THE EFFECTIVENESS OF COMMUNICATION IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION BETWEEN ADMINISTRATION AND TEACHING STAFF IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN GATANGA SUB-COUNTY IN MURANG’A COUNTY, KENYA

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ABSTRACT
This study sought to establish the effectiveness of communication in conflict resolution between administrations and teaching staff in public secondary schools in Gatanga Sub-County, Murang’a County, Kenya. The study was guided by the following specific objectives: to investigate the sources of conflict between teaching staff and administrators in public secondary schools, to explore how conflict between teaching staff and administration is communicated, to determine the effect of using communication to address conflict between teaching staff and administration and to establish the challenges of using communication to address conflict between teachers and administrations in public secondary schools in Gatanga Sub-County, Murang’a County, Kenya. The study used descriptive survey design. The sample for this study was obtained through stratified random sampling. Ten per cent of the target population of the 629 TSC teachers employed in 46 schools in the sub-county was used. This translated to 62 respondents because fractions cannot be used to represent human beings. Questionnaires and interview schedules were used to obtain data from teachers and key respondents respectively. The study was piloted in two schools in Thika West, Sub-County, Kiambu County, Kenya because the schools were not part of the target population. Qualitative data for the study was analysed thematically while quantitative data was analysed using SPSS. The findings were that conflict is experienced between teaching staff and administrations in public secondary schools in Gatanga Sub-County and communication plays a major role in causing, escalating and deescalating conflict. Meetings were found to be the preferred way for teachers and school administrations to communicate and address conflict although when it came to personal conflict with the administrators, private meetings were preferred. It was noted however, that silence was also used as a way to communicate between teachers and their administrators, some of the reasons given being that the persons involved feared being victimized, feared being criticized or felt that their opinion was inconsequential. To solve a conflict, communication played a major role. Personal attitude was found to be a major challenge to using communication to address conflict between teachers and their school administrations. There was however an observation that there is care in how administrators communicate with members of the opposite gender especially in conflict situations. The conclusion of the study was that like in the rest of the society, conflict occurs between teachers and school administrations and that communication plays a major role in triggering, escalating and deescalating the conflict. However, in addressing the conflict, there is need to treat participants with respect if a conflict is to be resolved amicably. There is also need to increase the frequency of interaction between teachers and school administrations, and in the interactions, parties should allow others to express themselves openly. Recommendations on policy include addressing conflict with parties involved without tabling the same before people that had nothing to do with the conflict, employing a variety of means to communicate with staff instead of relying solely on staff meetings. Recommendations for further research include finding out the effectiveness of using staff meetings as a means of communication in schools and the effectiveness of communication and its role in addressing conflict in other educational institutions like universities and primary schools.

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