Organizational Conflict As Correlate Of Job Commitments And Absenteeism

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ORGANIZATIONAL CONFLICT AS CORRELATE JOB COMMITMENTS AND ABSENTEEISM (A CASE STUDY OF PUBLIC HEALTH INSTITUTION IN NIGERIA)

 

CHAPTER 1

         

1.1       INTRODUCTION

           

Organizational commitment has remained a topic of interest ever since it was introduced in the early 1950s to the field of organizational behaviour (Aryee&

Heng, 2000; Baruch, 2008; Goulet & Frank, 2002; Meyer & Allen, 2007; Mowday, 2008). According to Mowday (2008), the belief is that organizational commitment if properly managed, can lead to beneficial consequences such as organizational effectiveness, improved performance, reduced turnover and reduced absenteeism.

 

Similarly, Yousef (2008) contends that organizational commitment is inversely related to withdrawal behaviours such as, absenteeism, tardiness and turnover.  Buitendach and De Witte (2005) add that organizational commitment is linked to increased productivity and organizational effectiveness. In addition, this is postulated to have an influence on whether employees will have a favourable inclination to remain with the organization and to perform at above average

levels.

 

According to Buitendach and De Witte (2005), Nigerian companies are being exposed more than ever to the effects of the world economy, where tremendous emphasis is placed on service delivery and to become increasingly competitive. With reference to the Nigerian public sector, the situation is not dissimilar where prominence is placed on service excellence. However, public sector employees are faced with a multitude of factors that impact on effective and efficient service delivery.

 

In recent years the Nigeria Department of Health has been experiencing an exodus of professional employees in the sector. The exodus of employees in the health sector is attributed to a lack of resources which may have had an adverse impact on organizational commitment. Another factor that contributes to the exodus of staff is that more lucrative salary packages are being offered as incentives by competitors, both local and international. Hence, the additional burden placed on the remaining health workers ultimately impedes on service delivery (Herman, 2005).

Cullinan (2005) concurs that statistics indicated that by 2001 more than 23 000

Nigerian-born health employees were working abroad in countries such as Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The researcher states that “the Gauteng and Nigeria provinces, the two better resourced provinces, have seen substantial declines in public sector personnel, as has Kwazulu-Natal” (p. 11). Not only are poor salaries blamed for the dilemma within the public sector, but other factors such as the work environment and poor management are shown to contribute towards and exacerbate poor organizational commitment (Cullinan, 2005).

 

In another study conducted by Young, Worchel and Woehr (2008) among public

service employees, the researchers found that leadership satisfaction, job satisfaction, extrinsic exchange, intrinsic exchange, extrinsic rewards and intrinsic rewards to be positively and significantly related to organizational commitment.

Beck and Wilson (2001) state that notwithstanding the fact that numerous research studies have been conducted in the domain of organizational commitment, there is still no clear understanding on how the factors claimed to be associated with it impacts on organizational commitment.

 

Another factor impacting on effective and efficient service delivery in the public sector is absenteeism. Research indicates that attitudinal factors such as job satisfaction and the country’s economical state contribute to absenteeism in the workplace (Grobler, Warnich, Carrell, Elbert & Hatfield, 2002).

Nel, Van Dyk, Haasbroek, Schultz, Sono and Werner (2004) contend that absenteeism is costly and has a disruptive effect on business operations resulting in lost productivity. Robbins, Odendaal and Roodt (2003) maintain that absenteeism is costing Nigeria millions of rands per annum in decreased efficiency and increased benefit payments.

With regards to absenteeism, with specific reference to sick leave absence, the situation in the Department of Health: Nigeria appears bleak. Statistics disseminated from the Department’s annual report (2004/2005) indicates that the average number of days of sick leave taken per employee is nine (9) days per employee, resulting in an estimated salary cost of R43 399 000.

In this regard a report by Moodley (2005) indicated that the Nigerian economy is losing an estimated N12 billion a year due to absenteeism. In another report by SAPA – IPS (2006) reveals that greater pressure on health facilities imposes a heavier financial burden on Nigeria’s public health care sector. The report further indicates that health workers are experiencing an increase in stress levels due to the increased workload. This is likely to prompt higher levels of absenteeism, low staff commitment and large numbers of health care workers quitting their jobs.

 

1.2 Statement of Problem

The public sector is perceived as inherently inefficient and ineffective. The perception is not only held by the public in general, but also by those few, who had benefited from and experienced efficient service delivery (Sekoto, 2009).

