Aligning Theories with Conflict Management in Higher Institutions of Learning: Averting Looming Crises to Ensure Success and Stability

Yusuf Lukman, Sanjay Balkaran, Nonzwakazi Beauty Makiwane


Higher institutions of learning (HIL) occasionally face conflict situations. These range from minor confrontations and demonstrations to violent strikes. The aim of this study was to align theories with conflict management in HIL to avert looming crises that might affect the core businesses of HIL. Given that conflicts are miscellaneous and disputable, managing them requires integration of various approaches and theories. Therefore, the researchers employed dual concern theory, complexity theory, and contingency theory. The empirical part of the study used the mixed approach with open-ended and closed-ended questionnaires. Data were collected from stakeholders including students, academic staff, non-academic staff, and management members of a selected HIL. The data analysis techniques used computation of means, standard deviations, frequencies, skewness, and correlations to examine the relationship between dependent and independent variables in the study. The findings of the study revealed that when students act as a group during conflicts, it more often than not becomes boundless, unpredictable, and destructive. Therefore, managers should learn when to react, how to react, and in what ways to react to find an amicable solution using conflict management theories. Because this study used the pragmatic approach to align theories with conflict management with the aim of averting looming crises in HIL, other researchers can use purely qualitative methods to validate their findings.

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

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