This study is aimed at investigating the various
strategies adopted by principals of secondary schools in Imo State in handling
conflicts. Four research questions and three hypothesis guided the conduct of
the study. Questionnaire was used to collect relevant data from three
educational zones out of the six educational zones of the state. 720 teachers
were randomly selected. T-test statistics was employed to test each hypothesis
at 0.05 level of significance. The findings revealed that various levels of
conflicts exist in secondary schools. They include, intra-personal,
inter-personal, community related and inter-organizational conflicts. The most prevalent
level of conflict are intra-personal, inter-personal and
intra-unit/departmental. The study revealed that the conflict management
strategies that are regularly used by principals are dialogue, communication
and disciplinary committee. While those that are rarely used are avoidance and
third party. School location influences principals choice of management
strategies. On the other hand, gender has no significant difference in
principals choice of conflict management strategies. In view of this, it was
among others recommended that to reduce conflicts in schools, the ministry of
education and the secondary education Management Board could train school
principals in the acquisition and proper adoption of conflict management
strategies. The suggested training could take the form of conferences, seminars
and workshops on the subject matter from time to time.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page i
Approval Page ii
Table of Contents vi
List of Tables ix
Background to the Study 1
Statement of the
Purpose of the
Scope of the Study
Significant of the
TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Empirical Studies 56
Literature Review 65
CHAPTER THREE: METHOD
Design of the
Area of the Study 68
Population of the
Sampling Techniques 70
Data Collection 71
Validation of the
Reliability of the
Method of Data
Method of Data
FOUR: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
Summary of the
FIVE: DISCUSSION OF THE FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS
the Study 90
Limitations of the
Suggestion for Further
Table 1: Mean and Rank order of levels of conflict 74
Table 2: Mean and rank order of conflict management
Table 3: Mean and rank order of the influence of
school location 77
Table 4: Mean and rank order of conflict management
and female principals. 79
Table 5: T-test analysis of the response of
teachers on the levels of
that exist in secondary schools in Imo State. 81
Table 6: T-test of teacher's
response in the conflict management
strategies found among secondary
schools in urban and rural
areas in Imo State. 82
Table 7: T-test of teachers on conflict management
strategies of male
and female principals in
Imo state secondary schools. 82
Background to the Study
human society is full of events, on the course of these events among human
beings, conflict occurs. In the well managed organization and economics of the
world today, certainly conflict arises. The school is a formal, educational
organization made up of different person with diverse interest, many of which
conflict with the school or institutions set goals and objectives.
is a common social phenomenon which occurs in human society of which the school
is a part of. In a secondary school system, the principal is the head of the
institution. Principal and other managers while performing their duties may
find themselves stepping into the shoes of their subjects which lead to
conflict. Kenan (2013) conflicts are normal in any organization, because people
have different opinions, while some individuals cannot accept other peoples
different opinion which leads to conflict.
& Oboegbulem (2011) sees conflict as common occurrences in life. They are
inevitable in all organizations, educational institutions inclusive. They
involve human beings with varied interests, goal and aspirations. Conflict is
therefore a social problem. Ughamadu (2008) defined conflict as a
"disagreement over and issue, sometimes such disagreement may be, positive
or negative whichever way. Whether in the family, Industrial, national or
international setting, it is normal occurrence in human relations, because the
society or mankind needs to disagree in order to agree". Based on the fore
going definitions, that conflict is a normal occurrence in human relations, it
could breed positive or negative change and as such management of conflict
comes in to playa role.
(2012) viewed conflict as and inevitable and inherent in all inter department
relationships. Conflicts usually reflect the diversity and complexity of human
societies, and are not necessarily a dysfunctional experience. It is an
unavoidable social phenomenon which is an integral part of human existence.
Over the decades ago, the ideas of conflict have been discussed in phases.
However three fundamental theories have been digested and accepted for their
analysis on the issue. They represented as follow:-
1. The classical or traditional approach.
This approach viewed conflict as some thing bad, unacceptable, harmful, and
destructive and as such should be immediately handled or eliminated. They
regarded conflict as unhealthy to organizations and should be prevented by
every means to ensure the existence of the organizations and achievement of its
objectives. This involves struggling to achieve a goal at all cost. This can
lead to destroying or using every means to suppress your colleague. The
traditional approach believed that smooth operation of any organization must be
characterized by unity, coordination and efficiency. They stressed that
harmony; co-operation, obedience and hard work by workers are the virtues of
organizational life. This thought about conflict dominated the management
thinking in early 19th century to Late 1930 in the 20th century.
