It is generally acknowledged that the productivity of Nigerian workers is rather low. A major challenge of this research therefore was to ascertain the extent to which the environment has influenced the productivity of worker in both the public and the private sector of the Nigerian economy. To this end, a descriptive survey research design was employed and, a sample of 300 employers was drawn from among many organisations in both sectors that are located in metropolitan Lagos. Investigation revealed that factors in both the external and internal work environment as well as employment policies as they currently obtain are unfavourable to the enhancement of labour productivity. It is therefore imperative for governments at the federal and state levels to explore ways of improving and updating infrastructural facilities in order to make the work environment more conducive for enhancement of labour productivity. Similarly, job and organisationally related factors and employment policies must be looked into by the respective employers for possible reviews so as to make them more favourable and thereby challenge workers to be more productive.
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The performance of a corporate organisation, which determines its survival and growth, depends to a large extent on the productivity of its workforce. Infact, the wealth of a nation as well as socio-economic well being of its people depends on the effectiveness and efficiency of its various sub components. Labour is generally regarded as the most dynamic of all the factors that are employed for the creation of wealth, having the potential to energise and serve as catalyst to all of the other resources. (Yesufu, 2000). Productivity is thus of fundamental importance to the individual worker of whatever status, to the organisation whether commercial or not and to the national economy at large and accordingly therefore, to the upliftment of the welfare of the citizen and the reduction if not total eradication of mass poverty (Yesufu, 2000; Akinyele, 2005).
It was admitted that the productivity of labour is low in Nigeria. A seminar by the National Manpower Board on Productivity in Nigeria in 1963 concluded that Nigeria labour was not as productive as it should be on the average particularly when compared with counterpart workers in Europe (Yesufu, 2000). The crusade for productivity increase in Nigeria thus formally began in 1963 when the Morgan Commission recommended the setting up of a National Wages Advisory Council. Since then, the concern for productivity especially in the public sector has increased with intensity, culminating to the establishment of the National Productivity center under the Federal Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity (Osoba, 1999; Umeh and Usman, 2000). The primary duty of the National Productivity Center, as spelt out by Decree No. 7 of 1987, is to stimulate productivity consciousness among Nigerian workers and to develop and supply the right technical solutions to productivity problems across all sectors of the National economy.
Productivity in an organisation can, in principle, be influenced by a wide range of internal and external variables, which may be categorized as:
|•||General factors: Among which are climate, geographic distribution of raw materials, fiscal and credit policies, adequacy of public utilities and infrastructural facilities, etc.|
|•||Organisational and Technical factors: Namely, the degree of integration, percentage of capacity, size and stability of production, etc.|
|•||Human factors: Which include labour-management relations, social and psychological conditions of work, wage incentives, physical fatigue, trade union practices, etc.|
Although attempts have been made in the past to tackle this problem of low labour productivity which has been a long standing concern in Nigeria, though establishment of such bureaucratic institutions as the Productivity, Prices and Income Board (PPIB), the problem remained more or less unabated. It is not in doubt that Nigeria is richly and extra-ordinarily endowed with all the three basic principal factors needed for enhancement of productivity, namely, capital, human and mineral resources, it has been unable to take advantage of these factors to obtain at least a corresponding level of outputs consequent to which the country, several years since it attained political independence, is yet poverty ridden. The basis of a developing economy and associated standard of living, according to Yesufu (2000) is rising efficiency, which is implied by productivity. It thus becomes pertinent to ascertain the extent to which the organisational environment accounts for the rather low productivity of the Nigerian workers. Consequently, this research has attempted to provide answers to the following key questions:
|•||What are that possible effects of some identified factors in the external work environment on workers productivity?|
|•||To what extent could a workers relationship with either management and or co-workers affect his work performance?|
|•||To what extent are factors in the internal work environment perceived as having adverse effects on productivity?|
|•||How important are some specifically named facilities in the work environment to enhancing workers productivity?|
|•||To what extent do factors in the workers place of residence have effect on his productivity.|
Declining productivity in Nigeria has become a persistent concern of economic and business analysts over the past 5 years and as the decline continues so does the search for solutions (Bowman, 1994; Burnstein and Fisk, 2003; Balk, 2003). Dozens of organizations have attempted to solve their productivity problems by application of various innovative management techniques (Balas, 2004). Some private sector agencies have implemented incentive programs in order to influence employee motivation and increase productivity. Many of the motivational tools used in private industry are not available to managers who work in the public sector. An employee working in the public sector knows that salaries are not individually negotiated. Employees who perform their jobs well do not receive larger salary increases than those who perform poorly (Moe, 2000; Steers and Porter, 2000). Therefore the link between pay and job performance that is often present in the private sector is all but non-existent in the public sector. Unlike private agencies, public sector organizations are not profit driven; therefore, the pay is less competitive for its employees. Another strategy used to influence the productivity of private sector workers that is less effective with public sector employees is disciplinary action (Burnstein and Fisk, 2003). It is difficult to discipline pubic employees. Disciplinary action refers to taking an action against an employee that will result in the termination of that employee. In the private sector termination is usually swift, with few if any complications.
