THE IMPACT OF WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT ON THE PERFORMANCE OF COUNCIL EMPLOYEES IN CAMEROON. THE CASE OF KUMBA CITY COUNCIL
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This study is an appraisal of the Impact of Workplace Environment on the Performance of Council Employees in Cameroon. The case of Kumba City Council (KCC). The study is segmented into five distinct chapters and has three specific objectives which are first, to assess the effect of employee motivation on employee performance in Kumba City Council; second, to examine the effect of job design on employee performance in Kumba City Council; and, third, to investigate the effect of management style on employee performance in Kumba City Council. Two theoretical frameworks were made use of in this study, one main theory: Victor Vroom’s Expectancy Theory (2007), and one supportive theory, Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. The study area comprised the Kumba City Council and the Kumba town itself, where data was collected from respondents having expert knowledge on issues raised. The survey design was made use of in the study and two hundred questionnaires were distributed to respondents in the-above cited study area. And there was a return rate of one hundred per cent. Additionally, twenty (25) participants were interviewed during data collection, hence, the study made use of the mixed method of research- that is mainly quantitative but slightly qualitative as well. The finding relating to the first objective indicated that financial motivation of council employees by KCC management has a strong significant positive influence on the performance of council workers in KCC. Likewise the finding relating to the second objective revealed that there is a significant positive relationship between job design and performance of Kumba City council employees. As a sound job design helps in clarifying roles, systems and procedures; reducing repetitive elements within and between jobs; and optimising the workers’ responsibility. Similarly, the finding for the third objective showed that good Management style has positively impacts the performance of Kumba City Council employees. Finally, drawing from respondents’ perceptions in the study, five policy recommendations were made by the student Investigator which include: KCC management should have a Feedback loop, that is, an Effective Grievance-ventilating Procedure in Place. Likewise, KCC should try as much as possible to build a work environment that attracts, retains and motivates its employees so as to help them work comfortable and increase organization productivity. Also, council Management should find ways and means of communicating their goals and strategies to Council employees in order to achieve its mission and vision. Next, KCC should revisit its job design such that certain workers are not over-tasked resulting in stress and finally, management should constantly assess the necessity for wage raise of its employees considering the rising cost of living in Kumba. In the end certain recommendations for further studies were suggested by the student Investigator to other researchers, scholars and academics.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Working environment plays an important role towards the employees ‘performance. Working environment is argued to impact immensely on employees’ performance either towards negative or the positive outcomes (Chandrasekar, 2001:67).In the world, there are international organizations who debate the rights of employee. Most people spend fifty percent of their lives within indoor environments, which greatly influence their mental status, actions, abilities and performance (Dorgan, 1994:14). Better outcomes and increased productivity is assumed to be the result of better workplace environment. Better physical environment of office will boosts the employees and ultimately improve their productivity. Various literature pertain to the study of multiple offices and office buildings indicated that the factors such as dissatisfaction, cluttered workplaces and the physical environment are playing a major role in the loss of employees’ productivity (Carnevale 1992:15, Clements- Croome, 1997:11). Working environment can stimulate job effectiveness. Nonetheless, workplace is a forerunner for the employees’ achievement and performance (Ángel del Brío, et al. 2007:11). The employees’ performance with the job satisfaction level have been seen in relationship amongst different employees and how it affects those (Böckermanand Ilmakunnas, 2012:1-5). Increased level of job satisfaction shows greater level of employees’ achievement at work even in complicated jobs for longer run Blase, 2002; Manthei, and Solmon, 2008:47).
Employee performance otherwise referred to as employee turnover, has been a major problem in the public sector, local government institutions as well as other corporate organizations in developing countries hence necessitating an investigation into the reasons for this performance (Hinkin and Tracey, 2000:14). Some of the reasons cited for the dwindling performance of 2
employees has been attributed to low compensation, inadequate benefits/motivations, poor working conditions, poor worker morale, job attitudes, and inadequate remuneration (Milman, 2002; Goymour, 2002:64-67). All these reasons are presumably related to low compensation (wages or salaries) and would undoubtedly contribute to poor worker attitude or morale. Prior studies of workers’ satisfaction and performance have focused on the measures of their attitude about their work environment (that is, the job, supervisors, co-workers) and related attitude to one another (that is, job satisfaction to organizational commitment) turnover, absenteeism from work and other behaviors (Dickter et al., 1996; Firth et al., 2004:71). The causal relationship between employee satisfaction and performance is a topic of growing academic and managerial interest (Reichheld, 1996; Oliver, 1997; Heskett et al., 1997; Estelami, 2000:35-45). This stream of research has helped conceptualize the notion of a “quality service (Heskett et al., 1997:12), in which institutions and firm performance is hypothesized to be dependent on the satisfaction levels of employees and customers of a service organization. The service profit chain postulates that higher employee satisfaction levels lead to high public and customer satisfaction, and ultimately affects public and consumer loyalty and performance. This line of thinking not only has an intuitive appeal, but it also highlights the critical role of public, customer and employee satisfaction.
Employee performance management is an organizational process that aligns the employee measures, skills, competency, development plans and delivery of results. The business dictionary defines it as activities related to a job that is required of an employee, and how well these are done. In an organizational setting, there are different types of resources that are used to enhance the smooth operations of an organization such as human capital, money, machinery and raw materials. Out of all these resources, human capital is the only living resource that an organization has. Any organization can be able to afford the right materials or enough money or even up-to-date machinery to conduct their operations smoothly but not every organization can afford the right human capital. Human resource is a very vital asset to an organization because it helps an organization achieve its competitive edge against its competition in the same industry. For this reason, employee performance is very important to the twenty first century organizations for this will enable them compete favorably against the changing environment with other organizations.