2. The behavioural approach appreciated that
conflict is present in all human organization but must be resolved or
eliminated mostly when it is dysfunctional. This group stated that presence of
conflict in any organization is a sign of ineffectiveness and failure on the
part of the management. They believe that the best approach to management of
conflict is to resolve or eliminate it as soon as it is noticed. The
behavioural approach replaced the traditional or classical approach in the
3. The contemporary/functionalist approach,
view conflict as inevitable and necessary and should be encouraged for
organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Ademola (2000), stated that
conflict has its roots in forces that are inherent in human nature: That human
nature is selfish, individualistic and naturally conflictive: That states, will
always pursue their national interest, define as power and that such interest
will come into conflict with those of others, leading to inevitability of
conflict. Obikeze (2012) opined that conflict is one thing that is natural to
human existence and form part of the daily life of human beings. It is in man,
it was born with man and grows and live with it.
approach sees conflict as an unavoidable phenomenon. It is a natural phenomenon
that is known to human societies allover the World, which can neither be
eliminated nor suppressed, Onuselogu (2012). Thus, the management of conflict
includes its stimulation where its absence or suppression may hamper the
organizations effectiveness, creativity or innovation. This group believes that
conflict could be advantageous and disadvantageous and as such, the best way to
handle conflict is not to eliminate it rather to manage and reap its advantages
and reduce its negative effect.
the above discussion by the functionalists brings in the idea of management of
conflict in organizations using management strategies. The school is part of
such organization, it is the duty of the school principal to adequately manage
conflict in schools when they arise using various management styles to handle
educational sector of today in Nigeria and in Imo State in particular, is
witnessing a lot of complexities since the introduction of free education
programmes by Governor Anayo Rochas Ethelbert Okorocha in 2011. Such
complexities include: population explosion of students in secondary schools,
shortage of teachers, assessment of students through test and examinations,
indiscipline, over aged students, inadequate facilities, such as classroom
block, seats, chalk boards, poor funding, lack of promotion etc. The above
by Omoebe (2002), when he stated there are conflict potentials in schools,
colleges, polytechnics and universities and these conflict occur in management
situation as lack of incentives, (conflict between employees and management).
While conflicts between school authority and students are in the increase. In
Imo States, the increase is since the past four years. Outside these numerous
problems mentioned above, school as an educational organization is still
expected to achieve stated goals.
the principal, other school managers, staff and students, and the entire
community, both intra and inter, should cooperate in other to carry out their
noble function so as to attain a high level qualitative education. In the school
system, principal's, teachers and other non teaching staff including the
students cannot work differently. The duties or functions of all mentioned
above are related to each other and such conflict cannot be eliminated among
them. Chukwu (2006) states that since conflict is an inevitable occurrence in
school organization, principals, school administrators and managers should
train their mind on how to handle it and be able to manage conflicts by
understanding the immediate and remote causes of such conflict.
point is that principals of schools should be well informed, qualified and
experienced, and should be aware of sources of conflict and its existence in
the school and look for a source of resolving such conflicts. Unresolved
conflict would lead to disruption of the system. Constant disharmony,
disrespect of the principals and teachers by students, as well that of teachers
to the principal's poor working relationship. These situation, affects
teaching, learning and moral tone of the school.
on the foregoing, management strategies comes into play role(s) 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 and
move the school forward, so as to achieve the target goals of the institution.
study therefore targets at finding out strategies that can be used by
principals of schools and other managers in handing 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 of Nigeria
education and of Imo State in particular.
of the Problem
is one of the important institutions in the human society. Teaching and
learning is as old as civilization. Educational institutions such as school are
one of the organizations that is made up of informed group.
