Conflicts and Conflict Management Styles in Secondary Schools in Tanzania: Perceptions of Employees


  • Winifrida Saimon Malingumu



Conflicts, conflicts type, conflict management, conflict managementstyles


This study investigated conflict management styles in Tanzanian secondary schools. Three issues are addressed by this study. These are the types of conflicts that exist in secondary schools; the conflict management styles adopted, as well as the relationship between conflict management styles and secondary schools’ performance.The study involved 161 respondents (36 heads of schools and 125 Teachers). The study adopted a mixed-methods research approach with a cross-sectional design. The data were collected through questionnaires and interviews. The quantitative data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software whereas qualitative data were analysed using content analysis. The research findings revealed that the schools face two types of conflicts which are process and task conflicts. Of the two, task conflicts are dominant as compared to process conflicts. The research findings show that conflicts in schools arise due to failure to fulfil one’s responsibility, favouritism and professional inadequacy of personnel. Also, school authorities use the disciplinary committee as well as guidance and counselling as preliminary actions toward conflict management. When things get tough, professional conflict management styles are applied. The most applied styles are compromising, collaboration, and sometimes accommodating. These provide reasonable positive effects on performance. Finally, the study findings show that management styles used have impacts on the performance of secondary schools. Poorly managed conflicts negatively affect performance, but effective management of conflicts enhances performance.It is recommended, therefore, that schools should view conflicts as necessary to their operational life. However, they need to be aware oftheir origins(causes and types) so that a relevant management style is adopted for the best results. Also, the study recommends training forheads of schools and teachers so that their ability to deal with conflicts is optimized

Author Biography

Winifrida Saimon Malingumu

The Open University of Tanzania