AN ASSESSMENT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE APPROACH ADOPTED FOR EFFECTIVE CONFLICTS MANAGEMENT BY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS
This study was carried out to assess the administrative approach adopted for effective conflicts management by school principals in public secondary schools with special reference to selected secondary schools in Oshodi Isolo, Lagos State. Specifically, the study identify the factors responsible for conflict in public secondary schools, examine the effects of conflicts which arises in public secondary schools and find out the strategies adopted by principals for effective conflict management in public secondary schools. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 77 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analyzed, the findings revealed that the factors responsible for conflict in public secondary schools is poor communication network, role conflict, overlapping authority and limited resources. The study also revealed that the effects of conflicts which arises in public secondary schools is decrease in productivity, insignificance feelings, frustration, and stress and sadness and resentment. Lastly, the study revealed that the strategies adopted by principals for effective conflict management in public secondary schools is to use a mediator if necessary, apologize when appropriate, come together and communicate and establish relationships. The study thereby recommend that principals should be conversant with various management strategies through the attendance of compulsory seminars and conferences so that they can use the most effective conflict resolution strategies for particular conflict situation. Also, principals should be conscious of their authority boundaries which should be spelt out by the ministry of education to avoid conflict by ensuring that they are always aware of rules governing their responsibilities and jurisdictional boundaries. Lastly, the study recommended that government should include conflict management as part of the curriculum of teachers training education.
Background of the study
The human society is fraught with occurrences, and it is inevitable that, in the course of these occurrences, human people will come into violent confrontation with one another. There is no way to avoid conflict in today's world, which has highly controlled organizations and economies. A formal educational organization, the school is made up of a variety of people with a wide range of interests, many of which are in direct opposition to the aims and objectives that have been established by the school or institution. The school, as a component of human society, is susceptible to the occurrence of conflict, which is a typical social phenomena. The principle serves as the chief executive officer of an educational institution in a secondary school setting. When carrying out their responsibilities, principals and other managers might find themselves putting themselves in the position of the people they oversee, which could result in conflict. Kenan (2013) explains that disagreements are inevitable in every organization because people have different points of view. Additionally, there are those individuals who are unable to tolerate the viewpoints of others, which results in conflict. According to Onwurah and Oboegbulem (2011), conflict is an inevitable part of everyday existence. They are unavoidable in any and all types of organizations, including educational institutions. They entail the participation of human individuals, each of whom has their own unique interests, goals, and ambitions. Therefore, conflict is an issue that affects society. According to Ughamadu (2008), conflict may be described as "disagreement over and issue, sometimes such disagreement may be, positive or negative regardless of how it is expressed." It is a common occurrence in human interactions, regardless of the context, whether it takes place in the home, in industry, on the national or worldwide level. This is because society or humanity has to dispute in order to agree. According to the concepts presented above, conflict is a natural part of human relationships; it has the potential to bring about either good or bad change, and as a result, the management of conflict is an important part of every relationship.
According to Obi (2012), conflict is both unavoidable and inherently present in all connections between departments. It is not necessary that a dysfunctional experience occurs whenever there is a conflict since conflicts often represent the variety and complexity of human civilizations. It is an inevitable social phenomena that has always been and will always be an essential component of the human experience. The concepts of war have been addressed in stages over the decades that have passed since then. Despite this, there are three primary schools of thought that have been digested and recognized for their respective analyses of the problem. They might be summarized as follows:1. The method that is considered to be classical or conventional. This perspective saw conflict to be something negative, unacceptable, damaging, and destructive, and as such, believed that it should be managed or eradicated as soon as possible. They believed that conflict was detrimental to organizations and that it should be avoided by all means possible in order to guarantee the continued existence of organizations and the successful completion of their goals. This includes making all effort possible in order to attain a goal. This might lead to the destruction of your colleague or the use of all means possible to silence them. The conventional way of thinking held that unity, coordination, and effectiveness were the three most important factors that contributed to the successful functioning of any organization. They emphasized the importance of employees maintaining a harmonious environment, cooperating with one another, being obedient, and working as diligently as possible. From the early 19th century through the late 1930s of the 20th century, this conception of conflict was the predominant school of thought in management. The behavioral approach acknowledged that conflict is inherent to every human organization, but that it is necessary to either settle the conflict or get rid of it when it becomes dysfunctional. The occurrence of conflict in any company, according to the assertions of this particular group, is evidence of inefficiency and failure on the side of the management. They are of the opinion that the most effective method for the management of conflict is to either settle or get rid of it as soon as it is discovered. In the 1940s, the conventional or classical method was gradually phased out and replaced with the behavioral approach. The modern and functionalist viewpoint views conflict as unavoidable and essential, and believes that it should be promoted for the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. According to Ademola (2000), the origins of conflict may be traced back to causes that are fundamental to the human condition: that the nature of humans is to be self-centered, individualistic, and inherently contentious; that governments will always seek their national interest, which they define as power; and that such interests will always come into conflict with the interests of others, resulting in the inevitable occurrence of conflict. According to the opinion of Obikeze (2012), conflict is something that is inherent to human existence and is a component of the typical day in the lives of human beings. It is in man; indeed, it was born together with man and continues to develop and exist with him.
