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Conflict at work



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Diversity can be termed both a curse and a blessing. Kenya is composed of 47 ethnic tribes each holding different cultures and speaking different languages. This has a profound effect on employee relations at the workplace. This case study will therefore depict a situation in a government institution involving employee ethnic practices that result to discrimination and harassment.

Institution Profile

National Land Commission is an independent public body mandated with the task of managing public and private land on behalf of County and National government. It has its headquarters in Nairobi the capital city of Kenya and has regional offices in each of the 47 devolved counties. It provides services to the public such as land management, resolving past land injustices, conducting land planning and surveying to recommend to relevant government bodies. The organization has about 600 employees across the country.

The presence of offices across the country gives room for career advancement for the employees and an opportunity to request transfers to any regional county office. Due to the demographic nature of the country, and the constitutional requirement, the commission has diverse ethnic composition in the headquarter offices but more homogenous in the county offices. This is mainly because that grassroots people do not speak the official language other than their ethnic mother tongue.

Employee Relations

The Commission takes pride in the heterogeneous composition and the trust placed by the citizens on it to resolve the outstanding land injustices in the country. It has guidelines, procedures and ethical code of conducts to ensure the cultural values, respect and integrity are sustained in the organization. It has clear Human Resource policies on equal treatment of employees regardless of gender, ethnic group or religious affiliation.

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Characters Involved

Edward Opiyo: Land Survey and Adjudication Senior Officer

Paddy Gichuru: Nyeri County Coordinator, Land Surveyor by Profession and the immediate supervisor to Edward.

Esther Kivilu: Human Resource Director

Glady Mutheu: Compliance and Diversity Director

John, Peter, Valery, Alice, Kimani and Wambua, are Land Administrative Officers in Nyeri County.

Background and Overview:

Edward Opiyo has worked in the Commission for five years. He began his career journey as an intern at the department of Land Adjudication and Survey. Upon completing his studies he was appointed as a junior Land Surveyor. After two years of proving his passion for the job and providing accurate results in quantity survey, he gained the admiration from his seniors and was involved in all project matters to utilize his accuracy skills in measurements and calculations. He possessed advanced IT knowledge that saw him receive an innovative award for creating a workable digital land data plan for the organization.

His boss encouraged him to apply for a higher post upon seeing a vacancy advertisement as an Assistant Land Coordinator Surveyor in Nyeri County. Though he had doubts because of the ethnic homogenous composition in the County, he still went ahead and applied for the new position. He successfully got the post and his immediate boss was Mr.Paddy Gichuru.

During the interview”,Mr.Paddy promised Edward that they would work as “one happy family” and the office would maximize on the benefits of his diversity.

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