Termination in the public sector is not as simple. Once a public employee has been lawfully retained in his/her position after completion of the probationary period the employee typically attains a permanent status. Once this permanent status is attained a public employee is protected by procedural due process rights (Bowman, 1994). Therefore the treat of losing ones job because of decreased productivity is of more concern to a private sector employee than a public sector employee. Other factors have been identified as affecting the productivity of public employees, these are: inadequate resources, inappropriate organizational structure and insufficient motivation (Cherniss and Kane, 2004).
This push for more productivity from public sector agencies is not a new phenomenon. These factors may be important; yet, I believe that the attitudes and management styles of mid-level managers are what really influence employee productivity. One of the primary tasks of the manager is to motivate people in the organization to perform at high levels (Steers and Porter, 2000; Caldwell, 2001; Christesen, 2002). It is generally agreed that the more accurately managers can answer the question of what motivates their employees, the more effective they will be at maximizing productivity, enhancing productivity, enhancing performance and advancing the notion of organizational accountability (Cherniss and Kane, 2004). There have actually been a number of public sectors productivity movements. The beginning of the last century was characterized by an important productivity interest that diminished as the second world war approached. Yet, in the 1970's, nearly half a century after the productivity movement began, a number of conceptual innovations emerged. This movement towards a more productive public sector can be categorized into four periods: Government by the Efficient (1900-1940), Government by administrators (1940-1970), Government by the managers (1970-1980) and Government by the private sector (1980-1990) (Public Productivity and Management Review, 1990).
Government by the Efficient: 1900-1940
A generation ago, a municipal government was considered commendable if it was honest. Today, we demand a great deal more of our public service. It must be not only honest but efficient as well (Jurkiewicz and Massey, 1998; Washnis and Hotzer, 2003). This kind of statement was typical thinking during the first part of the century (1900's). Government by the good turned into government by the efficient. A new emphasis was placed on economy and efficiency. Efficiency was generally defined as accomplishment of work with the least expenditure of manpower and materials (Bouckaert 1990). In 1937, under the Roosevelt administration, the Presidents committee on.
Administrative Management, also known as the Brownlow Committee, published its report. This report stated that The efficiency of government rests upon two factors: the consent of the governed and good management. Administrative efficiency is not merely a matter of paper clips, time clocks and standardized economies of motion. These are but minor gadgets. Real efficiency goes much deeper down. It must be built into the structure of a government just as it is built into a piece of machinery (Presidents Committee on Administrative Management, 1999).
During this period of the productivity movement the real objective was the improvement of government performance (efficiency and effectiveness) (Bouckaert, 1990). The next movement was government by administrators.
Government by Administrators: 1940-1970
During this time there is an apparent shift from the scientific management approach to a general management approach. The first Hoover Commission (2001) made recommendations on Performance budgets and standards. Such concepts as economy and efficiency had a major focus as well as management improvement (Moe, 2000). The main motive for these innovations was no so much the search for better government, as it had been in the first stage, but the wish to control expenses. The changing environment caused the cost of government programs to grow at an alarming rate. This explains why productivity, conceived of as doing more with less, became and remained of interest to the political elite (Bouckaert, 1990). The Bureau of the Budget initiated a productivity project in 1962. In five different agencies, including the US. Postal service, the feasibility and usefulness of productivity measurement was explored. The 1964 report concluded that it would be feasible to develop valid productivity indexes for many government activities (Kull, 2005). Although numerous improvements were made in planning, programming, budgeting, accounting, auditing and systems analysis, the comprehensive productivity concept remained largely unused until the 1970's (Bouckaert, 1990). The third productivity movement was government by the managers.
