Conflict Management and Conflict Resolution Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

e. Lindle 1996). Also, the conflict management design under the SBM structure does not work well under dictatorship; in fact when the principal becomes too domineering, the researches showed obvious instances of dissatisfaction amongst the staff and decreased incentive from the students to work and engage in the learning process. The conflict management design under the SBM structure is heavily dependent upon the contribution of the committees and cannot succeed without it. Numerous studies have shown that the most ineffective principals have been the ones who have appointed committees but haven't given them enough authority over the real executive tasks or enough room to perform and contribute to the overall managerial structure. The problem, as highlighted in numerous studies, with this approach is that there is an obvious tussle for authority between the principal, the teachers and the peripheral agencies like the investors. This tussle has a negative effect on the overall organization, planning, internal and eternal relationships / networks, attainments of goals, conflict resolution and management, image of the institution, curriculum making and successful teaching strategies as well as decreased levels of contribution from the teachers and the parents. These findings prove that the SBM setup is not a solitary or stand-alone solution and growth and improvement within the education industry can only be achieved with a thought-provoked and targeted mind set before the implementation of SBM (Arnott and Raab, 2000).

The role of teachers in SBM

One of the features of the SBM setup was the importance given to the contribution of the teachers. In fact the teachers were given enough weight in this setup that one of the forms of the SBM was completely dependent upon them and gave them complete executive powers. Of course, the contribution of the teachers was also at times restricted to mere consultative functions with restrictive authority over selected problems. The influential powers of the teachers were different from one district school to another. With the correct implementation of the SBM setup, however, one saw the responsibilities and influence of the teachers grow in the committees formed to decide on the extra-curricular engagements of the schools, analyze who needed to be hired and for what, formulate the academic laws, decide curriculum preferences as well as participate in the executive decisions making. This increased importance to the contribution of the teachers was influential in making the overall conflict management process more efficient and aware of the changes needed in the structure (Arnott and Raab, 2000).

Numerous researches have highlighted that the schools that experienced the most growth inc conflict management strategies were where the teachers were in charge of the executive tasks like deciding on the policy-making, recognition of conflicts, possible solutions, hierarchy of conflicts, etc. (Gleason et al. 1996). The conflict management structure under the SBM setup also worked proficiently if the teachers were forming the bridge between different schools and institutions and were bringing in newer and innovative ideas to the dynamics of conflict management and resolution within their faculties and departments. When the teachers took on the above roles, they also tended to be responsible for ensuring consistent contribution from the stakeholders and related agencies in the managerial departments as well as the financial issues that were directly related to them. David (1996), in his study, highlighted that the teacher's contribution allowed a cooperative environment for administrative and fiscal growth and was not restricted to just introducing new ideas in conflict management structure without any follow-up on its influence and aftermath. This approach and influence of the teachers helped in the expansion and nourishment of the school's conflict management policies to continuously grow and improve (Arnott and Raab, 2000).

The role of Parents/Community in the SBM setup

One of the most interesting and influential features of the SBM setup was the incorporation of parents' and community members' input in the academic administration in order to resolve conflicts within and outside the schools. The parents were willing to contribute more as they felt that having the authority or a major part in the decision-making or conflict-resolution process guaranteed that their input will not go unnoticed. There have been numerous instances highlighted by several research studies on how most of the members in certain school district committees consisted mostly of parents and the community members with minimal faculty members (Arnott and Raab, 2000).

In addition, the authority that was given to the parents in the third form of the SBM setup guaranteed them power over the hiring of the principal, designation of funds, curriculum structure, improvisational and expansion-based strategies needed to help in the growth of the school and resolve the important and most pressing conflicts within the educational community. Most of these committees laid down the foundation for better and more efficient communication between the school administration and the parents/community (Ryan et al. 1997; Wohlstetter et al. 1997b).

Furthermore, The biggest advantage that most researchers noticed by the increase in the participation of the parents was that the overall opportunity and ideas of growth for resolving conflicts within the schools increased and transformation from theory to practice was achieved more efficiently and effectively (Bryk et al. 1998b). However, the fact of the matter is that many parents are still reluctant or don't have enough time or knowledge to confirm effective and consistent contribution in the conflict management branch of the school (Arnott and Raab, 2000).

Lastly, the analysis of the efforts put in and results achieved by the conflict management structure under the SBM setup has shown numerous factors that are responsible for the failure of this system. These factors are: irresponsible funding; complete dependence upon the efforts of the principal which adds pressure on him/her; the personal objectives of the principal which come in the way of the objectives of the institution; the dictator-like approach of the principal; lack of an effective organizational structure, lack of effective conflict-resolution strategies, lack of conflict management, leadership, communication setup; and, an unbalanced distribution of responsibilities with the burden resting on the shoulders of certain groups or individuals (Arnott and Raab, 2000; Smith, 2002; Wohlstetter, 1995).

As noted above the impact of site-based management has far reaching implications and many parents and school administrators believe that this new system may answer the problem of inappropriate conflict resolution strategies. However, improper knowledge and execution of site-based management has created additional problems for schools striving for student achievement and effective conflict-resolution strategies in both urban and suburban settings alike (Smith, 2002). This paper will study the impact of efficient conflict resolution strategies on rich suburban and poor urban school districts that have adopted site-based management as a tool for better decision-making structures.


Arnott, M.A. And Raab, C.D. (2000). The Governance of Schooling: Comparative Studies of Devolved Management. Routledge. London.

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Bryk, A., Sebring, P., Kerbow, D., Rollow, S. And Easton, J. (1998b). Charting Chicago School Reform: Democratic Localism as Lever for Change, Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

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Gleason, S., Donohue, N. And Leader, G. (1996). 'Boston Revisits School-Based Management', Educational Leadership, 53-4:24-7.

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Sebring, P. And Bryk, A. (2000). 'Principal Leadership and the Bottom Line in Chicago', Phi Delta Kappan, 81(5).

Sebring, P., Bryk, A., Easton, J., Luppescu, S., Thum, Y., Lopez, W and Smith, B. (1995). Charter Reform: Chicago Teachers Take Stock, Chicago: University of Chicago. Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Smith, R. (2002). Creating the Effective Primary School: A Guide for School Leaders and Teachers. Kogan…

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