Academy of Strategic Management Journal (Print ISSN: 1544-1458; Online ISSN: 1939-6104)

Research Article: 2021 Vol: 20 Issue: 2

Dominating Conflict Management Style and Quality of Work in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital

Adejayan Oreoluwa Yetunde, Covenant University

Ebe Igbinoba, Covenant University

Babafemi Adesina Adejumo, Covenant University

Abstract

This research examines the impact of dominating conflict management style on the quality of work in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). Descriptive research design is employed for the study. The population for the study comprises 561 staff from LASUTH and a sample size of 169 is obtained. Regression analysis is used to measure the relationship between the dominating conflict management style on the quality of work. SPSS is adopted for the research in testing the research hypothesis. The result from the findings show that there is a positive relationship between dominating style and quality of work (P=0.001). The research concludes that dominating conflict management style has a positive effect on the quality of work and that human relations theory should be imperative to managers so that they will be able to consider the issues of their workers’ wellbeing as well as how they perform in certain circumstances. The research also mentions that conflicts should be partly embraced since conflicts creates a positive drive for organizational performance dependent on how the conflict is managed. The research recommends that management should develop diverse but appropriate styles to manage conflicts as they arise before escalating to unmanageable level; management should be flexible in the adoption of styles of conflict management. The circumstances of each organization and the relationship subsisting between the parties must be allowed to determine the choice of conflict management style; conflict in whatever level should not be ignored but should be effectively managed for better quality of work and organizational performance and that workers at all levels should be trained and given the right behavioural orientation as to reduce the occurrence of conflict.

Keywords

Conflict, Conflict Management, Conflict Management Style, Dominating Style, Organization, Organizational Performance.

JEL Classification

M1, M2

Introduction

Conflict is an inevitable aspect of people’s daily lives and cannot be ignored among people (Awan et al., 2015). People, organizations, associations and governments have their specific goals, such that they aim in every way to accomplish these goals (Ojo & Abolade, 2019). According to, Ojo & Abolade (2019), as individuals communicate with one another in to accomplish their desired goals, relationships and expectations can be compromised and become unstable. Fortunately, conflict can have diverse aspects and can occur anywhere. Rahim (2010) indicated that conflict is unavoidable in the lives of individuals and can occur in companies, families, and educational institutions. Companies are susceptible to conflict among employees for several reasons which are different views, beliefs, and objectives (Rahim, 2010; Awan et al., 2015). However, conflict has drawn the attention of organizational theoreticians’ who have tried to examine the essence, causes, and implications of conflict (Brinkert, 2011; Okhakhu et al., 2014; Lazarus, 2014).

Managing conflicts hinge on the type of method that is best for the organization and has additional benefit to the organization in the future (Kohr et al., 1998). Managing conflict is likewise viewed as a broader notion that includes patterns in managing conflict, methods and aids in alleviating conflict in a work environment (Wanyonyi et al., 2015). Hence, in the quest to identify the pattern suitable for handling conflict, management ought to possess the appropriate type of abilities to cope with conflict that arise in organizations. The various styles of handling conflict according to Babara (2017) are dominating, compromising, integrating, avoiding and accommodating. Blake and Mouton (1964) formed a management network from where they advanced five conflict management styles (withdrawing, smoothing, force, problem-solving and compromise) (Busari, 2019). The liking for a particular or a different style, all hinges on some elements which are the type of conflicts, situation of the individuals involved and type of relationship (Wanyonyi et al., 2015). Nevertheless, organizations can utilize a specific style for handling conflicts that fits perfectly.

In older researches on the impact of various conflict management styles on job performance at the group level, academics revealed that a dominant conflict management style is nearly impossible to respond in appositive way to group operation and group efficiency (Pruitt & Carnivale, 2018). Outcomes from studies on organizations marked by an avoidant management conflict style have been ambiguous (Jaden, 2018). Consequently, since team members do not address disparities of views for fear of disturbing team unity, they likewise evade conversations necessary to create new insights and constructively provide strategies to crucial challenges (Pruitt & Carnivale, 2018). De Dreu & Van Vianen (2001) cited in Yang (2020) discovered that whenever there is an avoidance conflict management style, it improves the extent of both group operations and group efficiency. Unlike the dominant and avoidant conflict management styles, a collaborative conflict management style is constantly related with successful organizational performance and team success (Pruitt & Carnivale, 2018). Due to the dynamic work environment in Nigeria, any organization that wants to have an edge over its competitors must be ready to manage any conflict that arises in the organization (Adeniji et al., 2019).

