THE INFLUENCE OF WORK PLACE CONFLICTS ON WORKERS PERFORMANCE AT THE BUEA REGIONAL HOSPITAL
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The present study was intended to find out the influence of workplace conflicts on workers’ performance in Buea regional hospital.
Specific objectives were to understand what workplace conflicts were all about, to find out what were the causes of workplace conflicts, to know what the effects of workplace conflicts are, and to find out how workplace conflicts can be reduced. The study adopted a survey research design.
The questionnaire was used to measure the research items which were administered to 20 workers at the Buea Regional Hospital. Respondents were selected using a simple random sampling technique. The descriptive analysis in particular frequencies, percentages, and averages were used to analyze the data
The findings of the study indicated that workplace conflicts have so many influences on workers’ performance at the Buea regional hospital.
This chapter deals with issues relating to a work conflict and their influences on workers’ performance. Work conflict is an issue that draws much attention as many individuals encounter it every day in their day-to-day activities especially at their workplace.
People get to encounter different people from different backgrounds, socio-economic statuses, religious beliefs, and different views. This can result to work conflict as their objectives and opinions may not be in accord.
Conflict is inevitable and conflict in the workplace is not necessarily bad for business. It can engender positive and creative collaborations between employees to complete tasks when managed properly.
However, when conflicts between workers escalate, are unresolved, or are not managed appropriately, negative consequences can result for employees and the organization if the issue is not handled in a timely and effective manner. These consequences cost businesses a lot of money.
1.2 Background to the Study
In the process of achieving organizational objectives, disappointments, disputes and conflict will surely arise. This strongly suggests that the occurrence of arguing, backbiting, blame-shifting, gossiping, and undermining of others can never be completely eradicated from any human society.
Consequently, companies for some time now are faced the problem of organization and lack of organization anxiety from employees of all levels. They are experiencing strike actions of all kinds, unceremonious resignations, court actions, and even the exchange of blows amongst co-workers.
Co-worker disputes, though common, are dangerous because they involve delicate interpersonal relations that can explode and disrupt an office and an entire company (Jehn, 1995). Conflict can have a devastating effect on the performance of an organization, especially if it consumes the energies of employees rather than focusing on other productive activities (Ongari, 2009).
Moreover, it can interfere with the group process and create so much interpersonal hostility that group members may not be willing to cooperate together to achieve organizational goals (Hackman & Morris, 1975, Amason,1996). Furthermore unsolved conflicts can generate bigger contentions which has the potential of feeling more controversies.
A Consulting Psychologists Press (CPP, 2008) study found the primary problems of workplace conflict relate to personality clashes, followed by stress and workload. Often the conflict can be via organized forms of harassment or bullying. These actions can be a systemic problem unknowingly supported by management because employees are not educated about the risks that come with harassment or bullying.
However, in spite of the serious picture painted about conflict as an organizational tremor, this social action can also foster posterity for business and organizational ventures. With constructive and avoiding unnecessary risk approach, conflicts can revolutionize new ideas which can take business organizations to unprecedented heights in their endeavors.
According to the authors in Knippen & Green (1999), conflicts in business organizations can enhance the quality of decisions and also catalyze participation in group discussions.
All over the world in the past, the notion of work conflict has been one that requires great attention. As workers meet with others from different backgrounds, different educational levels, different religious groups, Age differences, and socioeconomic status, and with these differences, they tend to exhibit different behavior and characteristics in the workplace and these behaviors differ according to the individual’s concern.
Hence, pose a conflict between workers whose ideas and views are not in accord with that of others. In Africa and Cameroon our nation the problem is still evident. Workplace conflict is all about a disagreement or conflicting objectives among workers.
Age differences play a great role in the problem of workplace conflict on workers’ behavior. Organizational or workplace conflict is a state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values, and interests between people working together.
A conflict can also be seen as a struggle between opposing forces. Usually, the main character struggles against some other force. This type of conflict is what drives each and every story. Without it, the story would have no point or purpose.
Conflict takes different forms in an organization. It could be brought about by the differences in the level of education among workers, Age differences, poor communication in the organization, scramble over scarce resources, unclear roles of workers, poor working conditions, harassment or unfair treatment of workers in the workplace, and personality characteristics which will all contribute to work conflict in an organization (Cutman, 2008).
