojo and Roland-Otaru, 2013). Fatile and
Adejuwon (2011) view conflict has what occurs when people have incompatible ideals over
the sharing of scarce resources to meet teeming demands. Conflict can also be a disagreement
or differences that occurs as a result of trying to use inadequate resources to meet divergent
needs which could be tangible or intangible such as opinions and ideas (Bankovskaya, 2012).

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IGBINOBA Ebeguki, SALAU Odunayo, FALOLA Hezekiah, OLOKUNDUN Maxwell,
Ogueyungbo Opeyemi

This conflict can either be positive or negative (Haas, 1999). Positive conflict is useful,
support and also profitable to the organisations or person’s main objective (Oucho 2002).
While negative conflict is dysfunctional and prevent the person or organisation from
performing well and unable to achieve goals and objectives (Baker, 2011). Conflict is a
component of interpersonal interactions which cannot be avoided. Several studies have been
carried out on causes of organisational conflict and strategies have been postulated for their
effective management. However, not much attention has been paid to the impact of workplace
conflict management strategies on staff productivity. It is perceived that conflict can improve
performance and productivity when handled well. When conflict is resolved well,
relationships and organizations generally improve overall. Every conflict mode has value and
is important that focuses on desired outcomes and enhances ability to be better conflict
negotiators. To buttress this point, Olaogun, Ogunleye and Fatoki (2007) opined that, conflict
is constructive when it increases the quality of decisions made, fosters creativity and
innovation, promotes amongst group members their interest and curiosity, provides a platform
through which problems are managed thereby easing tension and encourages an environment
of self – assessment and modification.

3. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
Conflict management is necessary in order to maintain sanity and cooperation in the
workplace when conflict arises. Conflict must be managed effectively so as to prevent it from
escalating to the point that the organisation would not be able to handle it. Conflict
management is the ability of an organisation to identify the sources of conflict and implement
effective measures to bring it under control (Adamu, Abdu &Talatu 2017). Conflict
management is the implementation of certain strategies to reduce the bad side of conflict, and
increase its positive aspect in other to increase staff performance and effectiveness in the
organisation (Edwin, 2013). An organisation is therefore, to identify and implement
appropriate strategy to control conflict. Conflict managed appropriately promote open and
effective communication, feedback and effective decision making, (Awan and Anjum 2015).
Also if conflict is managed properly it would have a positive impact on employee’s
satisfaction and performance of the organisation (Abdul 2015). Effective management of
conflict can lead to better performance of staff and also improve interactions within the
organisation. Properly managed conflict would increase staff participation, innovativeness and
productivity among staff (Rum, Troena and Hadiwiioyo, 2013). The educational sector is not
an exemption. Therefore management of public universities should improve their conflict
management strategies in other to have a better understanding of conflict in the university.
But when conflict is not properly managed it can lead to bad feelings, low turnover, low
output (Henry, 2009).

4. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES


Conflict management strategies are the measures the management use to manage conflict in
the university in order to improve staff performance. They are considered the mechanisms
used by organisations in resolving conflict (Adeyemi and Ademilua, 2012). Awan and Anjum
(2015) opined that effectively managing conflict can bring about positive results like
promotion of open communication, collaborative decision making, regular feedback and
timely settlement of conflict. They also argued that in return, unmanaged conflict can as well
promote dysfunctional communication and poor behaviour among employees which can have
effect on overall employee morale thereby resulting in lower productivity. In line with this,
Albert (2011) argued that, organisations that constructively manage conflict tend to encourage
a positive employee performance while ill-managed conflict result in lowered employee

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Workplace Conflict Management and Administrative Productivity of Staff of Selected ICT Driven Public
Universities

morale, reduced employee productivity, increased employee absenteeism, increased chances


of losing skilled personnel, leads to loss man and machinery hours, and may lead to an
decrease in service quality. As a result, several scholars over time have come up with
different strategies or style of managing conflict. Among the prominent ones are Follett;
Blake and Mouton; Thomas; Singleton, Toombs, Taneja, Larkin, and Pryor; Rahim and
Bonoma; and Pruitts (Igbinoba, 2015). Leffel, Hallam, and Darling (2012) opined that conflict
management is not terminating conflict, but using methods such as compromise,
collaboration, avoidance, competition and accommodation will help to reduce the dysfunction
aspect and enhance its constructive efficiency. Therefore, the proxies of workplace conflict
management such as compromise, collaboration, avoidance, competition and accommodation
are expressed below:
Workplace Conflict Definitions
Management
Compromise This refers to the willingness of each conflicting party to give up something.
For the purpose of resolving conflict, each disputing part gives up something
of value. This means “no winner, no looser”.
Collaboration This strategy involves the process of negotiation, discussion and
consultation between the disputing parties. Juchel (2002:1284) argues that
when the conflicting parties jointly discuss the disputing issues openly, they
arrive at a favourable solution because it is done with both parties been in a
good state of mind. It is a problem solving strategy that involves integration
of each party’s interest. It is a win - win situation.
Avoidance The avoidance strategy can be referred to as the aspiration to withdraw from
or suppress a conflict. Conflict avoidance is a strategy that involves quietly
reducing conflict to the barest minimum. As Ojo (2005:18) rightly observed
that management are able to be make decisions after they have gathered
enough information on the disputing issue(s) through avoidance. Avoidance
is a personality trait that tries to avoid violent demonstration of grievances
which may end up compounding situations. It shows a withdrawal from or a
negligent attitude to any party’s interest.
Competition The competing strategy simply refers to the drive to meet the expectations of
one’s interest notwithstanding its effect on the other conflicting party.
Accommodating The accommodating strategy involves a process in which one party in a
conflict is willing to rank the opposing party’s interest above his/her own.
This involves a disputing party giving up its interest in order to resolve the
conflict. Ojo (2005:18) argues that when it is more important to one party, it
is acceptable. Accommodation occurs often for the purpose of maintaining
relationships with the disputing opponent and in a bid to keep peace or to
earn social credit that would later be used for recommendation.

5. ORGANISATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY
Appraising the productivity of administrative staff in an organisation is considered an
essential tool for improving organisational effectiveness (Salau, Oni-Ojo, Falola, and Dirisu,
2014) as it leads to accomplishing its set goals and objectives. Service quality, operational
efficiency, training and teaching students both informally and formally have been identified as
indicators for assessing the performance of administrative staff in tertiary institutions
(Mawoli, & Babandako, 2011; Mushemeza, 2016; Ologunde, Akindele, Akande, 2013;
Tinuke, 2015). Abba & Mugizi (2018) opined that these roles of teaching, research/
publication and community service are vital to any nation’s development globally as these
roles especially community service promote social service, financial literacy, health and
reduced crime in communities. Research which is one the reasons for the creation of

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IGBINOBA Ebeguki, SALAU Odunayo, FALOLA Hezekiah, OLOKUNDUN Maxwell,
Ogueyungbo Opeyemi

universities, leading to the generation of new knowledge, engendering innovation, improving


the quality of service, and increasing the university status and economic value, has
unfortunately suffered major decline in Nigeria university due to conflict (Faborode, 2016).
Hence in other for university to get the desired research outcome, conflict must be properly
managed.

6. ROLE OF CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES ON


ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF PRODUCTIVITY
Conflicts inevitably arise in organizations due to influences generated by continuous focus
from obtaining more from fewer resources. The tertiary institutions are no exceptions.
Conflict tends to occur in our daily lives and also in the university, therefore when this occur
in the institution, it should be managed effectively to prevent it from escalating to
uncontrollable situations like violence and possibly industrial actions. This should be the
major concern of the university management as the success and growth of the institution
depends largely on the performance of administrative staff in the university. Khan,Nawaz,
Aleem, &Hamed, (2012) found out that employee productivity is dependent on job
satisfaction, that is, the level of satisfaction an employee gets from a job. In line with this,
Gibson (1990) pointed out factors through which administrative productivity can be measured
which include satisfaction, absenteeism, turnover and performance. Swasto (1996) said that
administrative staff productivity is process of accomplishing certain task and increasing the
effort of individuals or workers within a specific period of time. The use of formal methods
such as peers assessment, organizational objectives and manager rating, employee capabilities
are usually directed towards the growth and expansion of the organization. The management
should also be aware of the appropriate style to use in order to avoid been dysfunctional.

