THE DYNAMICS OF CONFLICTS AND LABOUR MANAGEMENT IN ORGANIZATIONS: A STUDY OF ASUU – EBSU
Every organization encounters conflicts on a daily basis. The conflicts cannot be avoided, but it is possible to manage them in a way that we recognize them on time. It is necessary to continuously track the organizational signals which point to their existence. One of the more important determinants of productivity, efficiency and performance, and finally job contentment is also the conflict as an independent variable of organizational behavior. The management of organizational conflict involves the diagnosis of and intervention in affective and substantive conflicts at the interpersonal, intragroup and intergroup levels and styles (strategies) used to handle these conflicts. This work examines The Dynamics of Conflicts and Labour Management in Organizations: A Study of ASUU – EBSU. A descriptive survey design was adopted to study a population of 2,1830 which was reduced to a sample size of 200 using Convenience Sampling Technique. Data were collected from primary and secondary sources. Structured questionnaire instrument was used for data collection and simple percentage method, and frequency distribution tables were used to analyze the data gotten from the questionnaire instrument whereas chi-square (X2) was applied in empirical testing of the hypotheses that guided the study. The study revealed that conflicts occur in organizations as a result of competition for supremacy, leadership style, scarcity of common resources, etc. If a conflict is not well and timely managed, it can lead to low productivity or service delivery. The study also revealed that conflict can sometimes produce positive result, if well managed. Thus, not all conflict situations are bad. Based on the findings, recommendations were made that; lecturers who embark on industrial strike should not be indiscriminately sacked by the Government, but rather device means to meet their demands because of the nature of their profession. Also, the Government should not feel reluctant to obey the verdict of the court in reinstating those who have been sacked; the school authority authorities should pay more attention on those factors which gave raise to industrial conflict as preventive strategies in order to reduce crisis in the school rather than curative measure and the school authorities should be more democratic in handling labour union’s affairs; involving labour union leaders in decision making process especially on issues that borders on them.
TABLE OF CONTENTS vi
LIST OF TABLES ix
LIST OF FIGURES xi
CHAPTER ONE:INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Background of Study 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem 7
1.3 Research Question 9
1.4 Objectives of the Study 9
1.5 Study Hypotheses. 10
1.6 Significance of the Study 10
1.7 Scope of Study 11
1.8 Limitation of Study 11
1.9 Theoretical Framework 12
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW 14
2.1 Conceptual Framework 14
2.2 Views on Conflict 19
2.2.1 Traditional View (1930-1940) 19
2.2.2 The Human Relations or Contemporary View (1940-1970) 20
2.2.3 The Interactionist View 20
2.2.4 Forms/Classification of Conflict 21
2.3 Types of conflict 23
2.3.1 Functional or Constructive Conflict 23
2.3.2 Dysfunctional/Destructive Conflict 23
2.4 The Conflict Process 24
2.5 Sources Versus Causes of Conflict 26
2.5.1 Sources of Conflict 26
2.5.2 Causes of Conflict 27
188.8.131.52 Structural Factors 27
2.6 Effects of Conflict 29
2.7 Benefits of Conflict 31
2.8 Reappraisal of Industrial Conflict in an Organization 33
2.8.1 The Meaning of Industrial Conflict 33
- 8.2 Causes or Sources of Industrial Conflict 35
2.8.3 Effects of Industrial Conflict 37
2.9 Legal and Institutional Framework for Collective Braining 39
2.10 Dispute Settlement Procedures 40
2.11 Historical Antecedence of ASUU 41
2.11.1 ASUU-EBSU 43
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 46
3.1 Research Design 46
3.2 Population of Study 47
3.3 Sample Size Determination 48
3.4 Instrument for Data Collection 48
3.5 Sources of Data 49
3.6 Method of Data Analysis 49
3.7 Validity of Instrument 50
3.8 Reliability of the Instrument 50
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS 52
4.1 Questionnaire Administration and Response Rate 52
4.2.1 Analysis of Research Questions 53
4.3 TEST OF HYPOTHESES 65
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 73
5.1 Summary 73
5.2 Conclusion 74
5.3 Recommendation 75
Table 1: Population Size 47
Table 2: Responses on whether or not dissatisfaction and outright grievances constitute the mental and physical manifestation of industrial unrest in EBSU. 53
Table 3: Responses on how ASUU strikes resulted from insensitivity of EBSU management. 53
Table 4: Responses on how Non-implementation of ASUU-FGN agreement was responsible fro the industrial actions. 54
Table 5: Responses on how absence of mechanism such as town hall meetings or suggestion boxes where staff can air their views and grievances. 54
