WHAT IS CONFLICT MANAGEMENT?
The word ‘conflict’ refers to some form of friction, disagreement, or discord arising within person (i.e. Inter-personal conflict), two or more people (i.e. Interpersonal conflict), individuals in a group (i.e. Intra-group conflict), groups such as clubs, class versus class, family versus family etc. (i.e. Inter-group conflict), nations, involving the different groups (i.e. Intra-national conflict), and nations such as Nigeria and Cameroon Republic issue over the Bakassi Peninsula (i.e. International conflict) when the beliefs or actions of oneself, one or more members in a group are either resisted by or unacceptable to oneself, one or more members in another group. This usually brings to mind pictures of fighting, quarrelling, war, crisis, aggression, anarchy etc.
CONFLICTS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
CONFLICT BETWEEN SARAH AND HAGAR (GENESIS 16:1-9)
The cause of this conflict is the barrenness of Sarah at that time. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, had bore him no children so she gave her Egyptian maidservant named Hagar to her husband to sleep with her in other for her to build a family through her. Abraham slept with Hagar and she became pregnant; when she knew she was pregnant she began to despise her mistress. After which her mistress Sarah ill-treated her and she fled from her. The resolution of this conflict was observed when the angel of the Lord told Hagar to go back to her mistress and submit to her and Hagar did.
DESIRE TO KILL GIDEON (JUDGES 6: 28-32)
The demolition of the altar of Baal by Gideon caused this conflict. ‘’in the morning when the men of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar demolished, with the Asherah Pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!’’ (Vs.28, NIV). Consequently, the men of the town demanded that Gideon’s father, Joash bring him to be killed (Vs. 30). This conflict was resolved when Joash (Gideon’s father) asked Baal to fight for himself, but could not. ‘’But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, ‘Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks his altar’’ (Vs. 31).
CONFLICT BETWEEN JOSEPH AND PORTIPHAR’S WIFE (GENESIS 39)
This conflict occurred when Portiphar’s wife took notice of Joseph as a well built and handsome man and she said come to bed with me, she said this to Joseph day after day, but Joseph refused to go to bed with her. One day, Joseph went into the house to attend to his duties and none of the household servants was inside. She caught Joseph by his cloak and said come to bed with me but Joseph left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. This conflict was resolved when Joseph finally left the house of Portiphar and vindicated by God.
CONFLICTS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
CONFLICT BETWEEN PHILEMON AND ONESIMUS (PHILEMON 1:1-25)
The cause of this conflict was Onesimus, who robbed Philemon his master and ran away to Rome. The resolution of this conflict is that Philimon, the slave owner was a Christian and a friend to Apostle Paul living in Colosse. The conflict resolution was that Paul wrote a letter to Philemon encouraging him to forgive Onesimus the run-away slave and treat him like he would treat Paul himself. And Onesimus went back to Colosse in company with Tychicus the bearer of the letter, and Philemon did as Paul wrote to him.
CONFLICT BETWEEN JOSEPH AND MARY (MARY’S PREGNANCY) (MATTHEW 1: 18-25)
This conflict was as a result of Mary’s pregnancy when Joseph had not had sexual intercourse with her; Joseph intended to put her away quietly. The conflict was resolved when the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph telling him that the pregnancy was from the Holy Spirit, and the son to be born shall be called Jesus, who will save the world from their sins, hence he should take Mary as his wife. Joseph did as the Holy Spirit commanded when he woke up from the dream.
CONFLICT OF THE STORM BETWEEN JESUS CHRIST AND HIS DISCIPLES (MARK 4: 35-41)
This conflict was caused as a result of a furious squall that came up, and wave broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped, and Jesus was asleep. This conflict was resolved when the disciples of Jesus woke him, He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘’Quiet be still’’. After which the wind stopped and it was completely
CHURCH CONFLICT, ITS CAUSES AND RESOLUTION
This refers to conflict within the church which may occur between the priest and the Parochial Church Council (PCC) members. It can be as a result of misunderstanding after a harvest thanksgiving for instance. Usually some members of the PPC form the sub-committee that worked with the harvest committee members who were involved in the planning and preparation of the harvest. By implication, if a conflict arises over thanksgiving items between the priest and PCC, then the harvest planning committee members would be involved.
Some of the things that can cause conflict over thanksgiving are: food items; harvest proceeds or products; money realized and the plan over it.
- Food Items: Food can be a source of conflict between the priest and the PCC, for instance, if both have agreed to cook food or not to cook, then peradventure, the harvest planning committee now met with the priest or the PCC on behalf of the priest to do otherwise, then it would result to conflict between them. In resolving such conflict, the harvest planning committee will be actively involved to explain the need or reason for the changes to either cook or not to cook, after which they come to mutual understanding. In all, there should not be communication gap, and there should be honesty among all that is involved.
- Harvest Proceeds/ Products: In most cases, the harvest proceeds or products brings conflict due to the sharing ratio. The people involved may favor some set of people, which may be seen as cheating and conflict may arise. In resolving such, proper arrangement should be made on time concerning the sharing ratio for the harvest proceeds or products by the priest or those involved in the sharing.
