Management Strategies Of Conflict Between Academic And Non-academic Staff Of Federal Universities In South East, Nigeria

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This study investigated management strategies of conflict between academic and
non-academic staff of federal universities in South East, Nigeria. The study was
guided by nine research questions and nine null hypotheses. The design of the
study was descriptive survey. The population of the study was 16,387
respondents. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select a sample of
1,025 subjects, comprising 527academic and 488 non-academic staff from the
universities. Purposive sampling technique was also used to select another 10
academic and non-academic staff for the focus group discussion (FGD). The
instrument for data collection was a questionnaire titled: Management Strategies
of Conflict Questionnaire (MSCQ) and focus group discussion guide which was
put in prose form. The research questions were answered using mean and
standard deviation while t-test was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level
of significance. Findings of the study were that interpersonal and intrapersonal
conflicts, interdependence conflicts, breakdown in communication, subordinate
conflicts and breakdown of collective bargaining, among others are the nature of
conflicts experienced in the federal universities. It was also found that breach of
communication, poor human relationship, unequal attention to staff welfare,
differences in staff perception, inadequate representation of staff in decision
making, competition for scarce resources and their allocations, were among the
sources of conflicts. The study revealed that conflict increases disunity,
communication gap, bitterness, helps staff to voice out their dissatisfactions,
reduces motivation, decreases productivity. The responses of academic and nonacademic
staff did not differ significantly (p<0.05) with regard to the strategies
suitable for managing conflicts in federal universities. Among the
recommendations were that university management should adopt the identified
management strategies of conflict which, among others, include mediation,
negotiation, dialogue, and effective communication that will tackle conflict
between academic and non-academic staff in universities so as to enable them
work together in peace and harmony for the effective and efficient achievement
of the university goals. University management should organize conferences,
workshops and seminars to create awareness on the adverse effects of conflicts
in the universities and on their staff and students. This will encourage peaceful
co-existence and team spirit for smooth running of the universities. Also
university management should constitute conflict management committee who
would be trained and guided on management strategies of conflict. This will help
prevent and check any form of biased tendencies and will create synergy in order
to achieve educational goals and objectives.
Background of the Study
Conflicts are inevitable in any organization. This is more so in an organization
as a university with a structure that allows two or more units or groups to share
functional boundaries in achieving its set objectives. In universities, people with
differing nature -students, lecturers and administrative staff - have to work
harmoniously together. The organizational structure is such that staff and staff,
students and students, staff and students share functional boundaries to exchange
The goal of university education is pursued through its main functions and
activities of teaching, research, dissemination of existing and new information,
service to the community, and being a storehouse of knowledge (Federal Republic of
Nigeria, 2004). In carrying out these functions, there are always conflicts within and
among the categories of people within the university community, namely students,
academics, non-academics and their unions. These categories of people have
different purposes and expectations from the university. In pursuance of their
individual and group purposes and expectations they sometimes disagree with one
another due to their differing ideals which result to conflict.
Several definitions of conflict have been given by different scholars. According
to Enyi (2001), conflict can be regarded as a situation where disputants are hostile to
each other in their efforts to achieve goals which are at variance with each other.
Best (2006) defined conflict as pursuit of incompatible interests and goals by
different entities. It is the struggle over values or claims to status, power, and scarce
resources in which the aims of the groups of individuals involved are not to obtain

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Management Strategies Of Conflict Between Academic And Non-academic Staff Of Federal Universities In South East, Nigeria