Table 6: Responses on how unfriendly policies and political interference were the remote causes of the unrest. 55
Table 7: Responses on how management resorted to threats/intimidation instead of dialogue in handling the crisis. 56
Table 8: Responses on how academic staff were denied promotion and other due entitlements for spearheading strike actions. 56
Table 9: Responses on how punitive postings were made against union leaders for their roles during the conflicts. 57
Table 10: Responses on how “No work, no pay” was implemented following the unrest. 57
Table 11: Responses on how management tends to adopt tough stance during negotiation/dialogue with the staff. 58
Table 12: Responses on how polarization of the union is often a measure management uses during industrial conflicts. 59
Table 13: Responses on how ASUU disputes disrupt academic calendar in Nigerian universities. 59
Table 14: Responses on how disruption of academic calendars compel universities to adjust calendars/exam schedules which are often improper for normal learning/research. 60
Table 15: Responses on how adjusted calendars are responsible for lopsided teaching which impart negatively on standard. 60
Table 16:Responses on how students resort to sorting/all manners of examination malpractices to scale through in the face of harsh conditions of disrupted calendars. 61
Table 17: Responses on how inconsistent calendars make programme durations indeterminable and often result to unethical behaviours among Nigerian students. 62
Table 18: Responses on how armed robbery, prostitution and sometimes death are consequences of uncertainties in Nigerian university system. 62
Table 19: Responses on Indifference posture of management over workers’ welfare provoked the unrest. 63
Table 20: Responses on how management maps out non-negotiation issues which negates the essence of dialogue or collective bargaining. 64
Table 21: Responses on how graduates of Nigerian universities are rated low outside Nigeria due to Nigerian study environments. 64
Table 22: Chi-square (X2) Table Calculated from the Contingency Table 19 66
Table 23: Chi-square (X2) Table Calculated from the Contingency Table 20 68
Figure 1: Potential position or incompatibility 25
The concept of conflict, because of its ubiquity and nature, has acquired a multitude of meaning and connotations, presenting us with nothing short of semantic jungle. Like other terms, conflict generates considerable ambivalence and leaves many scholars’ and administrators quite uncertain about (1) its meaning and relevance; and (2) how best to cope with it. Conflict situation are inevitable in one’s personal life, in organizations or even between nations. Conflict is a process in which one only party suggests that its interests are being opposed by another party. As a rule, people see only the observable aspect of conflict-angry words, action of opposition, etc. but this is only a small part of the conflict process (Mashanne and Glinow, 2008).
Conflict is an inseparable part of people’s life. It is a perpetual gift of life, although varying view of it may be held. Some may view conflict as a negative situation which must be avoided at any cost. Others may see it as a phenomenon which necessitates management. Still, others may consider conflict as an exciting opportunity for personal growth and so try to use it to best advantage. Wherever one may fall on this continuum of viewpoints concerning conflict, seldom would one expect to be in a continual state of conflict as the basis for employment (Nebgen, 1978).
According to coser (1967), conflict is a struggle over values and claims to scarce status, power and resources in which the aims of the opponents are to neutralize, injure or eliminate the rivals. It is also defined from communication perspective as “an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce rewards and interference from other parties in achieving their goals (Hocker and Wilomt, 1985). According to wikipedia, organizational
According to Wikipedia, organizational conflict (industrial conflict) is a state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests between formal authority and power and those individuals and groups affected. There are dispute over how revenues should be divided, and how long and hard people should work. There are jurisdictional disagreements among individual departments and between unions and management. There are subtle forms of conflict involving rivalries, jealousies, personality clashes, role-definitions and struggles for power and favour. There is also conflict within individuals- between competing needs and demands – to which individuals respond in different ways.
Over the years, the Nigerian labour history experience several industrial disputes dating back from the colonial period to independence and to post-independence era. These usually arose out of disagreements or clashes of interest between the actors in industrial relations.
