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PROJECT TOPIC- CONFLICT RESOLUTION STRATEGIES BETWEEN PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NSUKKA EDUCATION ZONE OF ENUGU STATE

PROJECT TOPIC- CONFLICT RESOLUTION STRATEGIES BETWEEN PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NSUKKA EDUCATION ZONE OF ENUGU STATE

ABSTRACT

The study was carried out in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State. The purpose was to investigate conflict resolution strategies between the principals and teachers in public secondary schools in the zone. A descriptive research design was adopted for the study. The population comprised all the principals and teachers in the education zone. The sample size for the study was 600. A researcher designed questionnaire was the instrument for data collection. Three experts face-validated the instrument and Cronbach Alpha method was used to compute the reliability estimate. Four research questions guided the study. A 30-item questionnaire based on 4 point rating was the instrument for data collection. Mean and standard deviation were used in analyzing research questions while t-test was used in testing the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. Among the findings include areas of conflict in schools such as:- irregular attendance to school by teachers, poor keeping of school records, irregular attendance to classes, non-participation in extra school works, teachers welfare and students disciplines; use of dialogue, effective communication, used of compromise, involving staff in decision, proper delegation of duties and proper use of authority in schools; encouraging group cohesion, increasing understanding and improving the self knowledge of principals and teachers in schools and identification of the causes of the conflict, prompt intervention to avoid escalation, and allowing free flow of communication. Finally, the researcher in general recommended that the adoption of the suggested strategies for improving principal’s conflict resolution be applied in the school by school administrators.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Conflict in the work environment is inevitable. When two or more people have to work together and combine ideas, the doorway of conflict is ever open. However, every human organization, such as the school, needs to be properly managed and directed by a well-defined leadership to ensure effective performance by the staff towards goal attainment. Productivity, creativity and results will be greater in an institution that people show co-operative spirit in carrying out their functions or duties. Efficient organizational team-work involves teams whose activities revolve around the leadership, in terms of their operational and decision-making policies, for the achievement of their set goals (Olujide, 2001).
Similarly, the school as an organization operates with an appointed leadership, who defines and assigns roles to individual teachers, based on their areas of competence, all working towards the achievement of school goals and objectives. However, when one refuses to carry out his or her duties, or perform the roles assigned to him, conflict is bound to occur. Also, since in the school, people from different backgrounds and experiences are brought together, it becomes inevitable, that conflict may occur.
Conflicts are common occurrence among individuals in different shares of life in the society. Broom (2010) views conflict as negative outcome or something to be avoided. This implies that conflict is better prevented because it may normally result to lack of misunderstanding among people in a particular setting. Similarly, Cram and Williams (2000), observe that conflicts are seen as disagreements or problems at an interpersonal level. In the school system for instance, without conflicts principals and teachers can become complacent and not perform their duties well.

In the same vein, Rummel (1996), agrees with Cram and Williams (2000) that conflict involves disagreement among individuals. This shows that conflicts involve disagreement or misunderstanding as well as problems among individuals specifically, as applied in this study, conflict is seen as misunderstanding between the principals and the teachers, with regard to secondary school management in Nsukka Education Zone.

PROJECT TOPIC- CONFLICT RESOLUTION STRATEGIES BETWEEN PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NSUKKA EDUCATION ZONE OF ENUGU STATE

There are three identified types of conflict. These are approach-approach, avoidance-avoidance and approach-avoidance (Oboegbulem 2007). Approach-approach conflict involves making a choice between two attractive goals. This conflict type is less stressful and has happy ending. For instance a principal of a secondary school may be faced with making choice between having a founders’ day ceremony or inter-house competition in his school, as a way of raising money for the maintenance of the school. In this case he may find decision making very conflicting.

In approach-avoidance conflict, a choice must be made on whether to pursue a single goal that has both attractive and unattractive aspects or not. This conflict type is very stressful as decision-taking is normally delayed, for instance, a situation where the principal want extra moral lesson for the students but will not allow the students to be taxed for the extra lessons by the teachers. The Avoidance-Avoidance conflict involves a choice between two unattractive goals. In this case, an individual is forced to take a decision between two repelling alternatives.