McNamara (2016) opined that conflict is not the issue, but, ineffective management is the issue. Consequently, conflict management styles have emerged as a significant sub discipline of organizational behaviour (Ellegaard & Anderson, 2015). In the light of the above, this research aims to examine the impact of dominating style on quality of work in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.

Literature Review

Concept of Conflict

A vital job of managers is to produce an atmosphere in which persons and group of persons can work together to accomplish personal objectives and the objectives of the association (Busari, 2019). Nevertheless, recurrent issues in organizations is that persons and teams struggle for scarce resources, authority, prominence, etc. to the point that their struggle leads to interruption (or no improvement) of supportive activities (Ajike et al., 2015). These struggles (positive or negative) are in general denoted as conflicts. Yang (2020) described a conflict as a condition of severe disparity and dispute concerning a thing observed to be vital by one of the groups involved. Longe (2015) also described conflict as a disparity among two or more groups who observe that they have mismatched ideas. It occurs each and every time an activity by an individual is observed to be inhibiting or meddling.

Dominating Style

Dominating style is likewise classified as the win-lose scenario or equally identified as the competitive and compelling style (Longe, 2015). This is whereby one side must win and by all means one side must loose. It is also regarded as the behaviour that is confident and reliable. People who employ this style tend to achieve their personal goal with no regards for others (Ebeguki et al., 2019). In this method, the individuals behave assertively to accomplish objectives and do not work cooperatively with one another. Tetteh & Obuobisa-darko (2016), mentioned that in situations where the dominating style is utilized, the likelihood of the conflict occurring a second time is small but for a limited period. In this scenario, the individuals are mindful of the method utilized and are often employed in situations of urgency or when a prompt resolution needs to be taken in an organization (Mwangi & Ragui, 2013).

Dominating Style and Performance

In this style executives believe that organization’s objectives are more relevant than the needs of the workers. This hinders the performance of the workers and the overall organization’s productivity as executives control their workers. Hence, the style is considered to be partially efficient than necessary for the condition (Longe, 2015). Dominating style of conflict entails an individual winning and the other losing or referred to as a competition where an individual attempt to accomplish what they desire at the expense of the other individual (Simpao, 2013). Individuals tend to be forceful, attain their objectives with little or no cooperation from the other individual and have no interest in the other individual (Chan et al., 2014). This method is very efficient when salary, regulations and administrative decisions have to be established (Ibukun, 2019).

As shown by Shaheryar (2016), the style can sometimes hinder the interaction among the individuals concerned and may promote another form of conflict all together in the future thereby interpreting the style as unproductive. According to Longe (2015), this style has been found to be under-utilized in organizations, thus when utilized, can produce bad effects on the workers such as anxiety between each other and rivalry (Tahir et al., 2016). The method was seen to be frequently employed when conflict is viewed as a case of urgency (Tetteh & Obuobisa-darko, 2016). The method has also been discovered as unpleasant or less prone to be applied in an organization for the long-term drawbacks that may occur (Sink, 1991). Hence, dominating style is efficient and advantageous in the long run based on some researchers, but not acceptable and should be reduced by all means as it hinders good relationships among people (Shaheryar, 2016).

Cost of Conflict in the Organization

Unsettled conflict has several profound implications that involve high economic and human costs. Conflicts can breed anger, stress, low performance, not meeting targets, low self-esteem, lack of trust, communication issues, shortage of staff, and court actions (Buss, 2009). As seen by Levine (2003), costs of conflict include: Actual cost – salaries of different employee levels and other experts; production cost– worth of lost time/opportunity cost; stability cost – loss of continuing relationship; and emotional cost – the stress of being constrained by feelings. Omisore & Abiodun (2014) separated cost of conflict at workplace into three (3) types: cost to organizations, cost to employees/workers and cost to customers.