Similarly, Wogu (1969) highlights major industrial disputes experienced in Nigeria starting from 1912 to 1966. In 1929 an attempt to introduce direct taxation in Eastern Nigeria sparked off the historic Aba women’s Riot. In 1938 the agitation of rail workers for good working conditions gave rise to the industrial action of 1938; which was later granted to them in January 1938. In 1941, the Civil Service Union of Railway Men began the agitation for a cost of living allowance which was then known as “war bonus” after the Second World War.
Wogu (1969) further stresses that the general strike of 1945 is one of the most important events in the Nigerian labour history with the exception of Iva valley shooting incident of 1949, and the general strike of 1964. The immediate cause of the 1945 strike was the unwillingness of the regime to honour its pledges to workers. On Ju ne 21, 1947 there was a brutal shooting by the defendless UAC employees in Burutu, which led them to strike in furtherance of a wage demand. Two years later, in November 18th, 1949 there was also brutal shooting of the striking coal miners at Iva Valley coal mine who were agitating for an improved working conditions and the inhuman treatment of the local miners by the colonial government. About 21 miners were killed and many of them injured. Wogu referred to the event as “Enugu Blood Bath”. Progressively, on December 14, 1950 the mercantile workers embarked on strike demanding for a cost of living allowance of which 29, 866 workers were involved and 239,663 man-days were lost. Nine years later precisely on January, 1959 the Airways Workers Union organized a strike over a wage claim and improved conditions of employment. To beat the strike, the management promises to offer ten pounds to any worker who fails to join the strike.
In 1964, there was a general strike carried out by the united labour union over the non-implementation of the revised salary structure. Workers demonstrated their grievances in the streets of Lagos and some labour leaders were tortured in the pro individuals - between competing needs and demands - to which individuals respond in different ways.
Over the years, the Nigerian labour history experienced several industrial disputes back from the colonial period to independence and to post-independence era. These usually arose out of disagreements or clashes of interest between the actors in industrial relations. Similarly, Wogu (1969) highlights major industrial disputes experienced in Nigeria starting from 1912 to 1966. In 1929 an attempt to introduce direct taxation in Eastern Nigeria sparked off the historic Aba women's Riot. In 1938 the agitation of rail workers for a good working conditions gave rise to the industrial action of 1938; which was later granted to them in January 1938, In 1941, the Civil Service Union in collaboration with the Nigerian Union of Railway Men began the agitation for a cost of living allowance which was then known as "war bonus" after the second world war,
Wogu (1969) further stresses that the general strike of 1945 is one of the most important events in the Nigerian labour history with the exception of Iva valley shooting incident of 1949, and the general strike of 1964. The immediate cause of the 1945 strike was the unwillingness of the regime to honour its pledges to workers. On June 21, 1947 there was a brutal shooting by the police on the defendless UAC employees in Burutu, which led them to strike in furtherance of a wage demand. Two years later, in November 18th, 1949 there was also brutal shooting of the striking coal miners at Iva Valley coal mine who were agitating for an improved working conditions and the inhuman treatment of the local miners by the colonial government. About 21 miners were killed arid many of them injured. Wogu referred to the event as "Enugu Blood Bath". Progressively, on December 14, 1950 the mercantile workers embarked on strike demanding for a cost of living allowance of which 29, 866 workers were involved and 239, 663 man-days were lost. Nine years later precisely on January, 1959 the Airways Workers Union organized a strike over a wage claim and improved conditions of employment. To beat the strike, the management promised to offer ten pounds to any worker who fails to join the strike.
In 1964, there was a general strike carried out by the United Labour Union over the non-implementation of the revised salary structure. Workers demonstrated their grievances in the streets of Lagos and some labour leaders were tortured in the process by the police. In 1994 during the regime of late Sam" Abacha ,the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) carried out an industrial action throughout the federation which lasted for more than one year over good working conditions. Also in 2002 ASUU also embarked on six months old strike action over the better working conditions.
Similarly, in 2007 during Olusegun Obasanjos regime, the Nigerian Labour Congress embarked on a nationwide strike protesting the increase on the fuel price with the aim of fighting for the interest of Nigerian citizens who are the primary consumers of the product. In 2009 the ASUU also embarked on six months old strike demanding for a revised salary structure and better working conditions. In 2010, the academic staff union of universities in the south East States of Nigeria embarked on five months strike over the non-implementation of the 2009 FG- ASUU agreement. In that same year, the medical practitioners working with Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki embarked on strike over poor salary and poor working conditions.
