1.1 Background to the Study
The structurally differentiated character of contemporary work-organizations, whether in the manufacturing or service industry inevitably generates conflicts of interest. These conflicts of interests arise in groups because of the scarcity of freedom, position and resources (Hotepo, Asokere, Abdul-Azeez&Ajemunigbohun,2010). Conflict among workers in an organization is inevitable. If it manages properly, it will bring catalyst for change and can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and performance of the organization. Conversely, unmanaged conflict negatively impacts both employee satisfaction and job performance. When organizational leaders ignore workplace conflict, they send a message that unsatisfactory job performance and inappropriate behavior are acceptable.
Conflict is thus endemic despite the best of management practices in organizations and manifests in various forms as an intrinsic and unavoidable feature of employment relationship. It is by nature an ever present process and more likely to occur in hierarchical organizations where people with divergent view, opinion and background interact. However, conflict in work-relations is not an aberration, since it creates or provides an opportunity for correction and reconciliation for the betterment of both the organization and the workers (Osad&Osas, 2013).According to Kazimoto (2013), conflict is described as the presence of discord that occurs when goals, interests or values of different individuals or groups are incompatible and frustrate each other’s’ attempt to achieve objectives in an organization. It is a communication process and an inevitable consequence of transactional relationship manifesting in disagreement and dissonance with and between individuals and groups in the work-environment.
In this context, conflict is a fact of life in any organization as long as people will compete for jobs, power, recognition and security (Adomie&Anie,2005). Therefore, the task of management is not to suppress or resolve all conflicts, but to manage them in order to enhance and not to detract from organizational performance. Awan and Anjum (2015) says that properly managed conflict promotes open communication, collaborative decision making, regular feedback, and timely resolution of conflict. Open communication and collaboration enhance the flow of new ideas and strengthen work relationship, which can have a positive effect on employee morale. Regular feedback and timely resolution of conflict has the potential of improving employee satisfaction and job performance.
Though, within any organization, there are usually different positions and jobs. People occupying these positions have different perceptions, goals, thought and concerns. It is difficult to conceptualize society or an organization without inherent differences and contradictions and these leads to conflict. In organization a serious problem can be conflicts that are very serious. This is the bad practice that will be impossible for the workers to at the same place for work. Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of people working together and should be kept at a manageable level where it will not disorganize the activities of the organization towards the attainment of its objectives (Awan&Anjum,2015).
With the permanent nature of conflict in work-relations, high performance organizations will be those that may constantly develop the appropriate methods of managing conflict to achieve set-standards and goals. As is now established, the Nigerian organizations have for a long time been concerned with the effect of conflict management on business performance in the country. However, empirical validation of findings across organizations is very limited at best. The available few studies within the country have concentrated mainly on manufacturing and construction industries. Empirical research efforts are still passive in focusing on the service organizations. As such, this present study is an attempt to redress the situation by providing valuable insights to management in the service organizations about the strategic importance of conflict management as a resource tool for optimizing business performance.