Ubah (1994), explains this to mean that one of the groups involved in the conflict tries to avoid the conflict whenever perceived. This is done by trying as much as possible by avoiding any discussion related to the matter that involves conflict. In other words, the avoidance type of conflict ensures that matters which may lead to conflict situations are avoided by all means.
Causes of conflicts are many and varied within individuals, groups and organizations. Ogunna (1993), identifies two potential causes of conflict as differences arising from acquired values among individuals and conflicting or conflict due to inter-organizational objective. Thus, since individuals believe in the values they hold, anything on the contrary is bound to bring about misunderstanding among people. In the same way, workers in an organization also experience conflict in the performance of assigned duties, which often results to disagreement among them.

In the school system, possible areas of conflict between the principals and teachers include leadership style, communication, school policy, decision making, and delegation of duties as well as role definitions/assignments. Authur (2002), identifies leadership style, communication, school policy and role definition as possible areas of conflict to the school principal.
The leadership style exhibited by the principal is one of the major causes of conflict in secondary schools. Onwurah (2004) opines that some school principals operate kitchen cabinet. This implies the application of divide rule in the running of the school. Accordingly, this principal’s style of management gives rise to pro and anti-principal-teachers relationship, which encourages conflict situation. Also, the way and manner the principals communicate to their teachers in the school helps to bring about conflict. Ojo (2004), asserts that some principals hoard information that affects the teachers in the school.

In the school, poor communication relationship between the principals and the teachers is a key area of conflict in the system. Thus, when the principal hoards information regarding the teacher’s welfare in the school, room is created for mistrust and this may lead to far reaching consequences in the activities of the school. Conflict has several consequences in the school system Okotoni and Okotoni (2003), assert that conflict has enormous effects in the school. Parts of the repercussion in the schools are disruption of academic programmes, unplanned staff transfer hostility, suspicion and withdrawal from active participation in school activities by some staff.

It could lead to positive or negative outcomes. Ogunna (1993), asserts that conflicts can bring about an innovation, new norms and new institutions as well lead to a disorganization of an existing norm in the school system. Hence, understanding conflict, its causes and consequences will enable one to be aware of the possible strategies towards its resolution. If the causes of conflict are identified and made known, the resolution is assured.
Conflict resolution is an important aspect of principal’s administrative duties in the school system. Ojo (2004) asserts that conflict resolution is empowering parties involved in conflict to choose wisely and to act with every one’s best interest in mind. This entails each party trying to shift grounds in the overall efforts towards resolving the conflict in question. In the same vein, Olujide (2001) sees conflict resolution as an understanding between parties to end an issue of disagreement.

In other words, successful conflict resolution usually involves fostering communication among disputants, problem solving and drafting agreements that meet their underlying needs. In this study, conflict resolution means a technique adopted by the principal of a secondary school to resolve a disagreement with his teachers for the smooth performance of their teaching and leaving activities in the school. Conflict resolution strategy refers to the method employed by the principals to resolve problem situations between them and the teachers in the management of the school.

Scolt (2008), explains that conflict resolution strategy is an effective key to reducing basic relationship arising from conflicting issues by individuals. To achieve this in the school system, the principals have to ensure that the school environment is condusive. This will provide the teachers, the opportunity to put in their best in achieving the goals of teaching and learning activities in the schools. This, the principals can achieve through the use of dialogue, ensuring appropriate effective and free flow f communication, and taking proactive steps towards occurrence of conflict among others.
Against this background it becomes necessary to explore ways through conflict resolution strategies could be improved in the school system. Based on the above, the researcher is interested in investigating areas of improvement in conflict resolution strategies between principals and teachers in public secondary schools in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu state.

PROJECT TOPIC- CONFLICT RESOLUTION STRATEGIES BETWEEN PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NSUKKA EDUCATION ZONE OF ENUGU STATE

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