According to this perspective, conflict is an inescapable aspect of human interaction. It is a natural occurrence that is familiar to human communities all throughout the world, and it is a phenomena that can neither be eradicated nor subdued. Onuselogu (2012). As a result, the management of conflict involves the stimulation of conflict in situations when the absence of conflict or the suppression of conflict may hinder the effectiveness, creativity, or innovation of an organization. This group holds the belief that conflict may have both positive and harmful effects, and as a result, the most effective method to deal with conflict is not to eradicate it but rather to manage it in order to maximize its potential benefits while mitigating its potential drawbacks.
Nevertheless, the preceding conversation brought up by the functionalists introduces the concept of conflict management in businesses via the use of management tactics. Since the school is a component of the aforementioned organization, it is the responsibility of the principal to effectively manage conflicts in the school when they occur by using a variety of management strategies to find solutions.
Since Governor Anayo Rochas Ethelbert Okorocha introduced free education programs in 2011, the educational system in Nigeria, and in particular in the state of Imo, is now experiencing a great deal of complexity. This is particularly true in the modern day. These challenges include an increase in the number of students enrolled in secondary schools, a teacher shortage, the evaluation of students via tests and exams, lack of discipline among students, students who are beyond the age limit, insufficient facilities, such as classroom blocks, chairs, chalk boards, inadequate budget, and a lack of advancement, among other challenges. The aforementioned remark is corroborated by the findings of Omoebe (2002), who indicated that there is the possibility for conflict in educational institutions such as schools, colleges, polytechnics, and universities, and that these conflicts arise in management situations due to a lack of incentives (conflict between workers and management). despite the fact that disagreements between students and school authorities are becoming more common. The growth may be traced back to the preceding four years in the state of Imo. In spite of the many challenges described above, schools are nonetheless held to the same standards of success as other organizations in the educational sector.
However, in order to successfully carry out their noble job and achieve a high level of education of a high quality, the principle, other school management, employees and students, and the whole community, both internal and external, should work together. It is not possible to work differently in the school system, and this includes the principals, teachers, and other non-teaching personnel as well as the pupils. Because the responsibilities or tasks of all of the entities stated above are connected to one another, it is impossible to avoid conflicts between them. According to Chukwu (2006), principals, school administrators, and managers should educate their minds on how to handle conflict and be able to manage disputes by recognizing the immediate and distant causes of such conflict. Chukwu adds that as conflict is an unavoidable occurrence in school organizations, principals, school administrators, and management should train their minds on how to handle it.
The idea is that principals of schools should be well informed, competent, and experienced. Additionally, they should be aware of the origins of conflict and its presence in the school, and they should seek for a source that can resolve such disputes. A disagreement that is not resolved will cause the system to become unstable. Discord and disdain for administrators and instructors on the part of pupils, as well as a bad working relationship between teachers and principals, are constant problems at this school. These circumstances have an impact on the teaching, learning, and overall moral atmosphere of the school.
In light of the information presented above, management strategies come into play as roles in which the use of techniques and skill should be applied by school management to handle conflicting ideas and opinions in order to restore normalcy among staff members and move the school forward, so as to achieve the target goals of the institution. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the strategies that principals of schools and other managers can use to handle conflicts between them and the teachers, other staff of the school, and students in such a way that conflicting issues will not mar or hinder achievement of goals regarding education in Nigeria and specifically in Lagos State.
