PROJCET TOPIC- CONFLICT MANAGEMENT IN PUBLIC ENTERPRISE: A STUDY OF EBONYI STATE TRANSPORT CORPORATION ABAKALIKI EBONYI STATE
1.1 Background of the Study
One of the traditional area of managing a corporation that have received considerable emphasis is that of managing conflict. Its important in an effective organization has long being recognized. Hence, organizations/corporations operates in a system of standards, roles, procedures, norms, work schedules, positions and structures articulated as adequate to achieve targeted goals and individuals in the organization are expected to function in harmony with these corporation provisions in order to achieve their targets.
But it is important to recognize that the corporation is made up of numerous individuals with considerable differential in their characteristic, perceptions and aspirations. These differences inherent in human nature can generate conflict due to the fact that human beings understand things in different ways and attach meanings. However, it is logical to assert that crisis and conflicts are inevitable in every human organization.
Conflict is a phenomenon that cannot be easily ignored or quietly swept under the carpet because it involves around every aspect of human endeaviour, be it church, business life, community life, family life or even the nations itself.
A critical look into the relationship existing between the worker and the management in most organizations reveals a considerable disharmony on their claim on organization.
Therefore, conflict as an inherent feature of public corporations which is usually induced, partly, by the organizational provisions and may give rise to “full blown conflict”. Conflict emerges either between employees and the management of an organization or among workers, Karl Marx in Dauneninghan (2007:1) noted that “conflict is a feature of the unequal nature of organizational life, hence, conflict is seen as a natural part of class struggle.”
Presently, hardly is there any day without news of conflict from the media. It could be religious, social, political, economic or industrial conflict. Conflict poses a great threat to the socio-economic growth and political stability of any country and therefore requires appropriate measures and structures to manage them when they occur. The credibility and reputation of organizations are heavily influenced negatively or positively by the perception and measures of their responses during the conflicting period.
Basically, conflict should not be regarded as inherently good or bad, rather what matters is the ability of humans to manage the differences when they arise and integrated a more harmonious and smooth working relationship between the disputing/conflicting parties. To this end, the need for public enterprises to be well acquainted with the skills and strategies, measure for effective conflict management due to their socio-economic importance to the development of the entire nation gave rise to this study in which Ebonyi State Transport Corporation was a case.
PROJCET TOPIC- CONFLICT MANAGEMENT IN PUBLIC ENTERPRISE: A STUDY OF EBONYI STATE TRANSPORT CORPORATION ABAKALIKI EBONYI STATE
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is obvious that conflict is indispensable in an organization, associated with negative features and situations which give rise to inefficiency, ineffectiveness or dysfunctional consequences. Conflict is perceived as disruptive and unnatural and represents a form of deviant behavior which should be controlled and changed. Clear extreme cases of conflict in organizations can have very tragic consequences for some people within the organization and have adverse effects on the corporation performance.
Hence, the problem of this study constitutes finding solutions to the following research questions which will guide the logical sequence of this study:
What type of conflict is mostly witnessed in public enterprise?
What are possible causes of conflict in public enterprise?
What effective managerial approach to conflict can be applied or adopted when the need arises?
What are the principal outcomes of conflict in public enterprise
What are the benefits of resolving conflicts?
Objective of the Study
The research is aimed at proffering modalities and solutions for the improvement of management of conflict for effective organizational management in Ebonyi State transport corporation (Ebotrans)
Following the above prevailing problems, the aims of this research includes:
To examine those types of conflict that are mostly encountered in public enterprises
To evaluate the possible causes of conflicts in public enterprise?
To find out the effective managerial approach to conflict that can be adopted when the need arises
To explain the principal outcome of conflict in public enterprises
To examine the benefits of resolving conflicts.
Significance of the Study
Objective of every corporation can only be achieved when individuals in the enterprises function in harmony. It is therefore generally expected that a healthy organizational climate would be reflected by complete harmony in working relationships, loyalty and mutual commitment to the goals and objectives of the establishment. This is however, a worthwhile and creditable venture.
Anyway, at the end of this study, it is solicited that it shall serve the following purposes:
Enable the enterprise managers/Directors to become aware of the possible causes of conflicts in public enterprises or corporations and how to adequately avoid their occurrence
Aid corporation managers to effectively harness the resources (that is, effort, knowledge, skill etc.) of different individuals in the corporation without losing the benefits that collective effort can bring to the enterprise
Revealing to personnel involve (mangers etc.) the knowledge on most efficient and effective managerial approach to conflict management techniques to adopt and when.
contributes to already existing knowledge on conflict management strategies
Scope and Limitation of Study
The study shall be conducted at Ebonyi state transport corporation (Ebotrans) in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital. It shall be carried out within few months and the study shall cover the concept of public enterprises, its origin and functions. The concept of public conflict, its principal causes in public enterprises, effective managerial approach to conflict and the benefits of solving conflicts.
