Assessment of the efficacy of the mechanisms for conflict resolution in employment relations at a multinational company in Nigeria : lessons from South Africa
An organisation or country that aims to experience industrial tranquillity and collaboration among social partners in employment relations must put in place an outstanding and potent conflict resolution mechanism. Within the context of labour relations, conflict is predictable in the workplace environment and the result could be a strike or lockout. This result can be avoided if there is an appropriate conflict settlement machinery on the ground. Overall, conflict resolution mechanisms must be centred around negotiation and dialogue which is an integral part of dealing with discord whenever it arises in employment relations. This study seeks to investigate the efficacy of mechanisms for conflict resolution in employment relations at a multinational company in Nigeria and South Africa. The study also examines the effectiveness of the machinery for regulating the affairs of labour relations statutorily or voluntarily. Additionally, the study undertakes a comparative analysis of different mechanisms employed whenever conflicts arise in both employment relations environments that are in South Africa and Nigeria. This analysis gives more insight into how conflict resolution mechanisms work in South Africa as compared to Nigeria. Moreover, the study explores the necessary tools and frameworks of legislative resolution instruments that lead to long-term reconciliation and peace thereby reducing the rate of disputes in employment relations in South Africa as well as Nigeria. A non-experimental descriptive research design that utilises a survey approach was adopted in the study. The research employed a mixed-method approach, that is, qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. A total of 400 questionnaires were distributed to respondents in two organisations, 200 for each organisation in Nigeria, and South Africa respectively via online google forms. A total of 363 responses were returned for the quantitative data collection while a total of 20 respondents participated in online interviews as part of the qualitative data collection. Thus, the final aggregate sample size for this research was 383 participants. Results from the study indicated that the conflict resolution mechanism in South Africa functioned successfully compared to that of the counterpart organisation in Nigeria. Moreover, the study revealed that South Africa has a developed apparatus for managing industrial conflicts. possibly in Africa as a whole. This was found to be xi because of how the South African government rigidly pitched a high labour legislative framework and requirement concerning labour conflict resolution. This is intended to create a conducive and harmonious labour relations environment. It is assumed that introducing a similar legislative framework into Nigeria’s labour relations environment will also foster a more harmonious relationship amongst the parties and social partners. Finally, the study proposes and recommends that host environments of multinational corporations in Africa must continuously review their conflict resolution frameworks so that it serves as a guide for the operations of multinational companies that come to their countries. In addition, the study highlights that such mechanisms must make provision for opportunities for employees to feel that they are heard through sincere dialogue processes and effective communication channels between employers and employees. Overall, the study recommends that accommodating and congruent conflict resolution strategies must be encouraged among members of staff to facilitate a nonviolent labour relations atmosphere.