7. METHODS
The study adopted the survey research design to describe the situation. This purpose of this
design is to collect relevant data from respondents in the field and make analysis and
interpretation easy. The population of this study includes all the administrative staff of
selected public universities and the entire population is 1848 (NASU Prospectus, 2016). From
the three states selected, the oldest public universities were chosen to make a total of three (3)
as shown in Table 1. The study used primary sources as a means of data collection, the
primary data used was questionnaire administered to the administrative staff of University of
Ibadan, Ibadan; University of Lagos, Lagos; and Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun based on
conflict management and its impact on organisational productivity. The instrument used for
collecting data for the purpose of this study is a well-structured questionnaire. The
questionnaire was administered with the help of two (2) research assistants and respondents
filled and returned the completed questionnaire. The relationship between workplace conflict
management and institutional productivity of Nigerian public universities was tested using
structural and measurement models. Proxies of this workplace conflict management as used in
this study include compromise, collaboration, avoidance, competition and accommodation.

Table 1 Selected Study Universities


S/N Name of University Administrative Staff Sample Size
Population
1 Ladoke Akintola University of Technology 714 96
2 Federal University of Technology, Akure 684 109
3 Ondo State University of Science and Technology 450 115
Total 1848 320

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Workplace Conflict Management and Administrative Productivity of Staff of Selected ICT Driven Public
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A sample size of 320 staff (administrative) was randomly selected from the total
population of 1848, comprising 17% of the total population. The questionnaire titled “Conflict
resolution strategies and Staff Productivity Questionnaire” (CSPQ) was used for data
collection. The instruments measured the variables under study: conflict resolution strategies,
and productivity. The instruments were given to management experts in the field for validity
check while the test and re-test method was used to establish using construct reliability and
validity. The use of Average Variance Extracted (AVE) was also adopted to reduce
measurement error and to promote attraction of SEM's measurement and modelling interface
as presented in Table 2 and Figure 1.

Table 2 Construct Reliability and Validity


Cronbach_ rho_A Composite Average Variance
Alpha Reliability Reliability
Threshold > 0.7 > 0.7 > 0.7 > 0.5
Accommodation 0.771 0.772 0.859 0.753
Avoidance 0.702 0.735 0.788 0.557
Collaboration 0.760 0.797 0.810 0.563
Competition 0.738 0.765 0.715 0.563
Compromising 0.910 0.925 0.936 0.786
Productivity 0.766 0.775 0.856 0.749

Figure 1 Construct Reliability and Validity


The table and figure above shows that the items for this research met the criterion for
construct reliability and validity as recommended by Fornell and Lacker (1985). Five research
questions and hypotheses were answered and tested in the study. The research questions were
answered using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics such as, measurement and
structural models. The analyses were done through the use of the SMART Partial Least
Square (PLS). All the findings were held significant at 0.05 probability level. The outcomes
of the modelling (measurement and structural) interface analysis were presented in the table
and figures below.

8. ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSIONS


The PLS-SEM path model was adopted to establish the impact of conflict management
strategies (avoiding strategy, collaborating strategy, compromising strategy, accomodating
strategy and competiton strategy) on the productivity of administrative staff of a selected
public University in Nigeria as presented in Figure 2.

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IGBINOBA Ebeguki, SALAU Odunayo, FALOLA Hezekiah, OLOKUNDUN Maxwell,
Ogueyungbo Opeyemi

