THE IMPACT OF THE INVOLVEMENT OF ACADEMIC STAFF IN THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS IN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
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1.1 Background of theStudy
Employee Participation is generally defined as a process in which influence is shared among individuals who are otherwise hierarchically unequal. Employee participation represents the combination of task-related practices, which aim to maximize employees’ sense of involvement in their work, and human resource management practices that aim to maximize employees’ commitment to the wider organization (Bhatti&Nawab 2011). Participatory management practice balances the involvement of managers and their subordinates in information processing, decision making and problem solvingendeavors.
A sense of belonging is enhanced if there is a feeling of ownership among employees in the sense of believing they are genuinely accepted by management. The concept of ownership extends to participating in decisions on new developments and changes in working practices that affect the individuals concerned. They should be involved in making those decisions and feel that their ideas have been listened to and that they have contributed to the outcome.
Britain, Japan and USA are good examples of countries where there is employee participation. As per Britain’s company Act 1985, it is a requirement on companies with over 250 employees to show in their Directors’ report what steps they have taken to inform or consult with their employees on issues that affect them (Cole 1997). The ‘ringi’ method of decision making used in Japan involves a great deal of informal consultation and problem solving involving the employees who will be affected by the decision and the senior management (Tayeb, 2005). Americans prefer participative management; superiors are usually approachable and subordinates are more willing to question authority. Employee participation represents the combination of task-related practices, which aim to maximize employees’ sense of involvement in their work, and human resource management practices that aim to maximize employees’ commitment to the wider organization (Bhatti&Nawab 2011).
As Armstrong (2008) suggested, organizational commitment plays an important part in Human Resource Management philosophy. Human Resource Management policies are designed to maximize employee commitment, flexibility and quality of work. A committed employee has a strong desire to remain a member of an organization and accept its values in addition to readiness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization.
There is now a substantial body of evidence demonstrating the benefits to organizations for having a strongly committed workforce. According to Mayer & Martin, (2010) reviews of various research demonstrate that employees who are committed and especially effectively committed to an organization are less likely to leave and more likely to attend regularly, perform effectively, and be good organizational citizens.
1.2 Statement of Problem
In the Nigeria Vision 2030, Nigeria aimed at expanding access to university education from 4.6% as per 2008 to 20% by year 2030 with an emphasis on science and technology courses (Nigeria Vision 2030). This target will be attained through the contribution of both public and private universities. In a study on public and private Universities in Nigeria interviews with Universities’ administrators revealed that acquisition of academic staff was one the five key issues facing the development of private universities in Nigeria (Obagi. et el, 2005). Research on academic staff commitment is essential so that the universities can add knowledge on acquisition and retention of affectively committed staff. According to Kirkebut (2010), affectively committed employees are predicted to be high performers, register less absenteeism and turnover less.
Going by the rising rate of university enrolment for studies, the diverse nature of the courses being offered and the programs adapted by the universities in Nigeria, a committed staff is needed if the universities are to accomplish their goals. Most private universities for example, since their establishment in 1990s have been offering programs such as business administration, computer science, accountancy, marketing, economics, and communications among others as they require less investment in resources, human resources not being an exemption (Kipkebut, 2010). However the trend is changing where courses like science and technology, engineering, medicine & health, law among others have been introduced in the private universities between 2008 and 2013 (CUE Approved Programmes, 2013). This calls for private universities to put measures in place to attract and retain their own committed staff. Most of the private universities have been operating with few full-time staff and mainly rely on part-time lecturers from public universities. A number of private universities hire public university lecturers to design their programmes in order to pass the Commission for Higher Education(CUE)scrutiny(Kirkebut,2010).Inastudyof139
academics from a Jordanian university Al-Omariet al. (2008) found that organizational commitment had significant positive effects on intent to stay and therefore they suggested that efforts to improve faculty retention should focus on the work-related factors that affect employee commitment.
The CUE requires that each academic programme be headed by an appropriate and qualified full time academic staff. The minimum academic qualifications of academic staff shall be at least one level above that of the academic programme. The ratio of full-time to part-time academic staff members is required to be 2:1. The maximum lecturer student ratio for the theoretical-based courses is 1:50 and 1:20 for practical-based courses (Commission for Higher Education, 2011). Most universities in Nigeria have not been able to maintain the required standards with recently established public and private universities being the most affected. For example according to statistics released by CUE in 2013 Nigeriatta University, with 61,928 students, has 961 academics and so there are on average 65 students per lecturer. Moi had a ratio of 1:47, with its 34,477 students and 736 teaching staff. University of Nairobi’s ratio was 1:36 which is low as most of its courses are science based. Educational managers of the various universities need to understand the various predictors of staff commitment to retain their employees with an aim of achieving their organizational goals and operating within the CUE legalrequirements.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.3.1 General Research Objective
The general objective is to analyze the determinants of organizational commitment amongst academic staff in the public and private universities in Nigeria.
1.3.2 Specific Objective
- To investigate the effect of employee direct participation in decision making on academic staffs’ organizational commitment in the private and public universities in Nigeria.
- To make recommendations to the managers and administrators for effective human resource policy formulation.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
The study will be guided by the following null hypotheses:
H01: Employees’ direct participation in decision making does not affect their organizational commitment.
Ha1: Employees’ direct participation in decision making does affect their organizational commitment.