Managing Conflict at Institution/s of Higher Learning: A Post-Positivist Perspective

Yusuf Lukman


Institutions of Higher Learning in South Africa annually face challenges that often lead to student protests and demonstrations, mostly at the beginning of every academic year, which adversely impact the smooth running of academic programs. Stakeholders’ expectations were at the apex of causes that destabilise the academic environment, academic almanac and the overall academic professional reputation. The volatility of this kind retards productivity and negatively affects many tertiary institutions across the Country. This empirically grounded paper focuses on conflicting variables amongst universities, but with reference to an Eastern Cape University in South Africa spread across its Campuses. Adopting the post-positivist approach, this study obtained data from over 180 respondents and the data was analysed by using descriptive and inferential statistics, including analyses of variance and Pearson Product Moment correlations. In addition, content analysis techniques were used to analyse the data collected from the unstructured questionnaire. In this empirical study the findings highlighted two major variables that gave rise to conflicts, escalation of strikes and demonstrations at Higher Institutions of learning and recommend a conflict management style apposite for handling the conundrum. The factors dealt with in this study are not peculiar to the institution studied, but  are analogous to other institutions. The findings also underscored Integrating conflict management as the most commendable style for managing conflicts at institutions of higher learning.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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