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European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007                                                 ISSN(paper)2668-33...
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007                                                ISSN(paper)2668-331...
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007                                                   ISSN(paper)2668-...
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007                                                         ISSN(paper...
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007                                                         ISSN(paper...
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007                                                ISSN(paper)2668-331...
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007                                                ISSN(paper)2668-331...
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007                                              ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ...
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Educational qualification as secondary school principals’

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Educational qualification as secondary school principals’

  1. 1. European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org Educational Qualification as Secondary School Principals’ Demographic Variable In Choice Of Conflict Resolution Options Mohammed Hossein King Saud University, Saudi ArabiaABSTRACTThe study was aimed at finding out what options principals would wish to adopt against thebackground of their educational qualification as a demographic variable. One research question andone research hypothesis were formulated. This involved studying the entire population of 260 publicsecondary school principals at an alpha level of 0.05 for the research hypotheses. The reliability of theinstrument ranged between 0.50 and 0.88 in Cronbach alpha. The findings of the study revealed thatthere was no significant influence of principals’ educational qualification (as a demographic variable)on principals’ conflict resolution options (in different settings). Of the five conflict resolution options,there was a wide use of the compromise and collaboration options by principals. It was concluded thatprincipals were handling conflicts in their schools with the use of compromise and collaborationoptions. This was interpreted as the principals resolving conflicts competently. Recommendationswere made including the fact that, irrespective of educational qualification, school principals should beencouraged to see conflict as a natural phenomenon in the school environment which requirescollaborative management.INTRODUCTIONConflict is bound to occur whenever two or more persons are involved in the workings of a formalorganisation, such as the public secondary school system in Cross River State. Conflict is evident in aschool when opposing ideas, opinions, feelings or wishes become observable. This conflictingatmosphere usually results in disagreements, quarrels, disputes, controversies as well as confrontationsto the point of hindering the attainment of the goals of secondary education as encapsulated in theNational Policy on Education (FRN, 2004). Bergmann and Volkema (1994) have aptly describedconflict as an occurrence which requires at least two parties or two analytically distinct units or entitiessuch as persons, groups or organisations to engage in antagonistic interactions.When conflict manifests in the public secondary school, it calls for conflict resolution. Themanifestation of conflict may be of the intrapersonal (or intra-individual), interpersonal, ethnocentricand intergroup types. Literature suggests that these types of conflict manifestations could be resolvedeffectively by means of the avoidance, competition, accommodation, compromise and collaborationconflict resolution options.With regards to the options, the avoidance conflict resolution option is one in which the principalwithdraws or runs away from conflict hoping that it will disappear. The competition conflictresolution option involves the principal (or any other conflict party) insisting on an all-out win or losssituation. The accommodation option relates to the principal (or any other party in conflict) simplyallowing the other party to win in the interest of peace, by obliging its request or agitation. Thecompromise option is the middle-of-the-way approach to conflict resolution where each party winssome of its demands and loses some other demands. There is also the collaboration option that has todo with the win-win approach in which each party to a conflict wins by becoming a problem solverand a collaborative conflict participant.If education is to be managed effectively for sustainable development in Nigeria, then education at thesecondary school level should be managed free of conflict. Demographic characteristics such as age,gender, marital status, years of working experience as well as educational qualification have beenobserved to influence the overall administrative effectiveness of school principals (Uko, 1998; Udida,2001; Bassey, Mbipom and Akwuegwu, 2003). This study was intended to investigate thedemographic influence of educational qualification of principals on their choice of conflict resolutionoptions.The statement of the problem of the study revolves around the fact of many school principalsbecoming unduly alarmed, irritated and confused when they experience tensions, disputes,controversies, or outright conflicts is the problem of the study. Again, given the non-acquaintance ofsome principals (if not most of them) with the conventional options for conflict resolution may notknow what to do in handling school conflicts. The question is, what is the influence of principals’ 7
  2. 2. European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.orgeducational qualification (or professional grooming) on their choice of conflict resolution optionswhen they are faced with overt conflict?The purpose of the study was mainly to investigate the influence of educational qualification (as ademographic variable) on principals’ choice of conflict resolution options. In order to provide a guideto the study, the following research question was posed: • What influence does principals’ educational qualification exert on their choice of conflict resolution options?The hypothesis of the study was: • Choice of conflict resolution options is significantly influenced by principals’ educational qualification.METHODOLOGYThe design adopted for this study was the survey research design. The area of study was Cross RiverState of Nigeria. The entire population of 260 public secondary school principals was used for thestudy. The researchers developed data gathering instrument known as Principals’ Conflict ResolutionOptions Questionnaire (PCROQ) was face-validated by Measurement and Evaluation experts inFaculty of Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka as well as 10 principals of Cross River Schools.The reliability of the instrument was ascertained through Cronbach Alpha (ᾱ) coefficients of clustersof the instrument. Each cluster represented one of intrapersonal, interpersonal, ethnocentric andintergroup conflict manifestation settings in which principals’ educational qualification will be seen tohave the ability to influence choice of conflict resolution options. For the intrapersonal cluster, theCronbach alpha coefficient (ᾱ) was 0.50, for interpersonal 0.75, for ethnocentric 0.83 while theintergroup cluster had an alpha (ᾱ) of 0.88. The internal consistency was computed for thequestionnaire using scores obtained from the trial testing on 40 principals who were not among thepopulation used for the study.The instrument had two parts. Part A required of the respondents such demographic data as the gender,educational qualification, working experience and school location of the principal. Part B was dividedinto Column A (depicting 20 conflict manifestation situations in public secondary schools) andColumn B (depicting the five conflict resolution options which principals could adopt).The questionnaire copies were administered on the 260 principals by the researchers and theirassistants. They were retrieved within 48 hours. More than 99% of the questionnaire copies wereretrieved for analysis as one copy was unrecovered.RESULTSResearch Question OneWhat influence does principals’ educational qualification exert on their choice of conflict resolutionoptions?To answer the research question, the mean rating and standard deviation of principals’ choice ofconflict resolution options based on educational qualification was computed for different schoolconflict settings as indicated in Table 1. 8
  3. 3. European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org Table 1: Mean rating (X) and standard deviation (SD) of principals’ choice of conflict resolution options by educational qualification Rating of conflict options Educational Qualification Qualified Less qualifiedConflict Sum of Sum ofSettings rating X SD Interpretation rating X SD Interpretation (∑X) (∑X)Intrapersonal 22.02 4.40 2.25 Compromise 21.95 4.39 2.21 CompromiseInterpersonal 23.44 4.69 2.14 Collaboration 23.69 4.74 2.31 CollaborationEthnocentric 22.69 4.54 3.07 Collaboration 22.42 4.48 2.88 CompromiseIntergroup 22.40 4.48 4.68 Compromise 23.75 4.75 1.70 Collaboration The rating of the conflict resolution options in the descriptive statistics used in answering the research question facilitated their categorization according to the mean (X) values. They were representative of each option; favoured by public secondary school principals in Cross River State. Thus, choice of the avoidance option was rated 0.1-1.49 points; competition option 1.50-2.49 points; accommodation option 2.50-3.49 points; compromise option 2.50-4.49 while the collaboration option was rated 4.50- 5.00. According to the literature review for the study, the ratings reflected the graduation of conflict resolution options on the basis of their usefulness in resolving conflicts in an ascending order from avoidance to competition, accommodation, compromise and collaboration option (Dreu and Vliert, 1997; Assibong, 2003). The interpretation of the data in Table 1 indicates that both qualified and less qualified principals opted for the use of the compromise option for conflict resolution under intrapersonal conflict situation. On the other hand, both qualified and less qualified principals opted for the sue of the collaboration option for conflict resolution under interpersonal situation. For conflict resolution under ethnocentric situation, qualified principals favoured the use of the collaboration option, whereas less qualified principals favoured the use of the compromise option. In intergroup setting, qualified principals opted for the compromise option in conflict handling, while less qualified principals chose the collaboration option. The implications of the results of the descriptive statistic used in analysing the research question points to the fact that the compromise and collaboration options were overwhelmingly favoured by qualified and less qualified principals in conflict resolution in the secondary school environment. This was notwithstanding the conflict setting. Hypothesis One: Choice of conflict resolution options is not significantly influenced by principals’ educational qualification. The hypothesis was analysed using a one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) of the influence of principals’ demographic variables on their choice of conflict resolution options under the intrapersonal, interpersonal, ethnocentric and intergroup settings. Principals’ educational qualification was, however, highlighted under the four settings for the purpose of the study and in tandem with the research question. 9
  4. 4. European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org Table 2: One way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) of principals’ demographic variables on conflict resolution options in intrapersonal setting Sum of MeanSource of variation Squares DF Square F Sig. of F Sig.Main Effects 5.912 4 1.478 .293 .882 NSLOCAT .413 1 .413 .082 .775 NSGENDER .730 1 .730 .145 .704 NSEDQUALI 1.822 1 1.822 .361 .548 NSEXPER .473 1 .473 .094 .760 NS2-Way Interactions 20.106 6 3.351 .064 .679 -LOCAT GENDER .442 1 .442 .088 .767 -LOCAT EDQUALI .444 1 .441 .087 .768 -LOCAT EXPER 12.324 1 12.324 2.443 .119 -GENDER EDQUALI .030 1 .030 .006 .938 -GENDER EXPER 1.243 1 1.243 .246 .620 -EDQUALI EXPER 2.047 1 2.047 .406 .525 -Explained 38.038 10 3.804 .754 .673 -Residual 1250.958 248 5,044 -Total 1288.996 258 4,996 - 259 cases were processed. 1 case (0.38 pct) was missing. * NS = Not Significant Table 3: One way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) of principals’ demographic variables on conflict resolution options in interpersonal setting Sum of MeanSource of variation Squares DF Square F Sig. of F Sig.Main Effects 40.773 4 10.193 2.173 .073 NSLOCAT 3.682 1 3.683 .785 .376 NSGENDER 28.001 1 28.001 5,970 .015 NSEDQUALI .173 1 .173 .037 .848 NSEXPER 1.386 1 1.386 .296 .587 NS2-Way Interactions 23.011 6 3.835 .818 .557 -LOCAT GENDER 5.480 1 5.480 1.168 .281 -LOCAT EDQUALI 2.014 1 2.014 .429 .513 -LOCAT EXPER 2.702 1 2.702 .576 .449 -GENDER EDQUALI 2.269 1 2.269 .484 .487 -GENDER EXPER 8.545 1 8.545 1.822 .178 -EDQUALI EXPER 3.740 1 3.740 .797 .373 -Explained 65.575 10 6.558 1.398 .181 -Residual 1163.166 248 4.690 -Total 1228.741 258 4,763 - 259 cases were processed. 1 case (0.38 pct) was missing. * NS = Not Significant 10
  5. 5. European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org Table 4: One way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) of principals’ demographic variables on conflict resolution options in intergroup setting Sum of MeanSource of variation Squares DF Square F Sig. of F Sig.Main Effects 81.839 4 20.460 2.430 .048 NSLOCAT 31.075 1 31.075 3.692 .056 NSGENDER 8,173 1 8.173 .971 .325 NSEDQUALI 20,358 1 20,358 2.418 .121 NSEXPER 6.128 1 6.128 .728 .394 NS2-Way Interactions 245.018 6 40.836 4.851 .000 -LOCAT GENDER .350 1 .350 .042 .839 -LOCAT EDQUALI 37.416 1 37.416 4.445 .036 -LOCAT EXPER 129.479 1 129.479 15.381 .000 -GENDER EDQUALI 3.655 1 3.655 .434 .511 -GENDER EXPER 9.423 1 9.423 1.119 .291 -EDQUALI EXPER 17.308 1 17.308 2.056 .153 -Explained 269.264 10 26.926 3.199 .001 -Residual 2087.655 248 8.418 -Total 2356.919 258 9.135 - 259 cases were processed. 1 case (0.38 pct) was missing. * NS = Not Significant Table 5: One way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) of principals’ demographic variables on conflict resolution options in intergroup setting Sum of MeanSource of variation Squares DF Square F Sig. of F Sig.Main Effects 198.496 4 49.624 3.103 .016 NSLOCAT 23.904 1 23.904 1.495 .223 NSGENDER 40.175 1 40.175 2.512 .114 NSEDQUALI 38.165 1 38.165 2.387 .124 NSEXPER 14.157 1 14.157 .885 .348 NS2-Way Interactions 142.157 6 23.808 1.489 .182 -LOCAT GENDER .391 1 .391 .024 .876 -LOCAT EDQUALI 15.985 1 15.985 1.000 .318 -LOCAT EXPER .387 1 .387 .024 .877 -GENDER EDQUALI 1.496 1 1.496 .094 .760 -GENDER EXPER 93.191 1 93.191 5.827 .017 -EDQUALI EXPER 9.985 1 9.985 .624 .430 -Explained 496.731 10 49.673 3.106 .001 -Residual 3965.957 248 15.992 -Total 4462.687 258 17.297 - 259 cases were processed. 1 case (0.38 pct) was missing. * NS = Not Significant 11
  6. 6. European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.orgUnder intrapersonal conflict setting: As already shown in Table 1, the X value in respect of qualifiedand less qualified principals’ conflict resolution options were respectively 4.40 and 4.39 both of whichwere interpreted as compromise conflict resolution option under intrapersonal conflict setting. In theANOVA table (Table 2), the F-value in respect of these mean values for the compromise option is0.548. Therefore, at 0.05 level for which the difference between the values of 4.40 and 4.39 are beingtested, the observed difference is not significant. In other words, the null hypothesis is retained. Theimplication of this is that qualified and less qualified chose the compromise option under theintrapersonal setting. This suggests that under the intrapersonal setting, principals favoured the choiceof the win-some and lose-some option in which bargaining and negotiation holds sway.Under interpersonal conflict setting: As already shown in Table 1 the X value in respect of qualifiedand less qualified principals’ conflict resolution options were respectively 4.69 and 4.74 both of whichwere interpreted as collaboration conflict resolution option under interpersonal conflict setting. In theANOVA table (Table 3), the F-value in respect of these mean values for the collaboration option is0.848. Therefore, at 0.05 level for which the difference between the values of 4.69 and 4.74 are beingtested, the observed difference is not significant. In other words, the null hypothesis is retained. Theimplication of this is that although there is no significant difference between qualified and lessqualified principals in their management of conflict under interpersonal setting, both sets of principalsfavour the use of the problem solving strategy in conflict resolution which is the collaboration option.Under ethnocentric conflict setting: As already shown in Table 1, the X value in respect of qualifiedand less qualified principals’ conflict resolution options are respectively 4.54 (which was interpretedas collaboration conflict resolution option under ethnocentric conflict setting) and 4.48 (which wasinterpreted as compromise conflict resolution option under ethnocentric setting). In the ANOVA table(Table 4), the F-value in respect of these mean values for the collaboration and compromise optionsrespectively is 0.121. Therefore, at 0.05 level for which the difference between the values of 4.54 and4.48 are being tested, the observed difference is not significant. In other words, the null hypothesis isretained.Under intergroup conflict setting: As already shown in Table 1, the X value in respect of qualified andunqualified principals’ conflict resolution options are 4.48 (which was interpreted as compromiseconflict resolution option under intergroup conflict setting) and 4.75 (which was interpreted ascollaboration option under intergroup conflict setting). In the ANOVA table (Table 5), the F-value inrespect of these mean values for the compromise and collaboration options respectively is 0.124.Therefore, at 0.05 level for which the difference between the values of 4.48 and 4.75 are being tested,the observed difference is not significant. In other words, the null hypothesis is retained. Theimplication of the results in ethnocentric and intergroup settings is that there were noticeabledifferences between qualified and less qualified principals in their choice of conflict resolution optionsin those settings. More or less, the principals choose between compromise and collaboration, that is,win-some, lose-some and win-win options.DISCUSSIONIt is interesting that the hypothesis showed evidence of no-difference significance. From thehypothesis, qualified principals, representing those with at least B.Ed or PGDE (as part of theirqualification) and less qualified principals represented by those without B.Ed or PGDE as part of theirqualification, were similar in using the compromise and collaboration options respectively in resolvingintrapersonal and interpersonal conflicts. When it came to resolving ethnocentric and intergroupconflicts, qualified principals consistently chose collaboration and compromise options. Lessqualified principals consistently used compromise and collaboration in resolving ethnocentric andintergroup conflicts respectively.The wide use of the compromise option by some principals is interesting. Peretomode (1995)comments that the compromise conflict resolution option involves the process of negotiation andbargaining. If properly utilized, it can create an atmosphere of understanding and peace. However, ona negative note, Rahim (1999) has noted that a compromising principal would put expediency aboveprinciple to the detriment of a lasting conflict resolution.From the study’s result, on the other hand, handling conflicts with the collaboration option implies thatprincipals of public secondary schools in Cross River State opted for a problem-solving approach toconflict resolution between one school member and another. This would mean that when one teacher,student or non-academic staff had conflict with another, the joint efforts of the disputants were 12