In an organization, there are several ways in which an individual can identify a source of conflict. In order to do this, the individuals should communicate or talk with other workers often, focus on behavior and events, listen carefully, identify points of agreement and disagreement with their colleagues.
By so doing; it will enable an Individual to identify any source of conflict and will enable him or her to take preventive measures against it. For example, there are some workers who are young but hold high positions of authority and power because of their achievements.
When others who are older than these young leaders see this, they are unhappy because they feel humiliated taking instruction from a young colleague who is also their boss.
This will consequently result to work conflict that will eventually affect the productivity of workers in an organization. Thus, it is good to identify the source of conflict which can be through communication with others (Schramm-Nielsen, 2002).
In addition to that, Tribalism also contributes to workplace conflict which has a great impact on workers’ performance. In this case, you may find workers who associate only with workers from the same tribe and do not interact often with those of other tribes, as such; team spirit is hindered which also results in favoritism that causes work conflict in an organization.
The task now is in the hands of the Government and management to make sure that conflict management resolutions are well respected and implemented. The above-mentioned factors and many others may exert a great impact on workers’ performance in any environment where people meet in numbers for a purpose.
Workplace conflict also affects the self-esteem of workers and in some cases may result in depression psychological stress, poor mental health, open confrontation, absenteeism, enmity, and frustration.
It is very important for workers to engage in teamwork and collaboration so as to be able to work on a smooth path with the spirit of oneness. This will enable them to work effectively and efficiently increasing productivity and consequently meeting the goals and objectives of the organization and their personal goals (Pinkley, 1990).
1.3 Statement of the Problem
Work conflict or organizational conflict can be referred to as a state of discord or the disagreement of objectives among workers in an organization. When workers do not agree over a particular issue or have different opinions and views about a situation, it may result in a conflict at work.
According to Douglas (1979), in his x and Y theory that the is always a problem at the work due to differences in ideas and laziness among workers, such problems exist in almost all organizations which need wisdom and knowledge to manage.
A Consulting Psychologists Press (CPP, 2008) study found the primary problems of workplace conflict relate to personality clashes, followed by stress and workload. Often the conflict can be via subtle forms of harassment or bullying.
These actions can be a systemic problem unknowingly supported by management because employees are not educated about the risks that come with harassment or bullying. Training to address harassment or bullying is often not a priority, especially in small businesses and organizations.
Some managers may not have the skills and experience needed to assess a situation and determine an appropriate response. Moreover, this problem may be compounded by inadequate guidelines setting out a policy for progressive sanctions.
Often business owners and managers do not recognize the severity of a workplace conflict until the issue devolves into resignation or termination.
Studies indicate that it is common for managers to prefer that employees take care of their own arguments. Employees often feel that an issue could have been resolved with a better outcome if managers stepped in sooner.
Workplace conflict, when unaddressed and unresolved, can cost your business dearly. Productivity can decline significantly while health care costs due to stress-induced illness and injury and lost business or high employee turnover can drain your business’s reserves and resources.
There are cost-effective, timely resources available to assist you in addressing these challenges. Despite the efforts of managers in resolving workplace conflict, the problem keeps on persisting and that is why the researcher deems it necessary to research on this topic with the aim of bringing recommendations and proposed solution at the end to remedy it.
The problem of work conflict, therefore, is disagreement among workers, differences in opinions, personality clashes, stress and workload, harassment, and bullying which may influence workers’ performance negatively.
That’s why the research is out to find out how workplace conflict influences workers’ performance in Buea Regional Hospital.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions were posed in order to achieve the desired objectives of the study.
1.4.1 General Research Question:
How does workplace conflict influences workers’ performance in the Buea Regional Hospital?
1.4.1 Specific Research Questions:
- What is workplace conflict?
- What causes workplace conflict?
- How does workplace conflict affects workers’ productivity?
- What can be done to reduce workplace conflict?
1.5. Objectives of the Study:
1.5.1 General Objectives
This research seeks to investigate the influence of workplace conflict on workers’ performance in the Buea Regional Hospital.
1.5.2 Specific Objectives
The Specific Objectives of this study are;
- To understand what workplace conflict is all about.
- To find out what are the causes of workplace conflict.
- To know what are the effects of workplace conflict
- To find solutions to workplace conflict.