Cost of Conflict to the Organization

Mishandled conflict hinders workers’ physical and mental state, which in turn leads to shortage of staff. It is a routine sequence of unavailability from work or responsibility (Johns, 2017). A strong relationship exists between shortage of staff, work pressure and taking a pause from conflict with co-workers (CFLSRI, 2018). Conflict in the organization could likewise generate an inclination towards presenteeism. This means turning up when sick or sometimes not entirely prepared to work. Due to presenteeism employee performance decreases (Mohamed & Amir, 2017).

Cost of shortage of staff in organizations has been well studied, vocational medicine began to imply that work forfeited because of presenteeism is just the obvious tip of a problem and that the big downside of presenteeism may even be worse (Buss, 2009). Scholars, who analyzed exit interview information on spontaneous turn over, found out that unsettled conflict is a crucial matter in approximately 50% of all such exits and that, it costs approximately 150% of a competent staff’s income to substitute such as staff (Johns, 2017). While as shown by Mbithe (2013), conflict is the source of 90% intentional exits. The degree of fights by workers and hurt in an organization has a significant relationship with the degree of conflicts in the organization.

Cost of Conflict to Employees

Mishandled and unaddressed conflicts create tension, decreases trust levels, renders workers nervous, and dissatisfied (Forte, 2017). All of these contribute to less work fulfilment, shame, discomfort, and stress; which causes psychological and physical disorders (Slobada, 2019). The outcomes of such a situation affect worker’s family and acquaintance too (Mbithe, 2013). Workers engaged in conflict, encounter a gap in their relationships, and sometimes feel disconnected from one another, becoming withdrawn. They take up avoiding actions and may hurt one another in different manners. Increased conflict drives people to avoid connection, stop interactions, hold back facts or give incorrect facts (Adilo, 2019; & CFLSRI, 2018). Presenteeism often affects workers adversely as this can damage worker’s wellbeing, the performance of workers, and create a sense of worthless feeling in the workplace (Buss, 2009).

Thomas-Kilmann’s Conflict Mode Instrument

This conflict mode instrument was proposed by Thomas and Kilmann in 1976 and was intended to help comprehend the different behavioural patterns of people in conflict scenarios. According to them the model presents two (2) viewpoints on conflict which are assertiveness (satisfying individual needs) and cooperativeness (cooperating with others in the organization) (Tjosvold & Sun, 2012). The model takes a look at the five (5) main methods of conflict management which are integrating, dominating, accommodating, compromising and avoiding as well as how the two viewpoints are related as presented in the Figure 1 below.

Figure 1 Thomas and Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument

The Figure 1 above is a diagrammatic illustration of the five (5) methods of conflict resolution as discussed earlier and how being assertive and cooperative are related when handling disputes in the organizational setting (Riaz, 2010). For example, it is notably stated that dominating method is assertive and uncooperative whereas accommodating method is unassertive and cooperative. Furthermore, avoiding method is uncooperative and unassertive, compromising method is partly assertive and cooperative while the integrating method is assertive and cooperative (Thomas & Kilmann, 1976). Kaimenyi (2014) concluded that the model portrays individual performance in a conflict situation based on how assertive and cooperative employees are when utilizing the different methods.

Organization Performance Measurement

Performance has also had a strong impact on organizational behaviour (Mohamed & Amir, 2017). One of such outcomes of impact is the growth in the quantity and wide range of policies and techniques to correctly evaluate the performance and progressively introduce a significant area of study for both organizations and researcher (Peterson et al., 2016). The past decades, in essence, have brought about performance measurement (PM) winning the attention of academic researchers in an ever-increasing amount of areas of study (Folan et al., 2017). Neely (2019), claimed that during the two years between 2014 and 2016, the amount of written journal papers on PM added up to approximately 3,615, which, in the long run, culminated in the publication of one related article on the subject every month in the US alone in 2016. Several authors’ efforts, such as Riaz, (2010) in several operational areas, have contributed a large range of diverse knowledge on PM, which has added to the discipline being identified as a crucial aspect of the production strategy research. Yet, PM does not actually apply to any particular field or researchers. This aspect of PM has made scholars from different experiences and fields unwilling to remove and extend the historically defined operational constraints in their findings on the concept (Neely, 2019).