- Money Realized and The Plan over It: When this is not properly managed, it may result to quarrel, fight, crisis or conflict. When proper arrangement is put in place for how the money will be used, the priest or the PCC should not change the agreement without a genuine reason because this change may cause conflict. If a conflict arises, the priest would call everyone in the committee to explain the reasons for such changes. For example, if the initial plan was to use the money to buy a bus but the change is now to building of which is a genuine reason, the conflict will be resolved.
CAUSES OF CONFLICTS
- Misunderstanding: Conflict do arise from misunderstanding about: the nature, aims and objectives of a job; differing expectations about how things should be done; work conditions and wages; the different responsibilities of management and employees; difference in values, beliefs, needs and priorities.
- Poor Communication: Communication relies on clear and complete massages being sent as well as being received. Conflict may arise from poor communication from staff to clients, from children to husband through his wife. It is vital that house rules are written down to avoid variation in interpretation.
- Poor Staff Selection: Inappropriate selection of staff can result in ill-feeling and conflict. Feelings of ill-will may be increased by dismissing staff members. Poor staff selection can also result to conflict if they cannot be minimized with good staff selection procedures. Not considering existing staff views when approaching staff selection will also cause conflict in a workplace.
- Frustration, Stress and Burnout: When people become frustrated or stressed, they are more irritable and more likely to create conflicts. So, it is impossible to recognize the signs of stress in people’s work situations in order to prevent burnout. Frustration, stress, and burnout could result into conflict due to the following factors such as: violence or actual violence; overcrowding or lack of privacy; verbal abuse; dirty or untidy work space; noise; harassment; continual cries; lack of ability to influence the working environment; tension between staff members; lack of direction from management; criticism and lack of support; poor communication etc.
- Lack of information: Conflict can arise when one party lacks proper/important information, when employees are continually experiencing change that they were not informed about, or if there are decisions being made that the staff feels it should be involved in such, can bring about conflict between employees and managers.
- Land dispute: Land dispute generates a lot of conflict across the country. The community of Aguleri and Umeleri in Anambra state and the Brass and Numbe community of Bayelsa and Rivers state are typical examples of conflict emanating from prolonged boundary dispute between these neighbors.
- Personal relationship: A work environment can be a stressful place and it can be worse when personal difference begins to develop between employers. Of the major causes of workplace can be particular counterproductive, because problem may be generated both at home and in the office. Some employees bring stress from their home to work and this can cause conflict among co-workers and managers.
- Lack of resources: Lack of necessary resources can cause conflict among employees and between management. If employees feel there is a lack of resources needed to do their job, competition will arise among employees for the availability of resources. The employees who are unable to obtain what they need to perform their duties will begin to blame management for that lack of recourses.
BENEFITS OF CONFLICTS
- Conflict helps to effect necessary change: When there is conflict, the people learn to do things in a new way; they no longer do things the same old way they have been doing them. There deliberate and necessary changes in their character, attitude and way of thinking so as to avoid whatever leads to conflict and avoid re-occurrence.
- It helps to generate new ideas: When there is conflict new ideas are generated in order for things to work well. For example, a company that is not making progress, the management of the company must seek new ideas from the staff in order for the company to progress, sometimes, it can even make them to employ new personnel that can bring this ideas. When conflict arises, people generate new ideas of doing things, by implication, their way of thinking changes and improved.
- It tests existing and noble ideas: When there is conflict, ideas that have been existing before the conflict are tested to see if they still fit in the post- conflict era, and if they can still work with them. If they are tested and found noble, they continue with them but if the reverse is the case, they are dropped.
- It checks the boundaries between noble and ignoble: When there is conflict, the people check themselves to know what is true and what is not true; what can and cannot be done; this will help to know who is saying the truth and who is lying. For example, in a conflict between two communities, some people will say, we cannot win the case because what we are fighting for does not belong to us; it is not a just fight, and this is the truth hence the impossibility of winning the case, but others may sat it is possible when they know still that it is not a just fight, and also know they cannot win the case. The conflict between this two groups will help the people to check whether what one of the group is saying is true or not true, possible or impossible
- It reveals and exercises fear: Conflict brings about fear because it is a period where there is the experience of killings, destruction of properties etc. for example, the conflict between Ewhe and Igbide communities say a lot of destruction of lives and properties; created fear in the minds of the people living in both communities; there will also be fear to go to the farm or even travel along the Ewhe-Igbide road, because one of these communities may strike back. They were very alert; fighting mode always active, ready to kill and destroy. It is worthy to note that the two communities sited above share boundary with each other, in other words, they are neighbors.
- It tests group cohesion and understanding: The presence of conflict within a group helps to ascertain if the group is working together or not; if they really are working together, and have great understanding of each other, when ever conflict arise, which is inevitable, it is resolves but when there is no group cohesion and understanding, people will break away from the group. When there is group cohesion and understanding, people will stick together with a common understanding to resolve the conflict and make sure things become normal again.