In the attempt of carrying out this study, the problem of time limitation may pose its ugly print because the period of three months required for the study is inadequate for a research of this nature especially as to combine it with other academic activities. Financial constraint is another problem that is confronting this research activity. The economic problems of the time may affect my financial input to the study as am not financial viable.
Meanwhile, bias may have set in, as the researcher may have been biased unknowingly during the interview process or during the development of the research; the respondents also may have being biased in responses due to other matters best known to them. And dearth of literature is another area of stress to the study. Materials for the study, particularly for the review of related literature is scarce and difficult to get. Inspite the above limitations, I shall successfully complete the work in good time and ensure there is non interference with the result of the study.
Having highlighted the problems and objectives of the study, the following hypotheses were formulated for testing and analysis
Ho: Conflict does not affect works performance negatively
Hi: Conflict affects workers performance negatively.
Ho: Efficient conflict management does not significantly enhance harmonious correlation among workers in public organizations
Hi: Efficient conflict management significantly enhance harmonious correlation among workers in public organizations
Ho: Resolving conflict does not significantly benefit public enterprise.
Hi: Resolving significantly benefits a public enterprises.
Scarcely, do scholar discuss and analyze concepts meaningfully in the social science without linking them to or understanding them from some theoretical point of view. In this study, the researcher shall use structural conflict theory as its theoretical framework. Structural conflict theory is one of conflict theories propounded by Karl Marx. It attempts to explain conflict as a product of tension that arises when groups must complete for scarce resources.
This theory seems self-evident as group affiliations are used as evocative shorthand when describing some of the most intractable conflicts in history. For instance. Bourgeoisie verses proletariat, blacks verses white etc. However, one of the basic assumptions of this theory is the structure of society results in conflict. The theorists of structural conflict built this assumption on their observation of societies.
The theorists observed that conflict occurred among groups and that groups have structures which define them. Karl Marx sees rigidly structured economics that have to be overthrown forcefully for the sake of Fairer, yet differently structured societies Marx Weber another structural theorist believed that structures had to evolve peacefully to retain their legitimacy or conflict would result. (Collier, 2003).
Similarly public enterprises are structured functionally, hierarchically or otherwise basically to achieve the aim for which they exist. Each group prevalent in the enterprise struggles to outshine the other in the pursuit of economic gains or power. These prevailing struggles sometimes induce conflicts which may give rise to full-blown conflict”. Collier (2003), further noted that Plato and the founding fathers of the united states asserted that societal structures cause conflicts and could equally resolve conflicts based on the traits of the structures.
The above assertion brings to light the fact that since various structures in public enterprises like ministries and department, extra-ministerial departments etc. relate or co-exist, conflicts bound to occur and the management of the corporation appoints a team that resolves the conflict. Another basic axiom of structural conflict theory is the belief that individual personalities in position do not cause conflict but the relationships that exist between such individuals may result to conflict.
Here Marx focuses on human relationship. He further argues that the individual with his attendant needs and desires is the basis for all conflict in and between societies. Perhaps; individuals with considerable differentials in their characteristics, perceptions and aspirations work together in a corporation. Sometimes a clash of these differences inherent in human nature generates conflicts which may consequently cause serve conflict.
The theory also assumes that conflict can only occur when the competing groups have license in the absence of a dominant power. However, the bone of contemption of the theory focusses on the fact that personal or group interests based on competition for resources acquisition which in most cases are limited, as being responsible for social conflict according to Collier (2003); He further points out some problems like injustice, poverty, exploitation, inequality and oppression as culprits of conflict.
This is obviously applicable to public enterprises. Meanwhile, Ademola (2007:41) maintained that conflicts occurs because of the exploitative and unjust nature of human societies and domination of one class by another
Thus, structural conflict theory lay emphasis on how the competing interest of individual, groups and departments fasten. Conflict directly into the social-economic and political networks within and between various social settings like ethnic groups, corporations etc.
Operational Definition of Terms
The following definitions shall apply in this work:
Public Enterprise: This means business organization established, owned, managed and financed with tax payers money by the government of a state with the main objective of not making profit but render essential services such as water, transportation communication etc. To its citizen.
Conflict: Any event that is, or expected to lead to an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an organization or corporation/enterprise
Crisis: A state of disharmony between incompatible of antithetical persons, ideas or interests.
Management: The act of getting men and materials together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively