Education Project Topics

A Critical Assessment of Industrial Conflict and Its Management in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions (a Study of Imo State University)





In employee-employer relationships, conflict is a common occurrence. There will always be dispute between the employer and employees in every organization, whether it is unionized or non-unionized, whether it is about pay or general working conditions. This can be seen in all institutions and organizations all around the world, but especially in Africa. Because of the intricate structure of organizations, conflict is unavoidable in the workplace. In addition, the pursuit of conflicting goals by management and employees sometimes results in labor disputes. Industrial disputes are prevalent in both the private and public sectors, according to Dahida and Adekeye (2013), since the aims and objectives of workers and management in every given firm differ. Employees may demand greater benefits, but management may desire low turnover and more production. Equally, as a social organization, the educational environment is not immune to conflicts between the various associations and the management.

Industrial conflict has become a key notion in the industrial relations system, according to Igbaji (2009). While strike threats cannot be completely avoided, the tensions and misconceptions that often result from them can be effectively addressed. Tertiary institutions, such as universities, tertiary institutions, and colleges of education, have been closed indefinitely, and many students have dropped out as a result of an unresolved industrial dispute over minimum wage, inadequate funding of tertiary institutions, and the government’s failure to implement a deal reached with unions. Tetiary institutions, like other contemporary institutions, are not without disagreements and conflicting goals and responses to employee welfare concerns, which can be a source of conflict. If not managed properly, this might escalate to larger industrial activities; it can also be counterproductive, resulting in inefficiency, ineffectiveness, or emotional stress in achieving stated corporate goals and objectives. According to Nwankwo (2000), Nigerian educational institutions have been subjected to untold negative political meddling and a seemingly planned attempt to bury them in a torrent of irrelevancies due to military participation in government. He went on to say that people in power saw tertiary institutions as a burden, as institutions to be abused and abandoned. Cultism, brain drain, underfunding by the government, loss of academic freedom, general insecurity, decrepit structures, and non-payment of staff wages are some of the symptoms.

Disagreement and incompatibility of interests and goals between the employer and the employee, which includes management’s refusal to honor the employee’s agreement, issues with staff allowances and emoluments, management’s highhandedness, corruption and mismanagement of the institution’s resources, and management’s victimization of staff. According to Ajewole (2014), this manifests itself in the constant closure of tertiary institutions in Nigeria, the disruption of the academic calendar, the lengthening of academic sessions, and a decline in the expected turnout of students in a given year, as well as the quality of students produced.

According to Arikewuyo (2006), the relationship between higher education authorities and staff unions, particularly academic unions, has not always been pleasant. Administrators of Nigerian institutions have frequently clashed with labor unions on a variety of problems, ranging from funding allocation to the administration’s heavy-handedness. The funding of different polytechnic initiatives, the awarding of contracts, the payment of outstanding allowances and wages, the acquisition of buildings, library and laboratory supplies, and other issues have all created discord within the polytechnic system at times. As a consequence of the inconsistency in the polytechnic system, which includes strikes and other industrial activities that take academic staff members away from the academic environment, disrupting the academic calendar, and mocking the quality of polytechnic education in Nigeria? As a result, it lowers staff morale, attention, and dedication to academic exercise, which has an impact on staff performance owing to a lack of upgrading of people personal attributes.


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Every work involves conflict; even the most capable, knowledgeable, and ethical people may differ on topics from time to time. Industrial disputes have become a recurring problem at Nigerian tertiary institutions, according to Adebile and Ojo (2012), as a result of policies, political overtones, and management and finance of the polytechnic system. Industrial conflict is unavoidable in academic settings since various parties/unions pursue distinct interests, and there is rarely agreement among the participants: administration, academic staff, and non-academic employees, on the norms that govern the institution. In almost every choice that management must make, there is the possibility of a disagreement. One of the most essential components of a managerial role in an organization is the ability to deal with prospective and identified conflict efficiently and effectively. In Nigeria, a dispute between unions and polytechnic administration has harmed the polytechnic system, causing disruptions in academic activities, poor academic performance, brain drain, and a low international ranking for the country’s tetiary institutions, among other things (Ogonor, 1996). However, it is self-evident that during labor conflicts, management will lose production, the cost of which will be determined by the severity and duration of the strike.

As a result, these issues have hampered and slowed the creation of tertiary institutions in Nigeria (F.M.E, 2004).


The primary aim of this study is to assess industrial conflict and how it’s managed in Nigerian tertiary institutions. Thus, below are specific objectives;

1. To determine the causes of industrial conflict in Imo state University.

2. To identify the consequences of industrial dispute in Imo state university.

3. To assess the strategies adopted by Imo state university in managing industrial conflicts.


The following questions guide this study;

1. What are the causes of industrial conflict in Imo state University?

2. What are the consequences of industrial dispute in Imo state university?

3. What are the strategies adopted by Imo state university in managing industrial conflicts?


This study will be significant not just to Imo state university but also other tertiary institutions as it will bring to the fore various causes of industrial conflicts in Imo state university and the various strategies they adopt in managing these conflicts. This study will also be beneficial to the academic world as it will be an addition to materials on this same subject matter.


This study will only cover industrial conflicts and the strategies adopted in managing them in Imo state university, with specific focus on determining the causes of industrial conflict in Imo state University, identifying the consequences of industrial dispute in Imo state university, and assessing the strategies adopted by Imo state university in managing industrial conflicts.. This study will hence be delimited to only Imo state university.


During the course of this study, the researcher was faced with insufficient funds and not enough time to fully delve deeper into various concepts of this study.


1. INDUSTRIAL CONFLICTS: Refers to all expressions of dissatisfaction within the employment relationship, especially those pertaining to the employment contract, and the effort bargain.



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