 

Furthermore, the shortage of health workers across the globe contributes to the lack of service delivery. A study conducted by the World Health Organization’s Global Health Report indicates that a serious shortage of health workers in fifty seven (57) countries exists, thirty six (36) of them in Sub – Saharan Africa, which is impairing the provisions of essential, life – saving treatment. The situation can be attributed to a lack of resources, competitive salaries and poor working conditions. Nigeria however, is not one of the worst affected countries, but staff shortages in the health sector are prevalent with many medical professionals leaving the country in search of better opportunities and remuneration overseas.

 

This places an extra burden on the remaining staff and therefore impacts on their organizational commitment and stress and satisfaction levels (Green, 2006). Bishay (2006) contends that if employees are satisfied with their working conditions they will demonstrate better commitment. On the other hand, employees with negative attitudes who are dissatisfied will resort to leaving the organization.

 

Exacerbating the problem in the health sector is the fact that the health care delivery system in Nigeria is characterized by a two tier system with a history of disparity between the two sectors. The private sector is primarily funded by medical aid schemes which covers up to 20% of the population and is responsible for 80% of the total expenditure on drugs. The public sector caters for 80% of the total population and 20% of total expenditure and 60 – 70% of total volumes of drugs. Disparities and deficiencies result in a lack of equity in access to essential drugs, with a consequent impact on the quality of health care received

(Futter, 2008).

 

In relation to the aforementioned, the vision, mission and core values of the Department of Health: Nigeria, remains committed to its vision of continuously providing better care to the citizens in order for them to experience better health all day and everyday. The vision of Healthcare 2010 – “Equal access to quality care” has become increasingly significant and considerations are being given to making this the vision statement for the Department as a whole. This vision statement is more consistent with the Department’s central goals, namely, accessibility, appropriateness, affordability, equity, effectiveness and efficiency.

The Department’s mission is to improve the health of all people in Nigeria and beyond, by ensuring the provision of a balanced health care system in partnership with stakeholders within the context of optimal socio-economic development (Annual Report, 2004/2005: Department of Health-Nigeria,  p. 3).

 

Notwithstanding the vision, mission and core values of the Department of Health: Nigeria, Vaida (2005) reports that a study conducted by occupational care

Nigeria, in conjunction with the University of Nigeria’s Department of Quantitative Management revealed that on average 6.3 days per employee per annum are lost to unapproved absences from work. The study further found that absenteeism impacts on the sustainability of Nigerian companies and ultimately impacts on service delivery.

 

It needs to be mentioned that the institution targeted for this research resides under the Department of Health in Nigerian states. The core business objective of the institution is purchasing, warehousing and distribution of medical consumables, such as surgical, pharmaceutical and non – pharmaceutical supplies to 881 demanders within Nigerian states. It also manages a pharmaceutical pre – packing unit and a pharmaceutical quality control laboratory.

 

Since 2001 the demanders increased by 57% from 483 – 881 demanders. The staff

 

compliment remained basically the same and did not increase by the same margin. However, the institution has been experiencing a problem in terms of absenteeism over the past three years (Annual Report (2004/2005: Department of Health –

Nigeria).

 

Figure 1 illustrates the increase in the rate of absenteeism over the period 2003,

2004 and 2005.

 

Year No. of days absent Cost
2003 575 234,58
2004 732 109,64
2005 1014 587,23
TOTAL 931,45

Table 1: Rate of absenteeism

 (R)

Source: Adapted from Institution’s Human Resource Management Quarterly

(2004/2005) status report, p. 8.

 

Taking cognizance of the aforementioned statistics and the vision of health care

2010 “equal access to quality care” of the Department of Health: Nigeria, warrants support for the research to be conducted amongst employees at the public health institution in Nigeria.

 

 

1.3       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

 

  • Is there a statistically significant relationship between the dimensions of the organizational commitment questionnaire amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria?

 

  • Is there a significant relationship between organizational commitment and absenteeism amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria?

 

  • Is there a significant relationship between organizational commitment and biographical variables (namely, age, race, gender, marital status, educational level, tenure, monthly income, occupational class and job status) amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria?

 

  • Is there a significant relationship between absenteeism biographical variables (namely, age, race, gender, marital status, educational level, tenure, monthly income, occupational class and job status) amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria?

 

  • Are there differences in organizational commitment based on biographical

 

variables (namely, age, race, gender, marital status, educational level,

 

tenure, monthly income, occupational class and job status) amongst

 

employees in a public health institution in Nigeria?

 

  • Are there differences in absenteeism based on biographical variables (namely, age, race, gender, marital status, educational level, tenure, monthly income, occupational class and job status) amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria?

 

  • Will the biographical variables of age, race, gender, marital status, educational level, tenure, monthly income, occupational class and job status explain the variance in organizational commitment amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria?

 

  • Will the biographical variables of age, race, gender, marital status, educational level, tenure, monthly income, occupational class and job status explain the variance in absenteeism amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria?