Given the prominence of the subject of PM and its broad reputation among so many noteworthy authors and practitioners, a few have tried to explain it in practical application (Neely et al., 2005). A good number of scholars described PM as the method of performance appraisal in relation to stated objectives (Rose, 2015), in form of small, medium, and long-term goals and disclosing the results to managers along with efficiency and effectiveness (Neely, 2019). According to Gunasekaran et al. (2016) PM involves the method of translating the complexity of performance into a sequential order of minimal messages that can be interpreted and replicated under given situations.

Out of the previous descriptions and those presented by several scholars can be inferred that performance measurement is a profound terminology that identifies the present and projected level of performance (Neely et al., 2005). Performance measurement ensures constant progress towards the set objectives and recognition of the unproductivity and deficiencies (Rose, 2015). Briefly, it can be argued that PM is a positive and gradual step towards achieving the established goals. Moreover, assessment of PM is not just on the previous accomplishment, but further focuses on the recognition of mutual expectations ensuring a productive and successful performance in the long run (Gunasekaran et al., 2016).

Performance measurement is often classified as a parameter used to evaluate efficiency. Hence, it can be considered as an analysis technique which reports samples, display results, and examines corresponding activities in the PM procedure (Rose, 2015). Generally, Riaz &Junaid (2011) analyzed that parameters of performance are broken down into four groups, i.e., monetary; non-monetary; measurable like consistency and unmeasurable like perception (Gunasekaran et al., 2016). Generally, the focus of monetary performance indicators is on the resultant effect on operational functions and monetary metrics, like distribution (Rose, 2015). Non-monetary performance indicators, similarly, have their focus specifically on actual manufacturing operations, like error schedule, revenue growth, and inventory levels (Polakoff, 2017)

Sink (1991) claimed that evaluation was complicated, stressful, demanding, significant, abused and mismanaged, and as Lebas (2015) put it, “if it cannot be measured, it cannot be managed”. In the 1980s, when empirical research on PM began to emerge, it has continued develop and increase. In the contemporary setting, activities of small enterprises were easy and most importantly PM concentrated on working capital. Due to the increase of the number of companies in the course of the globalized era, the measurements of performance were widely applied in different production stages (Gunasekaran et al., 2016). From the late 19th era to the 1930s, both empirical and conceptual managerial auditing techniques were developed and generally adopted (Thompson, 2018). Later, modern managerial auditing was incorporated as part of PM for retail activities and their production facilities. While studies on PM evolved and extended further, several researchers, such as Cook, (2015) moved their attention on the PM of the total strategic plan (generally product and department level) and sought to examine the expectations, requirements, and metrics of performance.

A lot of rapid and profound adjustments have taken place in the business environment in the last few years with regards to the incorporation of nationwide and global rewards, changing organizational responsibilities, work professionalism, extrinsic expectations, intensified competitiveness and sophisticated technology (Ojo & Abolade, 2019). Such developments have led to organizations experiencing intense rivalry as a result of the developments in service quality, improvement of versatility and consistency, the increase of product diversity, and focus on creativity (Neely et al., 2005). The main economic qualities for firm’s performance are addressed instead of just income statements (Riaz & Junaid, 2011). Considering the current problems and adjustments going on in the organizational environment, executives are expected to decide on suitable PM approaches if progress or growth is expected. For this study performance was measured based on Trade’s (2020) quality of work category which is the extent to which a product or service satisfies customer’s needs and demands (Neely, 2019). Conflict not properly handled can hinder an organization from accomplishing its objectives, and breach on the quality of service it provides. For example, a survey of multinational workers Hansen (2015) showed that customer service quality was enhanced when the interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts of the customer service officers was properly handled. This in turn had a great impact on their morale and success. Phillip Crosby described quality as compliance to demands while using a standard system to avoid flaws as well as assessing quality of non-compliance and embracing zero flaws as the standard (Waggoner & Neely, 2019). Quality improvement is a method that companies embrace with the aim of developing quality performance (Waggoner & Neely, 2019).