On August, 2011 the Nigeria Labour Congress also embarked on nation wide warning strike over the non-implementation of the new national minimum wage by the federal government as promised by the President, Goodluck Jonathan during his campaign. On September, 2011 the NLC Ebonyi State Chapter also embarked on strike over the unwillingness of the state Government to pay workers the new national minimum wage as entrenched in the 2004 pension Reform Act. Each time strike occurs substantial man-hour is lost, a good example is the first general strike of (1945), the (1993) ASUU strike where universities in the country were closed for couple of months thereby causing set back in the tertiary institution and academic activities.
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, the two major umbrella bodies of workers union in Nigeria mobilized workers for an indefinite strike action which commenced on Monday, 9th January, 2012 to drive home the protest against the fuel subsidy removal of January 1st 2012. The government of Nigeria removed fuel subsidy by increasing the price of petrol per litre from N65 to N141 on January 1st 2012, This nationwide strike affected the country"s economy negatively where the volume of trading on the floor of the Nigeria Stock Exchange,( NSE) fell by 82 percent, local flights were grounded, and lifting of crude oil was hampered. The strike had a lot of effect on the major sector of the economy as activities of the (NSE) that are tracing slumped by 80%, while banks complied with the strike order and closed shop, the NSE opened for business as usual. But at close of trading, only 46.06 million shares were traded in 20 deals.
This is a significant reduction when compared with an average 262 million shares worth about N1.05 billion traded in 2,509 deals the previous week. The Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) has led a number of general strikes in the past to mention a few. In 2004, the Nigeria Labour Congress gave the Federal government an ultimatum to reverse the decision to introduce the controversial fuel tax or force a nation wide protest strike. The strike threat was made despite the fact that the Federal High Court judgment in an earlier dispute had declared the organization lacking legal power to call a general strike over government policies. It is in this context that the research wishes to access the impact of strike action on the achievement of Academic Staff Union of Universities' objectives in Ebonyi State University and how the conflict is managed to avert the negative effects on the academic activities of learning.
Industrial conflict has been a canker worm that has eaten deep into the marrow of Nigerian industrial and social development. It has been a dominant factor in the history of Nigeria labour relations. There have been so many cases of disputes or disagreements either between the employers and the employees or between the government and the civil servants. The disagreements usually result in strike, lockout, sabotage, output restriction, boycottism; etc. The effects of these industrial conflicts fall on the citizens who in one way or the other depend heavily on the services of the conflicting organizations. One would begin to ask question, why is it that Nigeria do experience constant industrial conflicts? It is either the Nigeria Labour Congress and other trade unions pursuing an increase in wage or the academic staff union of universities fighting over better working conditions etc.
Similarly, in 1994 during the regime of late Sani Abacha there was an industrial action embarked upon by ASUU in pursuit of better working conditions which lasted for over a session .The strike seriously affected the academic calendar of the university system and made the students victims of circumstance. Students were denied attentions for over a year. Also in 2002, the same event repeated itself. ASUU also embarked on a six-month strike action. In 2009 the same ASUU embarked on six months old industrial action which led to ASUU-FG 2009 agreement. Similarly, in 2010 the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the South Eastern Nigeria embarked on five months strike action over non implementation of ASUU-FG 2009 agreement. All these industrial actions adversely affected the academic performance of the students.
In addition to problems that strikes create there are also problems associated with the employer’s attitude to workers’ grievances. For instance, when an employer of labour marshals out certain conditions and describe them irrevocable and irreversible’ it means that a hard-liner attitude has been adopted and this is not good for dialogue which ought to be the spirit guiding labour management.
Again, there exist, a legal and institutional framework for collective bargaining as well as dispute settlement procedures. Some of these are hardly followed by some executives and sometimes even when dialogue is embarked upon and resolutions/ agreement are reached, these are often dishonored and the later situation further aggravates workers’ anger with the attendant implicating on both labour and the system in general. Egwu (2004) states that industrial conflict extended the number of years the students were expected to stay before graduating from the university. During periods of industrial unrest, most students would have engaged themselves in some anti social acts such as political thugery, armed robbery, drug trafficking, kidnapping, prostitution, etc. There are other attendant negative consequences of these strikes. All these call for serious concern. However, one would begin to ask why is industrial conflict a dominant factor in the Nigerian labour history especially in the university system? What could be the cause of the action, the effects as well as possible solution to the problem of industrial conflict in Nigeria and the university system? This study seeks to provide answer to the foregoing question and related issues.