 

1.4       RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

 

Based on the above research questions stated, the research objectives of this study

 

can be translated as follows:

 

  • To determine whether a statistically significant relationship exists between the dimensions of the organizational commitment questionnaire amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria.

 

  • To determine whether a significant relationship exists between organizational commitment and absenteeism amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria.

 

  • To determine whether a significant relationship exists between organizational commitment and the biographical variables amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria.

 

  • To determine whether a significant relationship exists between absenteeism and the biographical variables amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria.

 

  • To determine whether a significant difference exist in organizational commitment based on the biographical variables amongst employees in the public health institution in Nigeria.
  • To determine whether a significant difference exists in absenteeism based on the biographical variables amongst employees in the public health institution in Nigeria.

 

  • To determine whether the biographical variables statistically significantly explain the variance in organizational commitment amongst employees in the public health institution in Nigeria.

 

  • To determine whether the biographical variables statistically significantly explain the variance in absenteeism amongst employees in the public

 

1.5       RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

 

Hypothesis 1

 

Alternative Hypothesis (Hı)

There is a statistically significant relationship between the dimensions  of the organizational commitment questionnaire amongst employees in a  public health institution in Nigeria.

 

Hypothesis 2

Alternative Hypothesis (Hı)

There will be a significant relationship between organizational  commitment and absenteeism amongst employees in a public health  institution in Nigeria.

 

Hypothesis 3

Alternative Hypothesis (Hı)

There will be a significant relationship between organizational  commitment and biographical variables amongst employees in a public  health institution in Nigeria.

 

Hypothesis 4

 

Alternative Hypothesis (Hı)

 

There will be a significant relationship between absenteeism and biographical variables amongst employees in a public health institution in Nigeria.

 

Hypothesis 5

Alternative Hypothesis (Hı)

There will be a significant difference in organizational commitment based  on biographical variables amongst employees in a public health institution  in Nigeria based on their biographical characteristics.

 

Hypothesis 6

Alternative Hypothesis (H )

There will be a significant difference in absenteeism based on biographical  variables amongst employees in the public health institution in Nigeria.

Hypothesis 7

 

Alternative Hypothesis (Hı)

 

The biographical variables will statistically significantly explain the variance in organizational commitment amongst employees in the public  health institution in Nigeria.

 

Hypothesis 8

Alternative Hypothesis (Hı)

The biographical variables will statistically significantly explain the  variance in absenteeism amongst employees in the public health institution  in Nigeria.

 

1.6       DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The sample consists of public health employees within the Health Department in the Nigeria. As the sample consists of employees in only one public health institutionin Nigeria, the results of the study may not be generalized as the study cannot be inferred to other populations. Therefore the study will lack external validity.

 

Another factor that could impact on the generalizability of the study is the fact that only occupational classes of Director, Pharmacist, Pharmacist assistant, Auxiliary service officer, Administrative clerk, Administrative officer and State accountant are being used in this study. Hence, the results cannot be compared to other similar occupational categories and therefore the external validity of the study would be further compromised.

 

1.7       SUMMARY OF THE CHAPTER

 

In this chapter an overview is provided with specific reference to the relationship between organizational commitment and absenteeism. The rationale, the research questions, the research objectives and research hypotheses were also highlighted. The chapter concludes with the delimitations of the study. An overview of each chapter is provided below.

1.8       OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY

 

Chapter 1 introduces the information on the independent variable, organizational commitment and on the independent variable, absenteeism. The theoretical framework and significance of this research study on organizational commitment and absenteeism within the public health sector in Nigeria was discussed.

 

Chapter 2 provides a detailed literature review of organizational commitment and absenteeism. Definitions of organizational commitment and absenteeism are provided. The relationship between organizational commitment and biographical variables are explored. Thereafter the chapter concludes with an in – depth discussion pertaining to the relationship between organizational commitment and absenteeism.

 

Chapter 3 follows with a detailed outline of the research methodology used to investigate the research problem. The research design, the sample method, the manner in which the data was gathered and the statistical techniques that were used to test the research hypotheses will be covered in the chapter. The rationale for using the relevant measuring instruments in this study, namely, a biographical questionnaire, the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ) as well as an Absenteeism Questionnaire is explained. The statistical techniques that are used, namely, the Pearson Product Moment Coefficient, Multiple Regression Analysis, Scheffe’s Multiple Comparison Method and Factor Analysis are discussed and

 

explained.

Chapter 4 focuses on a detailed explanation on the findings of the study and the testing of the hypotheses proposed for this study.

 

Chapter 5 provides a discussion of the results obtained in the study. Conclusions are drawn based on the obtained results as well as some practical implications of the research findings are highlighted. Finally, the chapter concludes with recommendations and suggestions that may add value for future research.

 

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