Government by the Managers: 1970-1980
The 1970's were supposed to be the era of public administration as public administration (Bouckaert, 1990). The distinction and separation from politics remained and the notion that public administration was a profession took hold. The inspiration of the private sector and the eagerness to implement private sector techniques resulted in a new stage. Government by the administrators turned into government by managers. The public administrator became a public manager. This metamorphosis promoted an atmosphere and environment of professionalism, creativity, innovation and combativity that was supposed to be typical of the private sector.
Public administration turned into public management (Perry and Kraemer, 2004). The search for productivity at this time was not motivated by better government, as it was in the first stage, or expense control, as it was in the second stage, but now the search for productivity is fueled by the desire to get more for the tax payers money: more bang for the public buck (Bouckaert, 1990). The final piece in the productivity life cycle of the 1970's was Washnis and Hotzer (2003).
Productivity Improvement Handbook for State and Local Government. This handbook described the tools, techniques and systems for improving productivity and applies them to the different functional operations of state and local government (Bouckaert, 1990). The final period in the history of the productivity movement is the government by the private sector.
Government by the Private Sector: 1980-1990
There was an upswing in the productivity movement in the early 1980's at several levels: committees, reviews and activities. In 1981, the National Productivity Advisory.
Committee announced that a White House Conference on Productivity would be held in September 1983 (Christensen, 2002; Caldwell, 2001). The National Center for Public Productivity had its conference on Putting Productivity to work in March 1983 (Public Productivity Review, 1990). The Bureaucrat started with a series on productivity in the Summer of 1983 (Washnis and Hotzer, 2003). All these were indicators of a renewed interest in the productivity movement (Bouckaert, 1990). Two trends were dominant during this period. One continued the approach pursued in the 1970's and the other was a new approach. This new approach was ideologically motivated and it advocated a private sector-inspired approach to productivity in the public sector and the privatization of many government services. The 1980's became known as the era of less government and what remained was government by the private sector.
With all these changes in the evolution of productivity, its no wonder that public agencies seem to be grasping at straws when it comes to discovering what influences employee production. Factors such as job satisfaction, pay and contributions to the overall agency are all influential in employee productivity, but I still believe that it is the managers, the mid-level managers, that have the biggest influence over employee productivity.
Productivity as Yesufu (2000) declares is often described, with ample justification, as the secret of business success, economic progress and increasing wealth. In general parlance, however, productivity is the measure of the ratio of the output to the amount or quantity of the resources input, which is utilized in the relevant production process. Over a given time scale, productivity is a measure of the efficiency of an enterprise, or an economy-namely, how effectively given resources are, or can be utilized. There is a presumption that if productivity or efficiency is low, even abundant resources will be frittered away as a result of high-cost and inefficient exploitation of such resources.
In the literature, it is posited that the industrial revolution and the movement away from agrarian society was the pivotal point in history that instigated the concern with workers output (Kartzell and Yanalorich, 2000). The major schools of thought, namely, Frederick W. Taylor and the Human Relations Movement have impinged on productivity since the mid-nineteenth century. Among a number of factors that were since that time believed to have some influence on productivity are (a) the growth of organised labour un ions, (b) technological advancement and (c) the changing role of government. For instance, government was assumed to have some influence on productivity, albeit often indirect through labour legislation, consumer protection regulations and even tax regulations, which may redirect the way in which factors of production are allocated.