Statement of the problem
One of the most significant institutions that make up human society is the educational system. Teaching and learning have been around since the beginning of civilisation. One of the types of organizations that include knowledgeable members is an educational institution like a school. This group of people carry out their varied responsibilities in order to fulfill the objectives that have been expressed or established. Therefore, there will inevitably be conflict inside such a structure. The tutorial staff (teaching staff) and non-tutorial personnel (non teaching staff), as well as students and members of the host community, all contribute to the institution that is the school. entangled with the educational institution. If the environment is not handled correctly, the unconducive climate that results from disagreement between members of the staff and the community will prevent the institution from fully realizing its philosophical ideals. There is an accusation that is widely circulated in our national dailies and periodicals regarding the problem of a low educational standard in our school system, as well as the case of students being involved in vices such as being late to school, skipping school, being disobedient to principals and teachers, engaging in prostitution, belonging to cults, refusing to do assignments, hanging around during school hours, fighting among students, and other similar behaviors.
More than that, various accusations and complaints have also been made about principals and teachers and their attitude to work. These accusations and complaints include the following areas of concern: tardiness to school, poor control of students, absenteeism, involvement in examination malpractice, leaving school before closing time, poor attendance to class, and engaging in one business or another during school hours. There have reportedly been open fights between administrators and their instructors, as well as fights between teachers and pupils and fights between teachers and kids.
As a result of the new USE policy of 9.3.4 system of education that was introduced by the federal government in 2004, there have been reports of serious disagreements between principals in some schools in the state of Imo over the past few years. These disagreements are thought to have arisen as a direct result of the division of schools into two sections, junior and senior secondary, with each section having its own principal. The disagreements that occurred in the educational institutions concerned issues such as the distribution of teaching positions, the distribution of teaching and learning materials, and the physical buildings. Some of the school's administrators attempted to partition the building into many sections by building walls and constructing multiple entrances. Because of the scenario, the atmosphere in the classroom was not favorable to teaching and learning, which in turn hindered the schools' ability to meet their objectives. The process of dealing with the aforementioned issues that come from the school, in order to prevent them from rising beyond control, requires school administrators to use a variety of conflict management tactics. This is done in order to limit the likelihood of the problems becoming unmanageable. Hence, the study assess the administrative approach adopted for effective conflicts management by school principals in public secondary schools
Objective of the study
The broad objective of the study is to assess the administrative approach adopted for effective conflicts management by school principals in public secondary schools. The specific objectives is as follows:
Identify the factors responsible for conflict in public secondary schools.
Examine the effects of conflicts which arises in public secondary schools.
Find out the strategies adopted by principals for effective conflict management in public secondary schools.
The following questions have been prepared for the study:
What are the factors responsible for conflict in public secondary schools?
What are the effects of conflicts which arises in public secondary schools?
What are the strategies adopted by principals for effective conflict management in public secondary schools.
1.5 Significance of the study
The outcomes of the research may be of great potentialities to school heads in understanding the issues they encounter in managing school disputes and how they might manage school conflicts. The findings might also assist educators better grasp the issues faced by school administrators in the area of conflict management. The results of the research may also be helpful to education officials at the district level in understanding the issues that school principals confront when it comes to handling disputes in the classroom. Second, the research may be valuable to those who create policy as it pertains to gaining a knowledge of the capabilities of school administrators in the area of conflict management in schools. The third benefit of this research is that it adds to the current body of information on the topic of disputes in educational settings. In conclusion, the research will provide a solid groundwork for future research in the subject of educational administration.
1.6 Scope of the study
The study will identify the factors responsible for conflict in public secondary schools. The study will also find out the effects of conflicts which arises in public secondary schools. Lastly, the study will examine the strategies adopted by principals for effective conflict management in public secondary schools. Hence, the study is delimited to Oshodi, Lagos State.
1.7 Limitations of the study
This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:
Financial constraint is inevitable considering the present economic situations. Due to lack of finance at the researchers disposal to get materials and in printing of questionnaires. it was not possible to visit some of the communities that have been plagued by bandit activities.
In developing countries like Nigeria, there is the problem of insufficient data.
Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher