Department of Management, Faculty of Business Administration, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria
Received date: November 08, 2012; Accepted date: December 17, 2012; Published date: December 19, 2012
Citation: Nnadi C (2014) Staff Control: A Management Tool for Productivity of Senior Administrative Staff in Nigerian University System. Int J Econ and Manage Sci 3:205. doi:10.4172/2162-6359.1000205
Copyright: © 2014 Nnadi C. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Visit for more related articles at International Journal of Economics & Management Sciences
Authorities strongly complain that colossal waste abounds on the part of senior administrative staff of the University of Nigeria. Most of them are employed through the environmental influence methods. This makes the managerial function of staff control a productivity-necessity for organization. It refines and refocuses the crude background of these environmental staff and employees into attempting to contribute appreciably to the attainment of organizational goals and objectives. These environmental factors include organization membership through the Federal Character principle of representation ‘whom you know’, family ties and other tribal or social bonds. These factors have gained pre-eminence over merit or technical qualification. These factors entitle them to positions they are not qualified for. As mediocre they perform below expectation and short-change the policies and procedures of the organization. All these directly or indirectly affect and lower the tempo of organization activities. The paper attempts to make penetrating diagnosis of the causes of low level of productivity, an evaluation of the shortchanging tactics and practices with a view of proffering corrective solutions that will maintain or improve the wealthproducing capacity of the resources entrusted to them. They are insistence on the application of merit or technical qualification through the enforcement of the selection criteria in the recruitment of staff, promotion of staff on the basis of effective and efficient performance and adequate motivation to deserving staff to ensure satisfaction on the job and in the organization.
The organization’s objectives and the methods for accomplishing them – plans, strategies, policies and procedures and programmers – defined the job and position requirements. These requirements vary according to levels in the organizational hierarchy. When these requirements are effectively met by staff officers and employees, productivity is high. These job requirements are challenges that face the officers and employees. When they respond competently to these challenges, there is successful performance. Koontz et al.  stress that to meet the requirements or challenges, the manager/organization or the University Administration recruits, selects, places and promote qualified people. The recruitment, selection and placement of staff is done in line with organizational policies, supply and demand of managers (internal environment) and relevant laws, regulations and availability of managers (external environment). The job and position requirements call for special skills for a match on the part of staff. The special skills are (i) technical skill (knowledge and proficiency in activities involving methods, processes and procedures); (ii) human skill (ability to work with people); (iii) conceptual skill (ability to recognize significant elements in a situation) and (iv) design skill (being able to design a workable solution to a problem) . These special skills are designed to obtain and retain qualified senior administrative staff. This process of selection and placement corresponds to staff control and productivity. The selection decision is based upon merit or congruence of the applicant’s superior skills, cognate experience and job requirement.
These prospective applicants are sources from the Nigerian Labour market which was healthy and highly competitive around 1960, 1970 and early 1980. The market then was international and cosmopolitan in terms of sophistication. The revenue accruing from sale of petroleum products made the Nigerian economy buoyant. The Federal Government with surplus fund on hand decided to take over the first generation universities including the University of Nigeria . The university personnel comprised intellectuals of world or global standards/class. They staked their reputation on high quality productivity. The supporting structures on ground were of immense benefits. For example, the Nigerian University Commission’s office in Washington D.C, catered for the recruitment expenses of each Federal University like the University of Nigeria. It collated the applications of interested overseas candidates and kept the ESTACODE ACCOUNT of the University, out of which the recruitment expenses were met, including reaching out and interviewing the overseas candidates. The selection ratio was high. Complex methods and sophisticated selection criteria instruments were used.
But the situation was changed since the collapse of the national economy from late 1980. The Federal Government appears to be in short supply of fund. University funding is low. The University scope of activities is drastically reduced. This includes advertisements, recruitment, selection and placement of staff in the University of Nigeria. The poor funding can no longer carry the international advertisement. Even national advertisement is now restricted to staff vacancies in the class of principal officers’ positions. For other positions the advertisement is internal, where necessary. Otherwise staff engagement is done through unsolicited application and other extraneous ways. Filling of vacancies is now a family, group or geographical unit affairs. The selection ratio is low and comprises a labour class with no saleable skills and competence and also lacking in technical and scientific skills. The recruitment and selection method is simple top accord with the family or geographical unit arrangement for staff recruitment, selection and placement. The Nigerian educational system: the foundation of sophistication or lack of it in the Nigerian Labour market was adversely affected by the low funding of the University system. This was clearly and vividly exposed by Dr. Ezekwesili, O . A former Nigerian Minister of Education in her 2013 Convocation Address in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The result of the diagnostic that we produced on the state of our (Nigeria’s) educational system and sector was so heart wrenching that I was filled with angst at how low we (Nigerians) had sunk educationally. The failures and limitations of the education you have received during your time here leading to your graduation today will become clearer to you, should you ever seek to do what was very easy for me to do – that is, gain admission to one of the best schools in the world for my graduate studies simply on the strength of my University of Nigeria education.
Consequently, in most of the higher institutions of learning in Nigeria and in the University of Nigeria in particular, earlier researchers have pointed at the dwindling or declining productivity of Senior Administrative Staff resulting from lack of commitment on the job, truancy, competing interest including soldiering (Conserving energy at work for use in other personal endeavors) and general laxity among them. It is against this revolting background that this study intends to examine staff control and productivity of the senior administrative managers in the University of Nigeria.
• The Nigerian University System at the inception stages, have strictly observed the age-old tradition of merit or technical qualification in the engagement of its workforce. The Universities sourced for qualified prospective applicants nationally and internationally through widespread advertisement of vacancies. The overseas’ recruitment teams visited and interviewed these prospective applicants abroad for engagement as staff on the basis of knowledge or merit. Higher offices superintend the lower ones on the basis of superior knowledge. Today these highly cherished selection criteria are now completely ignored or neglected or by-passed by the Universities.
• The cost of the imprudent choices of Nigerian transactional leaders tells adversely on the Educational system. This knowledge inspired and fuelled the zeal of the Minister of Education to bring education to the front burners of national development. But the response of resistance by some of the key political elite to be absolutely necessary reforms in the process of generating consensus and implementation arose from the incentives that drive the choices of extractive elites.
• Subjective factors, like political intervention, political patronage/pressure/favoritism; ímammadu’or whom you know and family ties from same town, local government area, federal character principle, give /offer people positions their respective standards of merit do not entitle them to
• The lack of sophistication of the Nigerian Labour Market facilitates the recruitment, selection and placement of prospective applicants who are not qualified or engaged on the basis of mediocrity. The mediocre is three-quarters down the road to being marginal who is incapable of survival, let alone producing profits. The marginal lives on borrowed time. It exists on sufferance and through the inertia of others.
The main objectives staff control and its impact on the productivity of Senior Administrative staff in the Nigerian University System. The specific objectives are as follows:
• To find out what staff control is
• To determine the effects of environmental factors on staff control
• To identify the strategies for implementing staff control and productivity
• To investigate the impact of these strategies on productivity
• What is staff- control?
• What are the effects of environmental factors on staff control and productivity?
• What are the strategies for implementing staff control and productivity?
• What are the impacts of these strategies on productivity?
This paper has seven sections. The Introduction of the study, the review of related literature, the methodology of the study, the presentation and analysis of the data gathered for the study, and the summary of the findings, conclusion and recommendations.
When the organization objective or goal is selected and known, plan spells out the accepted method for accomplishing the objective or goal. This method will determine the resources necessary for attaining this objective. The organizational function will organize the entrusted resources into a structure that lists activities and men as functions and in sequence of operation. This structure provides the framework of action in the organization or enterprise. It defines the lines of operational contacts and co-ordination as well as the vital linkages and meaningful hierarchies into which human participants must fit in a wholly conceived purpose of action for the attainment of predetermined results. The designed structure clarifies the environment so that everyone knows who is to do what and who is responsible for what results; to remove obstacles to performance caused by confusion and uncertainty of assignment and to furnish a decision-making communications network reflecting and supporting enterprise objectives . The plan through its policies define the merit or technical qualification for engagement of suitable and qualified staff officers and employees for optimal attainment of organization’s goals and objectives. Staffing includes interrelated processes of managerial inventorying selection and development. Makinde  states that effective personnel management requires the development of a process, which will aid the recruitment, selection, placement and training of employees for these jobs that are appropriate to their developed ability. Fatiregun  states that the methods of personnel selection are most likely expected to ensure the employment of reliable and efficient officers for management and employee positions in organization that are concerned about the achievement of their objectives. Also the time schedule for accomplishment of business targets must be strictly adhered to. The ideal business design controls itself through or by information feedback from its results to its validity and it discloses error in accomplishing goals and initiates corrective action. This is control as a cybernetic system. As shown in Figure 1.
The ideal business design has an established timeframe or time period which is the proper ‘present’ for any given business.
Staff control is a monitoring process which ensures that staff performance complies strictly with the lines or methods of achieving organization’s objective dictated by plan and insisting any deviation from plan must be instantly corrected.
The two prerequisites of Control Systems are:
• Controls require plans: What is desired and expected are defined and determined in the plan. Managers and employees must first know what is expected of the methods of accomplishing including both job definition and job specification, timeframe for accomplishing targets to determine whether their organizational unit is performing correctly or otherwise.
• Controls require organizational structure: the structured activities are grouped as functions and assigned as responsibilities to deserving staff with appropriate skills and cognate experience to face the tasks effectively, efficiently and competently. The sequence of operation of activities must be strictly observed.
• The basic control process, where it is found and whatever it controls, involves three steps:
• Establishing Standards which include: verifiable goals and objectives stated in physical terms, such as quantities of products, units of service, labour-hours, speed or expressed in monetary terms such as volume of sales, costs, capital expenditures or profits or may be expressed in verifiable qualitative terms to give a clear indication of performance.
• Measurement of Performance: This is measuring performance against standards or ideals set in the plan. The measurement process is done on a forward looking basis so that deviation may be detected in advance of actual occurrence and avoided by appropriate and timely preventive corrective actions.
• Correction of Deviations: When standards are known and accessible to staff concerned and performance measured in terms that reflect the organization structure, the correction of negative deviation is expedited since the manager then knows exactly where in the assignment of individual or group duties the corrective measures must be applied. The word ‘negative’ implies possibility of ‘positive deviation. This outside the standards set by plan. Correction of negative deviations in performance is the point at which control is seen as a part of the whole system of management and where it coalesces with the other managerial functions.
The environmental factors attempt to transforms cultural ties, family has such kit and kin; social ties such as classmates, relation by pull, political associates into functional relations in organization. They are highly subjection and work on emotion rather than competence. The resources they enjoy are consumed and not invested or processed to maintain or increase their wealth-producing capacities. In Nigeria, the environmental factors are dominant in business sphere of activities and they undermine the recruitment, selection and placement criteria, the merit or technical qualification, the job specifications and job definition whose response make for successful performance of job, strict adherence to organization’s common objective, calculated investment of organization’s fund to create more wealth and ensure long-term survival of the organization. All these principles and theories of business practice are thrown aboard in favour of environmental factors: political pressure, political favouritism, political intervention, and political representation of group or tribe as managers and employees in organization, family business arrangement and others. They consume resources, products and services for social objectives.
Concept of Productivity
The organization or business enterprise must at least maintain or increase the wealth-producing of the resources entrusted to it. Through this economic performance it discharges its purpose of creating customers. This is the function of utilizing these resources productively. This is an administrative function of business. In its economic aspect it is called productivity. Greater productivity means better utilization of resources. Productivity therefore means that balance between all factors of production that will give the greatest output for the smallest effort. And outside of manufacturing, transportation and mining, in distribution, in finance and insurance in the service industries… the increase in productivity has been caused entirely by the replacement of labour by planning, brawn by brain, and sweat by knowledge; for in these industries capital equipment, at its highest, is a small factor .