Based on the idea that productivity is a systematic concept concerning the conversion of inputs to outputs by the system under consideration, Thomas and Rodney (1998) Akinyele (2005) proposed that this dynamic concept can be defined more specifically as outputs relative to the four major resource inputs of the firm, viz:
Productivity so defined is referred to as Total productivity (i.e., total outputs/total inputs) output relates to only one, two, or three of the inputs are thus partial measures of productivity. e.g., output per unit of capital, per unit of material, per unit of energy, respectively. Similarly, McBeath (1996) defines productivity as a measure of how well resources are brought together in organisations and utilized for accomplishing a set of results. Based on this view, productivity implies reaching the highest level of performance with the least expenditure of resources. The foregoing are in consonance with the common approach to productivity which according to Adamu (1991), is a type of relation between output and input. The relations as Adamu states further, compares outputs with one or more inputs, often factors inputs like labour and capital to define some meaningful measures like:
|•||The work environment as to be safe and healthy, i.e., no hazards and no undue risks.|
|•||The opportunity to use talents effectively to acquire new skills and knowledge for advancement must be ever present.|
|•||The employees at all levels have occasions to develop their capabilities through problem solving and planning.|
|•||The social climate of the organisation is free from prejudice and rigid classifications.|
|•||The job does not take excess time and energy from other aspects of life.|
Oloko (1991) similarly identified some socio-cultural factors affecting productivity and excellence in some Nigerian organisations, viz:
|•||Low level of national consciousness.|
|•||Existence of wide spread corruption.|
|•||Personalisation and monopolisation of offices by the bureaucrats.|
|•||Intense and negative class consciousness on the part of bureaucratic elites in their relationship with their subordinates.|
|•||Absence of a keen sense of punctuality.|
Remarkably, several factors have as Akerele (1991) pointed out, affected productivity one way or the other. They range from environmental, technological organisational, cultural, sociological and economic factors and the human factor. However, the significance of the influence of the environment on organisations operational activities and performance was only acknowledged by Johnson and Scholes (1988), Jones (1996), Akerele (1991), Okpechi (1999) and Yesufu (2000) among others. Infact, Stoner et al. (2000) and Weihrich and Koontz (1994) stress that organisational activities are influenced by what happens in the external environment. Akerele (1991) also points out that inability to ineffectively manage the human factor as manifested in several negative ways including the following; employees often arrive at the office fatigue and exhausted as a result of poor transportation facilities and harsh living conditions in most urban cities. They are also compelled to make use of materials and machinery which are far from suitable for attaining the desired level of performance.
In view of Oloko (1991) it is not enough for us to understand the socio-cultural sources of these deviant orientations, it is necessary for us to do something practically to arrest and control them. Productivity should reflect our total commitment to improve the way we do things, our attitude to work, a commitment to improve our work ethics, a commitment that whatever we do today can be improved upon (Akerele, 1991).
Tackling and overcoming the problem of low productivity of Nigerian workers is not impossible although daunting. As Yesufu (2000) remarks, given the same conditions, as those prevailing in the more developed metropolitan countries, there was every reason to believe that the Nigerian worker could be as efficient and productive as its counterparts anywhere in the world. If there are basic infrastructural facilities such as good drinking water, constant flow of electricity, reliable transportation systems, good roads and health facilities, productivity of Nigerian citizenry will not be below par (Okpachi, 1999).
The importance of rising levels of productivity for national, sectoral, enterprise and the individual welfare as Yesufu (2000) remarked can never be over emphasized. A developing economy necessarily implies positive productive growth.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
This study was carried out in Lagos metropolis a city with high concentration of government offices-ministries (state and federal), government parastatals including tertiary educational institutions, as well as a vast number of privately owned commercial and industrial enterprises.
The survey research designed was employed for data collection. A combination of judgemental and convenience sampling procedure was used to select organisations for study. However, the stratified sampling technique was used to select respondents from among the organisations involved in the research.
The research instrument is a structured questionnaire designed by the researcher himself. First, there was a preliminary survey which involved the conduct of a depth interview where a least of Guide Questions was used to gather limited data from a small sample of thirty individuals. Their responses formed the basis for drafting the data collection instrument-the questionnaire. The variables identified as having either a direct or indirect bearing on the organisations were grouped into two, viz:
|•||Factors related to the external work environment.|
|•||Factors related to the internal work environment.|
The questionnaire was administered to workers in both the public and private sector of the economy. The questionnaire was used to gather specific data as follows:
|•||Bio-data/personal information about respondent.|
|•||Reason why people work.|
|•||Relationship of the respondent with management and co-workers.|
|•||Labour turnover rate in organisations.|
A sample of 300 respondents was used for the study-150 each from the public and private sectors. The three categories of employees-management staff, senior staff and junior staff were included in the sample for the two sectors respectively. Howbeit, only 250 questionnaires were eventually retrieved (after repeated calls); given a response rate of 90%.
The data gathered by the research instrument were largely nominal. Precisely, the five point Likert-type rating scale was employed to engage such indices as (1) the extent of an activity, (2) the level or degree of satisfaction and (3) the degree of importance, etc. simple descriptive statistics were used for data analysis. This includes frequency distribution and weighted scores. The weighted scores in particular facilitated comparison since they were assigned ranks in most cases.
The respondents involved in data analysis were split in equal numbers (125 each) between the public and the private sectors of the economy. Data analysis revealed that the sample was fairly representative of all segments of a typical work organisation in terms of age group, income, job status, state of origin/ ethnic group, etc. subsequently, the data were analysed with the intent to provide answers to the research questions that were earlier posed to guide the conduct of this research.
Possible Effect of the External Environment on Workers Productivity
An attempt was made to ascertain the possible effect of some specifically identified factors in the external work environment on workers productivity. A number of factors assumed to be related to the availability and adequacy of infrastructural facilities were identified as having a major impact on the productivity of individuals.
To the respondents in the public sector, the availability of good and affordable medical/health facilities ranked most important (WS = 439), next in the rank was the availability of reliable, adequate and efficient public transportation (WS =424); others were the availability of adequate and constant electricity supply (WS = 406); provision of decent and convenient accommodation devoid of noise, filth, etc. (WS = 389) and the availability of regular and adequate drinking water (WS = 386). However, respondents considered the availability of affordable and dependable telephone services the least important (WS = 352) (Table 1).
|Table 1:||Respondents assessment of the relative effect of some notable factors in the work environment on workers productivity|
|Filed survey, 2006|
|Table 2:||Respondents perception of adverse effect of job related pressures on labour productivity|
|Field survey, 2006|
To the respondents in the private sector, the need for good and affordable medical/ health facilities was rated most important (WS = 444), the availability of reliable adequate and efficient public transportation ranked second (WS = 420), next was the availability of constant and adequate electricity supply (WS = 403). However, factors that the respondents considered comparatively less important were the availability of affordable and dependable telephone services (WS = 375) and the availability of regular and portable drinking water (WS = 332) (Table 1).
Further more, 92% of the public sector sample considered the existence of domestic/family related problems as an important factor which could affect the individuals performance on the job. Similarly, 86% of respondents from the private sector rated it as very important.
Factors in the Internal Work Environment
The organisationally related factors featured in the survey are as shown in Table 2. The rating of respondents in the public sector in decreasing order of importance was: lack of facilities needed to meet set targets (WS = 406); inability to meet set targets (WS = 357); setting unrealistic/non feasible organisation targets (WS = 339), working with non-qualified/non-skilled subordinates (WS = 316).
Similarly, the respondents in the private sector rated for the factors as follows:- lack of needed facilities was also rated most important (WS = 380), followed by inability to meet the set target (WS = 373), next was the setting of unrealistic organisation target (WS = 345) and working with non qualified subordinated (WS = 323).
Notably, in both sectors of the economy, lack of needed facilities as the greatest negative effect on productivity, followed by the inability to meet set target. All the factors in both the external and internal work environment can therefore be said to affect productivity adversely if absent in any organisation. In addition, the result in both sectors of the economy appears to be in consonance.
The Effect of Workers Relationship with Management and/or Co-Workers on Work Performance
This research also examines the role that human factors play in enhancing workers productivity. The human factors are: (1) Relationship with management and or co-workers, (2) Level of fringe benefits attached to the job. (3) Factors relating to the individual workers place of residence.
The respondents were asked to rate a number of factors, which are presumed to influence the relationship between management and co-workers and therefore have effect on the performance of individuals on the job. The summaries of their responses are shown in Table 3.