For the purpose of this study, the following research questions guide the work. They include:
- What are the causes of industrial conflicts in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki?
- How were the disputes handled?
- What are the effects of industrial conflicts on the life of students and staff of Ebonyi State University, and the society at large?
The broad objectives of this study is to specifically analyze the dynamics of conflict and labour management in organizations (ASUU-EBSU)
This study shall be guided by the following / specific objectives:
- To determine the causes of industrial conflict in Ebonyi State University.
- To examine how the disputes that occurred particularly the ASUU strike were handled with view to determining their efficiency or otherwise.
- To ascertain the effects of industrial conflict on students and staff of EBSU and society at large.
For the purpose of this study, the work will be guided by the following hypotheses:
HA1: Poor human relations are the major causes of industrial dispute in Ebonyi State University
HO1: Poor human relations are not the major causes of industrial dispute in Ebonyi State University.
HA2: Methods adopted by Ebonyi State University management in handling conflicts, do not promote industrial harmony.
HO2: Methods adopted by Ebonyi State University management in handling conflicts promote industrial harmony.
HA3: There is significant relationship between ASUU strike and quality of Nigeria graduates.
HO3: There is no significant relationship between ASUU strike and quality of Nigeria graduates.
The study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, this study will be useful to both students and scholars who wish to advance their knowledge on the meaning causes, effects and possible alternatives conflict in higher institution of learning and Nigeria at large.
On the other hand, it also has a practical significance to the management of EBSU employees and the government, as it will help them improve their industrial relations, economic bargaining and collective understanding among them as actors in Industrial Relations. Significantly, it will also provide practicing industrial personnel managers with knowledge on the causes, effects and possible alternatives to industrial conflicts in Nigeria. Adding to the above, government will be in apposition to make better laws or legislation to guide the welfare of the workers (employees) as well as the employers.
Though Ebonyi State University as a study area covers a wide range of human learning, notwithstanding the above fact, this study is designed to cover such areas that could unveil the rationale behind the union threatening as well as carrying strike actions as a measure to achieve their aim as well as the resolutions by the concerned body to managing the conflicts imposed.
In the process of achieving the purpose of this research work, certain levels of constraints were experienced by the researcher, among which are as follows;
A high level of restriction placed on the easy access to certain relevant articles in the internet. Lack of required textbooks in some designated libraries in the school including the state library.
Inadequate fund a in purchasing/payment of necessary and relevant materials needed to put up this research work.
Logistic problems associated with distance between the researcher’s residence and the sources of relevant data.
Finally the problem of interruption of power supply during the course of this research work.
The researcher adopts conflict theory of Karl Marx (1818-1383) as the major theoretical frame work for this study. Conflict theory holds that conflict rather than consensus was ubiquitous, inevitable, and often present in every social system or organization. There are usually various classes of people who have diverse interests in mode of production or services, for stance, in Capitalist economy there are the boursicise and proletariat (the labourers or workers), the employers and employees, the rich and the poor. In feuded economy there are peasants and serfs etc. To Marx, the unequal distribution of material resources means that some interests would be exploited and marginalized while some would most favoured. This eventually leads to an unhealthy competition and subsequent antagonism and conflicts. Marx was deeply concerned in analyzing the capitalist mode of production which consist of two antagonistic groups or classes that is, the capitalist and the labourers, where the capitalists employ all available means or strategies to suppress, alienate and exploits their workers for profit maximization. The workers on the other hand, agitate for a wage increase and better working conditions. Because of the antagonistic relationship between the two parties, Marx expected that conflict would lead to a change in the mode of production. However, industrial conflicts in Nigeria can be explained using Karl Marx perspective. The capitalists who are the owners of production or the employer of labour often times apply several strategies to maximize profit with out considering the interest of the workers. The workers in order to protect their interest and to fight for better working conditions had to embark on industrial actions such as sabotage, output restriction, strike, boy cotton etc. This could be the reason why industrial conflicts has been a dominant factor in Nigerian labour history