group of persons perform their duties variously to achieve stated or defined
goals. Conflict therefore, is inevitable in such a system. The school is made
up of tutorial staff (teaching) and non tutorial (non teaching) staff,
students, even the host community is involved In conflict with the school. The
unconducive atmosphere of the environment arising from conflict among the members
of staff and the community affects the realization of the philosophical goals
of the institution if not well managed. There is a wide spread allegation in
our national dailies and periodicals on the issue of poor standard of education
in our school system, case of students involvement in vices such as lateness to
school, truancy, disobedient to principals and teachers, prostitution, cultism,
refusal to do assignments, loitering about during school hours, fighting among
various accusations and complaints have also been made about principals and
teachers and their attitude to work, such areas of complaints include:-
lateness to school, poor control of students, absenteeism, involvement in
examination malpractice, leaving school before closing time, poor attendance to
class and engaging into one business or the other during school hours. Reports
have also been made about open quarrels between principals and their teachers,
among teachers, students and teachers.
this past few years in Imo State, report of serious quarrel arose between
principals in some school as a result of division of schools into two sections
of junior and senior secondary, each having a principals arising from the new
USE policy of 9.3.4 system of education introduced by the federal government in
2004. In the schools, the quarrels were on sharing of teachers teaching in the
school, teaching and learning materials and the physical structures. Attempts
were made by some principals to divide the school into with walls and having
separate entrances. The situation made the teaching and learning environment
unconducive and as such marred the achievement of goals in such schools. The
process of dealing with the above mentioned problems that arises from the
school, so as to reduce them from escalating beyond management, school
principals therefore adopt various conflict management strategies.
the questions are: to what extent does conflict exist in secondary schools in
Imo State. To resolve any level of conflict, what strategies are employed by
the school managers.
do locating and gender affects conflict management strategies of principal in
Purpose of the Study
study targets to find out various strategies adopted by principals of secondary
schools as perceived by teachers in Imo State in the management of conflict in
their schools. The specific areas which this study is to embark upon is to:-
1. Identify levels of conflict that arises
in secondary schools in Imo State.
2. Find out the common management strategies
which principals of secondary schools apply in resolving conflicts in their
3. Determine the influence of school
location on principal's leadership style in managing conflict.
4. Find out how gender can affect principals
of the Study
scope of this research is limited to secondary schools in Imo State, the
eastern heart land of Nigeria. For effective management of schools by secondary
education management board in Imo State, the state is divided into six (6)
educational management zones namely: Owerri zone 1, Owerri zone 11, Orlu zone
1, Orlu zone 11, Okigwe zone 1, and Okigwe zone 11. The target of this study is
to find out the management strategies applied by principals of secondary
schools in resolving conflicts that arises on the course of managing their
of the Study
principals of schools in their day to day management of the schools encounter
numerous problems arising from conflict which if not resolved would endanger
achievement of set goals. This study, however, would be of immense benefit to:-
Heads of secondary schools in updating
their knowledge on factors causing conflict and also enable them deal with them
when they occur, so as to ensure a conducive teaching and learning environment.
They should ensure adequate motivation of staff; use democratic leadership
styles, inter group relationship and good channel of communication.
Principals of schools will appreciate that
the knowledge of immediate and remote causes of conflicts in schools and will
make them adopt appropriate management strategies in handling them.
Teachers who are potential school heads
will find this work good
For them in future. They will also use the
knowledge from this work in resolving conflict among students without
necessarily involving school head. Using the management strategies identified
here after studying the cause of the conflict would reduce conflict among
- Officials of ministry of educations,
secondary education management board, proprietors of private schools. They
would identify management flaws and effect necessary corrective measures in
- The general public, such as church
leader's managers and captains of industries including our political leaders
who encounter conflict in their day to day activities of their organizations.
They should appreciate conflicts as part of their organization and ensuring
they are dealt with whenever they arise using the management strategies that
are put in place here.
guide this study, the following research questions were formulated:
1. What levels of conflict exist in
secondary schools in Imo State?
2. What are the common conflict management
styles used by secondary school principals in Imo State?
3. To what extent do school location
influence principal's conflict management strategies in Imo State?
4. Would there be some differences in
conflict management strategies of male and female principals of secondary
schools in Imo State?
the purpose of this research, the following hypothesis were formulated:
1. There is no significant difference
between the levels of conflict found in the Imo State secondary schools.
2. There is no significant difference in the
types of conflict management strategies found among secondary schools in urban
and rural areas in Imo State.
3. There is no significant difference
between the rating of conflict management strategies of male and female
principals in Imo State.