Roles of Performance Measurement in Organizations

Managers can barely function without PM (Lebas, 2015). Furthermore, an impaired method of measuring can become a key element that adds to the hindrance of the growth of an organization (Mohamed & Amir, 2017). Conversely, a well-structured performance appraisal method is an important and basic determinant adding to the improvement of efficient forecasting and monitoring of the organization. In reality, it can be argued that PM enables corporate managers to succeed by improving commitment, measuring productivity, improving information sharing, and diagnosing problems (Waggoner & Neely, 2019). In addition, PM can present an excellent method to analyse and determine the strategic plan, while also allowing for a clear understanding of productive and existing factors that impact the development of a firm (Okwir et al., 2018).

The conflict mode instrument is important for this research because for conflicts to be resolved, executives have to know the conflict management style to employ (Corn, 2013). This will enable them to establish the style that fits the organization contingent on the employees’ behaviour of being assertive and cooperative that will eventually produce positive outcomes (Enock et al., 2013). The management can also choose from the different conflict management styles contingent on which will fit the organization and how it will impact on the workers’ productivity (Mbithe, 2013). Furthermore, the management should try as much as possible to identify the conflicts and determine how the workers will handle them as well as educating them on the different styles on how to alleviate conflicts. Iravo (2012) mentioned that a workplace filled with trust, reverence and free from conflicts will cause workers to be committed and motivated leading to high productivity.

H01 Dominating style does not have a significant effect on quality of work

Materials and Methods

Research Methods

This study adopted the quantitative method because data was gotten through the administering of questionnaire to the participants.

Population Determination

The target population is the population (Table 1) where statistics will be collected from and the research concentrated on Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja. The population of the study included of 561 workers in total from the hospital largely of the doctors, nurses and clinical officers. The population was gotten from the human resource department of LASUTH.

Table 1 Summary of the Target Population
Designation Target population Percentage (%)
Doctors 86 15.3
Nurses 410 73.1
Clinical officers 65 11.6
Total 561 100

Research Design

The study utilized the descriptive research design for obtaining data from the participants on the impact of conflict management styles on organizational performance in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. The descriptive research design defines the different components of the groups and results on who, what, where, when and how the study is really about. It also evaluates the abilities of the specified population’s actions and attitude towards the study thereby minimizing errors on the data obtained.

Sources of Data Collection

Data on the independent and dependent parameters was obtained from the respondents with a well-designed questionnaire distributed and the aid of qualified research assistants. The primary and secondary sources of data was employed in conducting this research. The primary source of data involved administering questionnaires which was used in obtaining the views and opinions of respondents while the secondary source was gotten from journal articles, text books, seminar papers, conference papers, unpublished research works and hospital archives.

Method of Data Analysis

Data analysis was done using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The statistical tools used to analyse data included descriptive analysis using frequency tables and percentages. Also, simple regression technique in line with the research hypotheses was used to determine the extent of the impact of the independent variables on the dependent variables.

Results and Discussion

Test of Hypothesis

H01 Dominating style does not have a significant effect on quality of work

Decision rule

When (R) is between 0.0 and 0.20 is very weak; 0.20 to 0.40 is weak; 0.40 to 0.60 is moderate; 0.60 and 0.80 is strong; and greater than 0.80 is very strong.

Interpretation of result

Table 2 shows that (R) in the model summary table has a0 .250 relationship of dominating style on quality of work which shows a weak relationship. The table presents the results that revealed the extent to which the variance of the dependent variable (quality of work) is explained by the independent variable (dominating style). This is denoted by R square which equals .062 and expressed in percentage as 6.2%. This shows that dominating style only accounts for 6.2% of the variance in quality of work. Hence, other factors not included in the model explains 93.8% (i.e., 100%-6.2%) of the variance in quality of work. The standard error estimate is .68437 which signifies error term.

Table 2 Model Summaryb of Dominating Style and Quality of Work
Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Standard error of the estimate
1 0.250a 0.062 0.056 0.68437
a. Predictors: (Constant), Dominating Style
b.Dependent Variable: Quality of Work

Decision

Dominating style has a weak effect on quality of work

Decision rule

Null hypothesis should be rejected when the significant value is below 0.05. Null hypothesis should be accepted when the significant value is greater than 0.05.

