Influence of conflict at the workplace in the management of an organization: a case of the department of Immigration, Kenya
Conflict in the workplace is a universal phenomenon. It is documented that the main causes of conflict at the workplace are; personality differences, sharing of resources in the organization, unclear lines of responsibility and communication barriers among other factors. However, previous studies on the topic of conflict in the workplace have shown that conflict is more common in the public sector than in the private sector. The purpose of this study therefore was to establish the influence of conflict at the workplace in the management of an organization. This study is important because it is likely to make the department of immigration formulate practical and realistic policies that will ensure that conflict at the workplace is well managed and organization performance is always at its optimum. The objectives of this study were to determine how personality differences as a source of conflict affects the management of an organization; to assess how unclear lines of responsibility in an organization as a source of conflict affect the management of an organization; to explore the extent to which sharing of resources within the organization leads to conflict and how it affects the management of an organization; to examine how task interdependence leads to conflict at the workplace and its influence on management of an organization and to identify how communication barriers as a source of conflict at the workplace influences the management of an organization. This study targeted the whole of the Immigration department. The study population was derived from immigration officers. Descriptive research was employed with a questionnaire as the main tool of data collection. The research was essentially qualitative and the researcher administered questionnaires and conducted interviews. Data collected was coded for confidentiality and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and the findings were presented in tables using percentages and frequencies. Among the findings of this study were; that selfishness and irresponsibility are the major personality traits that cause conflict in the department, unclear lines of responsibility were a major cause of conflict among officers of the same cadre and office space, equipment and stationery were the resources that were shared most among officers in most of the stations. Conclusions drawn from this study indicate that it is important for the management to put mechanisms in place that ensure conflicts resulting from resource sharing are put at the minimum level possible while policies and procedures outlined should be effective enough and avoid creating room for apathy and lethargy or no impetus for change and innovation. Since task interdependence and communication barriers are major sources of employee conflict in the department of immigration, such conflicts were also shown to affect the management. It is therefore important fot the management to set up policies that guide employee performance. Use of integrators to liaise with different groups in an organization is necessary as it helps foster understanding. Availing required resources to reduce resource conflict that comes as a result of resource sharing and interrogative negotiation when unclear lines of responsibility exist are amongst the ways utilized by the management to curb conflict. Suggested areas of further study were on various ways through which managers use to resolve conflict and still maintain employee loyalty and also the impact gender issues have in conflict resolution. In some organizations, where there is unequal representation of men and women, it would be important to evaluate the impact of the misrepresentation of either men or women and the effect it has.