Figure 2 PLS-SEM Path Co-efficient Model


The idea of standardization was extended to a multivariate system, which possesses many
properties, called partial regression coefficients. The term "path coefficient" indicates the use
of a diagram-based (see Figure 2) approach to consider the possible causal linkage between of
a variable assumed to be a cause on another variable assumed to be an effect) as presented in
Table 3.
Table 3 Path Co-Efficient
Original Sample Standard T Statistics P Values Decision
Sample (O) Mean Deviation (OI/STDEV)
(M) (STDEV)
Accommodation 0.130 0.138 0.081 1.618 0.106 Not Significant
Avoidance 0.265 0.276 0.108 2.459 0.014 Significant
Collaboration 0.093 0.112 0.087 1.068 0.286 Not Significant
Competition 0.210 0.219 0.088 2.378 0.018 Significant
Compromising 0.427 0.403 0.106 4.013 0.000 Significant
R-Square 0.586
R-Square Adj. 0.557
To support the parallels multiple regression analysis and path co-efficient outcomes, the
discriminant analysis was conducted. Essentially, measures of discriminant validity helps to
ensure that the scales measuring these constructs are not correlated as demonstrated in Table
4. The analysis of discriminant validity shows that there are no high correlations among the
factors. The model fit of CFA also guarantee the discriminant validity. Thus, this was
supported by examining the factor loading and correlation of each variable first.

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Workplace Conflict Management and Administrative Productivity of Staff of Selected ICT Driven Public
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Table 4 Discriminant Validity


Variables Accommodation Avoidance Collaboration Competition Compromising Productivity
Accommodation 0.867
Avoidance 0.289 0.746
Collaboration 0.233 0.453 0.711
Competition 0.114 0.166 0.347 0.750
Compromising 0.154 0.474 0.412 0.288 0.887
Productivity 0.257 0.575 0.409 0.358 0.672 0.865
Under each null hypothesis, bootstrapping resampling which indicates the statistical
power of the proposed tests and their sensitivity with respect to size of the co-efficient has
been performed to obtain the bootstrap approximation using the histogram path co-efficient.
Hence, the histograms of the bootstrap approximations of the GoF distributions under the null
hypotheses for Test 1, Test 2, Test 3, Test 4 and Test 5 were presented in the table below.

Model-Fit Summary
Saturated/Estimated model
SRMR 0.052
d_ULS 2.562
d_G1 1.294
d_G2 1.064
Chi-Square 419.166
NFI 0.963

Figure 3 Histogram Path Co-efficient

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IGBINOBA Ebeguki, SALAU Odunayo, FALOLA Hezekiah, OLOKUNDUN Maxwell,
Ogueyungbo Opeyemi

Table 4 Testing the Hypotheses of the Study


Hypotheses Statements Accepted Rejected

H1a Accommodation strategy has an effect on staff productivity X


H1b Accommodation strategy has no effect on staff productivity X
H2a Avoidance strategy has an effect on staff productivity X
H2b Avoidance strategy has no effect on staff productivity X
H3a Collaboration strategy has an effect on staff productivity X
H3b Collaboration strategy has no effect on staff productivity X
H4a Competition strategy has an effect on staff productivity X
H4b Competition strategy has no effect on staff productivity X
H5a Compromising strategy has an effect on staff productivity X
H5b Compromising strategy has no effect on staff productivity X

9. CONCLUSIONS
The analysis which included the quantitative analysis aimed at assessing the main conflict
management strategies that can influence the productivity of staff in the selected public
universities. Based on the results, the hypothetical model of conflict management strategies
and productivity was drawn up, which was later tested in the current study with a PLS-SEM
path analysis. The above summary shows that only two hypotheses were rejected.
Accommodation strategy does not influence administrative staff productivity, nor does the
collaboration strategy have an effect on the productivity of staff. The results show that there
are other several connections between conflict management strategies and staff productivity.
This is quite understandable as constant conflicts means the resolution strategies are not
adequate resulting in staff demands not being met.
The strategies for managing conflict have effects on their administrative productivity in
many cases. This study concluded that compared to a dominating party, a compromising party
would let go more easily but not as much as an obliging party would. Also, a compromising
party would directly focus on an issue more than an avoiding party but does not carry out
deep investigations as much as an integrating party. However, the current research sample
does not represent the whole population of administrative staff of the selected public
universities. Additional research should be conducted to gain representative data from the
University and possibly compare the results with data from another university, preferably
public universities. A comparative analysis would further determine the target-country-
specific motivation and expectations of foreign students. By recommendation, the university
management can consistently address the issues of incessant strikes by adopting alternative
strategies in resolving the university conflicts as the usual remedies have not been adequate.

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