In the public sector, discriminatory attitudes by management was rated most important (WS = 397); next was non compliance by management with official channels in resolving problems (WS = 378); communication problems arising from poor organisational design (WS = 369), working at odd/extra hours (WS = 336); while mutual suspicion between supervisors and subordinates (WS = 326); tribal/religious sentiments among colleagues (WS = 313); working with non cooperative subordinates (WS = 294) and indifference/non challant attitude to work by colleagues (WS = 292).
|Table 3:||The extent to which relationships with management and co-workers could affect individuals performance on the job|
|Field survey, 2006|
Similarly, the private sector rated non compliance by management with official channel of resolving problem as the most important (WS = 375); next was discriminatory attitudes by management (WS = 365); communication problems arising from poor organisation design (WS = 343); working with non cooperative subordinated (WS = 306); an indifferent/ nonchalant attitude to work by colleagues (WS = 3000). However, respondents attach the least importance to tribal/religious sentiments among colleagues in respect of effect on workers productivity. It can therefore be inferred that relationships with management band co workers are quite important and have a direct consequence of the individual at work.
The Effect of Provision of Facilities on Productivity
Furthermore, the possible effect of fringe benefit on workers productivity was also examined in this survey. It was evident that in both the public and private sectors, respondents considered the provision of staff clubs for relaxation, provision of decent and affordable catering services at work, as well as the provision of staff common rooms as been very important for improving individuals performance at work. The survey also revealed that respondents in both the public and private sectors surprisingly rated the provision of opportunities for vacations and annual leave, which will normally be assumed a fringe benefit that workers should rate highly, the least important (Table 4, 5).
Hence, it can be inferred that productivity of fringe benefit (that are not monetary in nature) by employers of labour in all sectors of the economy is very important in improving individual workers performance.
The Effect of Factors in the Place of Residents of Productivity
In addition, the extent to which factors related to the place where respondents live could affect their job output was also investigated. It was found that in both the public and private sectors, respondents attached utmost importance to sanitation and related problems, closely followed by cultural differences among people and the need to comply with social norms respectively. However, respondents in both public and private sectors rated frequent visits by friends and relations unimportant.
The foregoing is an indication that the role of factors associated with employees place of residents and their possible effects on individuals performance at work cannot be underplayed.
|Table 4:||Perception on possible adverse effect of job related pressures on labour productivity|
|Field survey, 2006|
|Table 5:||The extent to which factors in the workers place of resident could influence labour productivity|
|Field survey, 2006|
CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATION
Employee satisfaction is a difficult concept to gauge. A number of factors can affect hoe employees respond to change within their environment. Companies can increase productivity in a variety of ways. The most obvious methods involve automation and computerization which minimize the tasks that must be performed by employees.
Increases in productivity also can influence society more broadly, by improving living standards and creating income. They are central to the process generating economic growth and capital accumulation.
Corporate organisations that must survive and grow particularly in a competitive business environment must ensure that appropriate environment for increased work performances are created. There are strong indications that a lot need to be done by employers of labour in Nigeria (both in the public and private sector) to provide a suitable work environment such as would meet employees expectation, increase to stimulate job satisfaction and in effect enhance productivity of the work force. The findings of this research have made it evident that:
|•||The basic factors in the external work environment particularly the inadequate supply of an, or inefficient infrastructural facilities have imbedded the productivity of the workforce. Domestic/ family related problems also play an important role in determing productivity of workers.|
|•||Factors in the internal work environment particularly, the job related pressures also have their negative effect on labour productivity. Coupled with these are the human factors, namely, the workers relationship with management and, or co workers, the level of fringe benefits particularly the non cash benefits, as well as factors associated with the workers place of residents.|
|•||A number of physical facilities and psychological factors that are considered pertinent for enhancing productivity are currently labour expectation.|
|•||A number of job related/ job employment policies such as job orientation for new staff, opportunity for staff training and development, promotion etc are presently perceived as unfavourable to workers and therefore have negative impact for productivity.|
Remarkably, both the internal and external work environment that currently obtains in the private sector is similar to the situation in the public sector. It is therefore imperative for both the federal and the state governments to take stock of factors in the external work environment particularly the infrastructure, with a view to improving and or updating them. This is more so that government in Nigeria are the largest employer of labour and appreciable increase in labour productivity would mostly likely bring about an increase in the wealth of the nation and ultimately help to reduce the poverty level of improving the general standard of living and societal well being (Thomas and Rodney, 1998; Osoba, 1999; Umeh and Usman, 2000). It is advisable for employers of labour both in the public and private sectors to effect an appraisal of their respective internal work environment as well as their employment policies in order to stimulate their work force to greater and or enhanced work performance and productivity.
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