IMPACT OF CONFLICT MANAGEMENT ON THE PERFORMANCE OF EMPLOYEES OF SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZE ENTERPRISES IN THE BUEA MUNICIPALITY
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This study investigates the effect of conflict management on the performance of micro finance Institutions in the Buea Municipality. It adopts a descriptive research design. A total of 50 respondents were selected for the study using simple random sampling technique. Questionnaire was used to collect primary data. Data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics. Hypotheses were tested through regression analysis. The findings reveal that effective conflict management increase employee’s performance in micro finance institutions in the Buea municipality. It was recommended that micro finance institutions should embark on seminars to orientate employees on conflict management and enforce strict disciplinary rules on workers and that there should be efficient and effective communication between and among all categories of employees in micro finance institutions. This will reduce conflicting situations in the organization. From the model above, conflict management is positively related to the dependent variable (employee performance) as indicated by its positive coefficient. It was recommended at the end of this study that MFIs should have established management Policies (“resolution Guidelines”) that clearly outline the senior management’s view of business development priorities and the terms and conditions that should be adhered to, in order for conflict to be dissolved. The employee relationship should be updated at least annually to reflect changes in the economic outlook and the evolution of the institution’s portfolio and be distributed to all human resource/marketing officers. The resolution Guidelines should be approved by the Managing Director/CEO & Board of Directors of the institution
In the mid-1990s, El Salvador was still over supplied with weapons from a 12year civil war that was fought in the Dominican Republic. Given the fact that the business of weapons such as guns was successful at that time, some businessmen whose trucks were being held up by armed gangs had to change their line of business to “goods for guns scheme” since their main business was affected by the war. In their endeavour, the president supported them. This example gives merely a flavour of what is happening in different part of the world to prevent or resolve conflict without the use of violence (scilla, 2001).
Bullying at workplaces represents a big problem for many employees in which research studies document serious negative consequences from bullying for the victims, as well as their colleagues and the enterprise as a whole (Steinar, 2010). Research indicates that as much as five percent of employees perceived themselves as being bullied at the workplace in Europe (Steinar, 2010). Bullying and badly managed conflicts lowers the productivity in workplaces, impairs the quality of the psychological work environment and represents a problem seen from ethical perspective (Steinar, 2010).
The crisis which erupted last year following industrial or strike actions by lawyers and teachers against the imposition of the French language in English courts and schools has its roots in the country’s fragmented colonial history, which started with Germany in the 19th century, and ultimately ended up with Britain and France until independence in the early 1960s (Atabong, 2017). Today’s protesters are now going as far as pushing a separatist agenda, demanding their own breakaway county Amazonia, made of the present English speaking regions of Cameroon. This conflict or struggle has greatly affected the economic activities in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. For instance, there is drop in market share, profit level of organizations just to name a few (Atabong, 2017).
There is growing recognition of the importance of conflict management in an organization. A recent survey indicates that managers spend a considerable portion of their time dealing with conflict and that conflict management becomes increasingly important to their effectiveness (Ojo, 2014). Obisi (1996) argues that despite this fact peace forms one of the fundamental factors to enhanced productivity with resultant benefits to both the labor and management as well as for the economic development of the country. It will not be out of place therefore, to consider conflict as an inevitable and desirable factor in the work place. Conflict could be viewed as a situation of competition in which the parties are aware of their comparability of potential future position in which each party wishes to occupy a position that is incompatible with the wishes of the other. Conflict could arise because of the employee quest to maximize profit while workers representatives are out to ensure continuous improved condition of living for their member. Conflict could also arise as a result of failure to honor agreed items on collective bargaining.
Damachi (1999) emphasizes that if those workers rights and employee prerogatives are trampled upon, could also cause conflict. These include pay, condition of service, and fringe benefits among others. Azamosa (2004) observed that conflicts involve the total range of behaviors and attitudes that is in opposition between owners/managers on the one hand and working people on the other. It is a state of disagreement over issues of substance or emotional antagonism and may arise due to anger, mistrust or personality clashes.Otobo (1987) writing on effects of strikes and lockouts examined resultant effects of industrial conflict at three levels namely psychological, political and economic. In all, every party to industrial action is affected. The needs for an effective conflict management to ameliorate the problems emanating from conflict and assist organization in their struggle for the attainment of corporate objective cannot be over emphasized.
There has been a growing interest in conflict management in recent years. Firstly, research has stimulated interest in strategies and approaches to handling conflict which in the past may have involved litigation through the courts, Secondly, there is increased legalization of the workplace, particularly in the areas of occupational health and safety, discrimination, and harassment, Thirdly, there has been high interest in the need for organizations to move to high performance work systems (Awan & Anjum, 2015).
Some causes of conflict in an organization comes as a result of hierarchical structures, divisions of labour, narrowly defined jobs, detailed rules, limited employee involvement in decision making, authority and control are no longer adequate since they foster conflict (Dreu, 2006). The high-performance workplace emphasizes conflict management as a cornerstone of the effective high-performance workplace.
Due to frequnt organizational conflict, performance in most organizations has taken a comparatively nosedive sequence (Babin & Boles, 2000). The frequent violence by workers for improved working conditions and other interests have led to a down toll which eventually affects organizations performance (Babin & Boles, 2000). Key indicators such as sales return on investment (ROI) and profit margins have reduced due to poor conflict management. This shows that organizational performance is enhanced through effective conflict management (Perez et al 2007)
Many of the unmanaged conflicts were characterized by strikes, violence and destruction of property. This had a trickledown effect on the institutional performance. This study seeks to establish the influence of conflict management on organization performance with a specific focus on Microfinance institutions in the Buea municipality. A few studies have been conducted on communication as a conflict management strategy and its influence on performance. For instance, a study in Nigeria on the role of effective communication on organizational performance (Ngozi & Ifeoma, 2015) recommended that there is need for every organization to endeavour to make effective communication an essential integral part of its management strategies in order to increase organizations performance through reduced organizational conflict. According to Weaver, 2003 successful conflict resolution occurs by listening to and providing opportunities to meet the needs of all parties and to adequately address interests of parties in conflicts so that, each party is satisfied with the outcome.
These industrial strikes often require third party intervention since they have negative effects on organizational productivity and output. Odhong and Omollo (2014) carried out a study on Re-thinking Industrial Relations for Enhanced Organizational Performance in which they emphasized communication to improve performance through reduced conflict, enterprise competiveness, economic growth and overall financial growth but this aspect is lacking in the microfinance institutions in the Buea municipality, hence the reason for this research.
With the strategies of negotiation, third party intervention and communication have been used to manage conflicts in Nigeria and Canada, the studies carried out in microfinances in the Buea municipality, did not address the influence of conflict management on organizational performance in these institutions. This study aimed at filling the gap that existed in the literature by establishing the impact of conflict management on performance of microfinance institutions in the Buea municipality.
In relation to the problem statement above, this research seeks to answer the following questions.
1.3.1 General question
The main Research Questions of this work is what is the effect of conflict management on employees’ performance in the Buea municipality.
What are the different sources of conflict among employees of MFIs in the Buea municipality?
What are the different conflict management techniques used by MFIs in the Buea municipality?
1.4.1 General objective
The main objective of this work is to assess conflict management and its effect on employees’ performance in the Buea municipality.
- To investigate the different sources of conflict among employees of MFIs in the Buea municipality.
- To investigate the different conflict management techniques used by MFIs in the Buea municipality.
FURTHER READING: POLITICAL SCIENCE PROJECT TOPICS WITH MATERIALS