Productivity is a measure of how well resources are together in organization and utilized for accomplishing a set of results or maximization of resources . It is also reaching the highest level of performance with the least expenditure of resources. This is represented as total output over total input, that is: (Cost of Input/Value of Output). PTPN and IANA Report  shows that productivity is the output resulting a given resource input.
The economic study of the role of education in economic development shows that less than half of the rise in living standards since 1960 in industrial countries has been due to savings and investments from its citizens. The rest of the increase- more than 50% has been due to rising educational levels and to improvements in technology that raise factor productivity across the board”.
Countries invest in the human skills that can help their citizens use modern technology and eventually rise to the stage where those same citizens can develop their countries’ own technology. A country’s educational system is the key to its long-run development . The countries with the most highly educated citizens are also some of the wealthiest in the world in a study by OECDF published by the Wall Street Journal in 2012. For example, the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Finland, Norway, Israel, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia also have among the largest GDPs. Norway and Australia, also featured, have the second and sixth-highest GDPs per capita respectively. All these countries aggressively invest in education. Also Economic evidence throughout numerous researches proves that one key variable that determines how fast nations outgrow others is the speed of accumulation of human capital especially through science and technology education. Their economies are dominated by Entrepreneurs, corporate entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs who are individuals whose education and experience are both broad and deep and who have the requisite skills for identifying and exploiting opportunities, fostering team-based innovation or intercreativity and managing change. As the rate of knowledge obsolescence increases, learning challenges will become more demanding. It becomes a continual point of departure. Learning must therefore become an ongoing process that continues throughout adulthood. The strategy to remain knowledgeable is continual learning which ensures self-renewal and greater self-determination-presenting individuals with an enormous challenge and an opportunity to manage their careers and development .
Control Strategies and Productivity
Strategies for correcting deficient performance are:
• Redrawing Plans or Modifying goals: deficient performance is a negative deviation from set standards that reflect the structure. Plans also flow from select goals. A redrawing of plan implies modification of goals to attain the predetermined goals.
• Exercising the organizing function through the reassignment of or clarification of duties by additional staffing, better selection and training of subordinates or ultimate of re-staffing – firing.
• Through better directing and leading – fuller explanation of the job or more effective leadership.
Here deficient performance may arise from deficiency in skills of performance. This can be corrected internally by reassignment or by firing staff concerned and replacement from within or be corrected externally by hiring more qualified staff.
This can be corrected by giving a more detailed job definition as well as the method of accomplishing the said job or by using constants for practical and professional guidance on job performance in line with plan for the attainment of the predetermined goals or objectives.
The essence of these strategies on productivity is to ensure economic performance that at least maintains or increases the health-producing capacity of the resources entrusted to the organization for the attainment of the predetermined goals or objectives.
Staff control is a rational managerial function for effective production process which ensures that set standards that reflect organization structure constitute the terms for measuring performance to expedite the correction of negative deviations.
The study is on Staff Control- a Managerial Tool for Productivity of Senior Administrative Staff in Nigerian University System. The organization chosen as the case study is University of Nigeria. The study makes use of both primary and secondary data. The primary data were collected through the instrument of questionnaire and oral interview. The secondary data were sources from books and articles downloaded from the internet. The aspect of management of interest to this to this study is control in the area of staff performance or production process. The cadre of staff under study is the Senior Administrative Personnel in all faculties, Institutes, Centres and Administrative Departments. They are classified as Administrative Staff, Executive Staff and Secretarial Staff. The population of the study is presented in Table 1.
|Staff Cadre||Number of Employees|
Table 1: Population Distribution.
A sample size of 200 was determined using Taro Yamane’s formula. The data collected were presented in frequency tables. The hypotheses were tested using the Chi-Square.
Data Presentation and Analysis
The data collected from the Respondents were presented, analyzed and interpreted. Table 2 shows that out of 200 respondents, 96 per cent Education significantly empowers employees to perform or contribute toward organizational goals and objectives. Only 4 percent affirmed that education does help them in the performance of their job. There was a zero response under –no-response.
Table 2: Relevance/Impact of Education on their Job.
92% affirmed that Education enhances their effectiveness on their jobs. This shows that Education merit or technical qualification is a strong objective factor in the staff recruitment process. The 8% claim to the contrary absurd and disturbing/worrisome. This may not be a surprise in Nigeria because of the constitutional political factor of the Nigerian recruitment process. Secondly, Nigerians cherish the life of ignoble ease with its attendant contemptible wealth and jettison dignity that is conferred on life of effort and hard work. Thirdly, the quality of Nigerian education is not transactional but exploitative.
Table 3 shows that out of 200 respondents, 98 % claimed that Experience Cognate enhances the performance of their job and 2% claimed to be undecided by ticking – no response. Is this 2% of the respondent in doubt or indifferent to the impact of Cognate Experience on the job. Cognate Experience is an objective factor and cannot easily be overlooked if merit, technical qualification, effectiveness, efficiency and maintaining the wealth – producing capacity of resources underlie the production – process. But Nigerian corporate are renowned in for encouraging and rewarding conformance to existing standards of performance and behaviour, cloning most of their employees into replicas of their predecessors in name of continuity and preservation of corporate culture .
Table 3: Impact of Cognate Experience on Job Performance.
Table 4 shows that 50% of the respondents claimed that human skill – is the most important skill for engaging Senior Administrative Personnel (5% administrative, 30% Executive, and 15% Secretarial). 26% claimed that- - Technical skill – (3% Administrative, 15% Executive and 8% Secretarial); 14% claimed – Design Skill (1% Administrative, 9% Executive and 4% Secretarial) and 10% claimed – Conceptual Skill – (1% Administrative, 6% Executive and 3% Secretarial). The finding in respect to the relative superior importance of – the human skill – as being the only active skill that convert and utilize other passive skills which by themselves only set limits to what can be attained .
|Respondents||No Response||Technical Skill||Human Skill||Conceptual Skill||Design Skill||TOTAL|
Table 4: Special Recruitment Skills.
Table 5 shows that 53% of the respondents claimed that advertisement vacancies at the National level should take precedence over other sources. Others claim in the following order of preference: 32% internal, 15% international level. The 52% National comprise (2% Administrative, 29% Executive and 22% Secretarial); 32% Internal (1% Administrative, 16% Executive and 15% Secretarial); 85% of respondents (53% National and 32% Internal) prefer to have advertisement limited to the National and Internal levels.
Table 5: Scope of Advertisement.
Given the high tribal consciousness in Nigeria the Internal scope would have the highest and possibly the only level of Advertisement. This finding perpetuates the practice of in-breeding that slants and domesticates the educational values and promotes the in-take of prospective domestic academic Administrative and prospective students.
They differ markedly with the standards of global universities. The University is international/global in scope and cosmopolitan in outlook. The University of Nigeria in pursuit this ideal standard stakes its reputation and its future upon the range and depth of knowledge with which the students leave its environs as graduates. This domestication or in-breeding has made it difficult, if not impossible, to gain admission to one of the best schools in the world for graduate studies simply on the strength of the University of Nigeria education.
Table 6 shows that 58% of respondents affirm that – competing interests – is the greatest cause of low productivity (7% Administrative, 30% Executive and 21 % Secretarial); 26% claim lack of sophisticated skill – (comprising 6% Administrative, 10% Executive and 10% Secretarial); 10% claimed – General laxity (5% Executive and 5% Secretarial), 6% claimed –lack of commitment (1% Administrative and 5% Executive). The finding of – competing interest – is rooted in the political policy of representation as a strong recruitment factor. The employee has dual objectives: the company objectives and the political objective that gave him/her the appointment which is not on merit. This violates the organizational principle of common objective goal or target in order to secure cooperation, coordination and harmonization of their individual and joint action. Lack of sophisticated skill because Nigerians have no use for the application of effort and handwork. Whether or not they work, they receive due allocation of fund from the oil- income through the Revenue Allocation Formula. Other factors: General laxity, lack of commitment and even truancy without any score as well as laziness that was not included are cultural traits and unproductive behaviours are politically protected.
|Respondents||No Response||Lack Commitment||Truancy||Competing Interest||General laxity||Lack Sophisticated Skill||TOTAL|
Table 6: Causes of low Productivity of SAS in UNN.
Table 7 shows that application of the selection and placement criteria ensures a proper match between appointees’ duties, functions or responsibilities assigned to him. This match confirms a functional match between job specification and job definition. It defines a success performance. 44% of respondents (comprising 3% Administrative, 31% Executive and 10% Secretarial), 26% of them (comprising 2% Administrative, 18% Executive and 6% Secretarial) claim that the criteria keep employees and staff on both production targets and timeframe for accomplishment of tasks. 15% of them (comprising 1% Administrative, 11% Executive and 3% Secretarial) claims that the criteria eliminate the duplication of appointments efforts or working at cross-purposes. This prevents over-establishment and waste of efforts and keeps staff focused on the right course of action. These set an ideal condition of employment as practiced in developed countries where emphasis is transforming economy of security into economy of abundance.
|Respondents||No Response||Eliminating duplication of appointment/ efforts||Eliminating staff working at cross purposes||Keeping staff on production targets and work timeframe||Ensures proper match between staff appointees and duties/ functions||All of the Above||TOTAL|
Table 7: Objective Factors of Selection and Placement.
Table 8 shows that 78% of respondents claimed that Environmental factors have gained more acceptance as a more reliable selection criterion than merit or technical qualification in University of Nigeria, Nsukka. These environmental factors are the Federal Character Principle of representative of tribe or community in employment enterprises or agencies of government, political consideration/rewarding loyalists or party supporters with choice employments, íma mmadu’ or whom you know has widely acclaimed as portraying the true position of things in Nigeria Public Organizations in a nutshell what the theory is saying is that hardly can any Nigerian get a job, a favour or any other thing without knowing somebody or knowing somebody who knows somebody. This theory has not been tested in the field for its empirical validity but its wide acceptance by Nigerians transforms into ‘laws”. These subjective factors mainly reflect aspects of tribalism. This raises tribal consciousness over and above national consciousness or patriotism. An example is ‘Boko Haram’ terrorist group that defends the Hausa interest instead of Nigeria’s interests. 44% of respondent s saw it differently. But the trend in the recruitment process is shifting markedly from merit to Environmental factors. The respondents confirmed during interview that more people are given jobs in University of Nigeria due to External influence. Secondly, people who are hired through external influence method are unqualified for the job.
Table 8: Environmental factors gaining Acceptance as a reliable selection criterion.
The study is an attempt to call the attention of the University of Nigeria to the oversight or neglect of the selection and placement criteria as the reliable and professional guide in the recruitment of Senior Administrative Staff or Staff of promise with high productive capacity. This is a superior method to the environmental methods; including the family arrangement that today dominate the process of staff recruitment criteria. This dominance is worse in engaging staff for Senior Administrative posts whose duties and functions are generally presumed to be easy with low standards achievable targets. This mistaken assessment makes the senior staff positions an all-comers affair. It consigns to the dustbin of history and enthrones colossal waste of scarce resources of the organization. It also makes personal service a cardinal objective, promotes protection racket and bases promotion or reward on favouritism. This frustrates the strengths of dedicated staff who complain against incompetence to mask their envy against other employees who have pull.
This paper recommends the application of merit through the enforcement of the recruitment, selection and placement criteria to ensure that highly qualified people are placed in high-ranking jobs to ensure the maximization of resources and optimal output through focusing their strength on outward result. The people engaged in University through this method are most likely expected to be very reliable, effective and efficient officers and employees in staff position. This makes the filling of staff vacancies, their input and output to meet the requirements of the University of Nigeria Law 1978 Section 1 Subsection 3(e): to undertake any activities appropriate for a university of the highest standard.
The University of Nigeria staff should be adequately motivated to keep them focused, retain them, and sustain their interest and proficiency in the overall attainment of the University objectives.
The Restoration open to the University of Nigeria to live up to its ideals and remain relevant in national development is to consider and implement these humble and professional recommendations in the interest of the Senior Administrative Staff and the University of Nigeria.