Interpretation of result

The ANOVA Table 3 shows that the F value is 10.449 at 0.001b level of significance. The inference is that dominating style has a significant effect on quality of work.

Table 3 Anovaa of Dominating Style and Quality of Work
Model 1   Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig
b
Regression 4.894 1 4.894 10.449 0.001
Residual 73.534 157 0.468    
Total 78.428 158      
a. Dependent Variable: Quality of Work
b. Predictors: (Constant), Dominating Style

Decision

The Null hypothesis is therefore rejected because the significant value is below 0.05. Therefore, there is a significant impact of dominating style on quality of work.

Interpretation of result

The constant B=2.547 is the intercept in the regression equation. This denotes that when dominating style is at point 0, quality of work is 2.547. B value for dominating style is 0.222 which is the slope of the regression equation; each unit increase in dominating style will lead to a 0.222 increase in quality of work. The Table 4 above indicates that dominating style has an influence on quality of work and their level of significance. (β=0.250; t=3.232; p<0.05).

Table 4 Coefficientsa of Dominating Style and Quality of Work
Model 1   Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Beta T Sig
B Std Error
(Constant) 2.547 0.226   11.251 0.000
Dominating Style 0.222 0.069 0.250 3.232 0.001
a.     Dependent Variable: Quality of Work

Decision

Since the significant level of the model is less than 0.05, the null hypothesis should be rejected. It can therefore be concluded that dominating style has an effect on quality of work. Extant literatures established that dominating style is classified as the win-lose scenario or as a competitive style. Tetteh & Obuobisa-darko, (2016) mentioned that in situations where the dominating style is utilized, the likelihood of the conflict occurring a second time is small but for a limited period. It was also discovered that in this style executives believe that organization’s objectives are more relevant than the needs of the workers. Longe (2015) discovered that dominating style of conflict entails an individual winning and the other losing or where an individual attempt to accomplish what they desire at the expense of the other individual. It was also discovered that this method is very efficient when salary, regulations and administrative decisions have to be established.

However, dominating style from the analysis was discovered to have a positive effect on quality of work carried out by employees in LASUTH with a P-value of 0.001. Therefore, the dominating conflict management style was considered to be useful in handling certain conflicts in LASUTH. Francis (2018) did a research on conflict management styles and discovered that dominating style was greatly preferred by the employees because of the advantage it had. Ndulue & Ekechukwu (2016) in a research also discovered that managers preferred dominating style of conflict management because it helps to improve the performance of employees.

Conclusion

This study examined the effect of dominating conflict management style on quality of work in LASUTH. The findings showed that dominating style had a significant positive effect on quality of work. Therefore, dominating style have been found to be more appropriate in handling conflicts in LASUTH. The research has been able to add significantly to existing literatures by establishing that dominating conflict management style has a positive effect on quality of work. The research also concluded that the human relations theory should be imperative to managers and their functions in that; managers have to consider issues of their workers’ wellbeing as well as how they perform in certain circumstances. The theory also revealed that conflicts should be partly embraced since conflicts create a positive drive for organizational performance dependent on how the conflict is managed.

Recommendation

Based on the findings of this study, the following are the recommendations

1. Management should develop diverse but appropriate styles to manage conflicts as they arise before escalating to unmanageable level.

2. Management must be flexible in the adoption of styles of conflict management. The circumstances of each organization and the relationship subsisting between the parties must be allowed to determine the choice of conflict management style.

3. Conflict preclusion structures should be put in place to address issues that can produce conflicts before they break open.

4. Conflict in whatever level should not be ignored but should be effectively managed for better organizational performance.

5. Workers at all levels should be trained and given the right behavioural orientation as to reduce the occurrence of conflict.

6. There is a need for training and retraining of leaders on how to effectively manage conflict to enhance organizational performance.

7. Managers should encourage and promote interpersonal relationships among co-workers to improve on their morale.

Acknowledgemnts

The authors appreciate the management of Covenant University for funding this research.

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