  7. 7. European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.orggalvanised toward solving the problem that caused them to have the conflict. In doing so, all partiesendeavoured to understand the issues and the restraints to be considered. This hopefully yielded win-win results. On the whole, the study revealed that Cross River State principals only favoured the useof either the compromise or collaboration options in public secondary schools conflict resolution.Furthermore, whether the principal was qualified or less qualified, it did not affect their choice ofconflict resolution option.The study found, quite surprisingly, that three out of the five conflict resolution options beingavoidance, competition, and accommodation were not used at all in spite of the research instrumentmaking an equivalent provision for them as did compromise and collaboration in terms of itemsdistribution. There is reason to believe that the win some-lose some perspectives of compromise aswell as the win-win dimension of collaboration may have appealed to public secondary schoolprincipals more than the avoidance, competition, or accommodation options. Actually, in conflictliterature, compromise and collaboration are considered to be higher, more refined, more professionaland more result-oriented options in organisational conflict resolution (Bergmann and Volkema, 1994;Schmid, 2000). Therefore, the principals studied may have been handling conflict competently intheir schools.CONCLUSIONFrom the findings of the study, it could be concluded that in some instances, differences exist amongprincipals in their conflict resolution choices owing to their being qualified or less qualified tofunction as principals. On other occasions there were evident differences regarding principals’qualification as an influence on their conflict resolution choices. From the study’s results, an averageprincipal, irrespective of educational qualification, is predisposed toward resolving school conflictsusing the compromise and/or collaboration option(s).Principals of schools seem to have developed a greater tendency to choose the proper options forconflict resolutions. This applies under all conflict manifestation settings as their choice of thecompromise and collaboration options are seen to be organisationally healthy.RECOMMENDATIONS • School principals, irrespective of qualification should see conflict as integral to the school environment. • School principals should be made to see the advantages in managing conflict collaboratively, or atleast compromisingly, as these could engender positive solutions. • Training teachers in educational management before they are appointed school principals could make them place value on the type of appropriate options they should go for in resolving school conflicts. • The various dimensions of compromise and collaboration options in conflict resolution should be shared with principals with a view to encouraging them to use those the more. • More research should be carried out to replicate the study in other states of Nigeria, to afford a more confident generalisation on the nexus between principals’ qualification and school conflict resolution.REFERENCESArgyris, C. (1967). Understanding Human Behaviour In Organisations. New York: Harper and Row.Assibong, P. A. (2003). Causes Of Conflicts And Panacea For Harmony And Cooperation. EducationFor Today. 3 (1), 179-191.Bassey, U. U.; Mbipom, G. & Akwuegwu, B. A. (2003). A Comparative Study Of Public And PrivateSecondary School Principals’ Administrative Effectiveness In Calabar. Education For Today. 3 (1),91-102. 13
  8. 8. European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.3, 2007 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.orgBergmann, T. and Volkemann, R. (1994). Issues, Behavioural Responses And Consequences InInterpersonal Conflicts. Journal Of Organisational Behaviour. 15 (2), 467-471.Dahrendorf, R. (1964). Towards A Theory Of Social Conflict In Management In A. Etzioni (Ed.).Social Change. New York: Basic Books.Dreu, C. D. and Vliert, E. V. (Eds.) (1997). Using Conflict In Organisations. London: SagePublications.Federal Republic Of Nigeria (2004). National Policy Of Education (4th ed.). Lagos: NERDC Press.Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution & Conflict Management (2004).http://www.disputeresolution.ohio.gov. Accessed 7th August, 2004.Peretomode, V. F. (1995). Conflict Management: An Integrative Approach. New York: Praeger.Rahim, M. A. (1999). Managing Conflict: An Integrative Approach. New York: Praeger.Robbins, S. P. (2001). Organisational Behaviour (9th Ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Schmid, A. P. (Ed.) (2000). Thesaurus And Glossary Of Early Warning And Conflict PreventionTerms. London: Forum on Early Warning and Early Response.Udida, L. A. (2001). The Perception Of Male And Female Principals’ Leadership Roles In CrossRiver State Secondary Schools. International Journal of Social Science and Public Policy. 4 (1),119-124.Uko, E. S. (1998). Gender Factor And Administrative Effectiveness Of Secondary School Principalsin Cross River State. An Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. Calabar: University of Calabar. 14

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