According to research by M’Mbui (2011:1-11), performance may be influenced by a number of factors which include; individual personality, the values instilled in them, attitudes and competence of an individual which is a mixture of how they perceive things and their motivation. However, it was also indicated that biographical characteristics like their age, their sex, status of marriage and seniority level could not really give exact and reproductive facts of links to improve employee accomplishments and their job satisfaction.
For one to get to know how well or badly they may have performed, a performance management tool has to be used to assess them. There are various tools that could be used in measuring success in an organization according to Guck (2013:54-55). The first tool is the 360 degree feedback that is used on managers by the people that work with them on a day-to-day basis. Secondly, the balanced score-card may be used which entails a combination of quantifiable information such as sales quotas and budget position. Another tool that can be used is management by objectives where managers come up with goals for the employees then they get to be measured at the end of a period to see whether these goals have been attained. Self-evaluation is a tool used by an individual to measure their own performance in comparison with that of their superior (Gunk, 2013:32).
Organizations are facing increased competition due to globalization, and external environmental factors. Each and every organization has the responsibility to enhance the performance of their employees because of its importance in achieving ultimate goals (Nassazi, 2013). The effective management of your employees’ performance should: contribute to business success by ensuring that individual efforts are linked to business objectives; improve the motivation and performance of staff by giving them positive feedback and by providing them with opportunities for training and development; provide a basis for linking rewards to performance; give the company more information about individuals and their needs (Cushway, 2015).A job performance that is good gives an individual an assurance of security hence they do not hop from one job to another in search of a new position. This happens when their managers are able to understand their expectations and professional goals, as well as giving them feedback from time to time just to make sure that they are at their best. All in all, good job performance enhances the reputation of an employee hence enhancing them in developing their careers (McQuerrey, 2014:23-27).
Recruitment of the right staff, employee redundancy, talent retention, development of staff as well as issues with performance management processes tend to be the major obstacle that Nigeria and Uganda face in achieving optimum productivity in their organizations. This may be resolved however by good rewarding systems and development and training (Kibichii et al., 2016:89).
Productivity in Pakistan is perceived as a threat to many organizations because many managers do not practice good performance management techniques. This can be suctioned by implementing proper performance management techniques such as motivation to increase the psych of employees (Kibichii et al., 2016:91-101).
In Kenya, a number of studies conducted in different banks, the ministry of Energy as well as various supermarkets indicate that a good performance management process may actually affect the productivity of employees in an organization (Kibichii et al., 2016:45).
Kumba City Council is located in Kumba, the head quarter of Meme Division in the South West Region of Cameroon is located between latitude 3 and 4 north of the equator and between longitude 9 and 10 Greenwich. Kumba is situated at a road junction with roads leading to the four corners of the region; Mamfe, Mbonge, Tombel and Buea. Kumba Municipality covers a surface area of 286 Km2 and harbours more than 10 major villages. It has 3 sub divisional councils; Kumba 1, Kumba Kumba 3 Councils. All three sub-divisional councils have local mayors. The municipality is also run by a City Mayor and Also known as referred to many as K-Town; Kumba is the largest town and the economic capital of the South West Region. It is equally the headquarter of meme division and occupies a central position within the division with roads leading to the interiors of the division, and other major towns of the South West Region (SWR) together with some of the national roads that include national road number 8, running to the Nigeria border town of Mamfe, national road number 16 running to the Korup National Park at Mundemba.
KCC is strategically based in an agricultural zone with many organizations including business ordanizations, soft stone quarrying collection, water supply waste collection, development plans approval, survey and beaconing of land, cleaning of the town and markets, street lighting, beautification and greening of the town, paved road repairs, education, issuance of business permits, bus park management, protect the natural resources from pollution and exhaustion, opening, grading and gravelling of town roads, and may others.
The aforementioned services are highly demanded by the public and very important towards the growth of the City and socio-economic development of the city dwellers which has been affected by many factors in recent times, most especially the current socio-political crises. Therefore compelling the research team to investigate the challenges that influence the employees’ performance in KCC such that they provide quality services to the public. However, there has been a hue and cry over the quality of services ranging from garbage and waste management, collection and disposal, pollution, civil status provision services, procurement of housing construction permits among others. Therefore, this study sought to examine whether the above objectives are being achieved by the workers in KCC.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Noble (2009:12-14) states that more attention should be paid in identifying and dealing with working environment because when employee have negative perception to their environment they sometimes suffer from chronic stress. Opperman (2002:87) stated that, working environment means those processes, systems, structures, tools or conditions in the workplace that impact favorably or unfavorably individual performance. The working environment also includes policies, job design, management style, employee motivation, work rules, culture, resources, working relationships, work location, internal and external environmental factors, all of which influence the ways that employee perform their job functions.
Performance management helps in ensuring that workers contribute towards the objectives, goals and mission of the organization, setting employee expectations motivates them to work hard. By improving the performance of an employee, the overall performance of the institution is automatically improved (Ying, 2012:4). An effective performance management system should have the capability to enhance success of an organization as well as ensuring that the employees are also well motivated (Cushway, 2015:15).
There is an outcry from members of the public and occasionally from council workers. The issues complained of include the quality of services delivery in that there is huge uncollected garbage at collection points, pollution of air and waste materials littered around town due to delayed pick up, poor road network within the town, and field workers are not provided with protective clothing, delayed salaries for councils workers, security challenges posed by the current socio-political crises among others. Therefore, in regard to such many complaints by the members of the public, and workers of the council, the researcher intended to identify the factors affecting employees’ performance in Local government institutions in Cameroon by studying a case of Kumba City Council.
Kumba City Council has been undergoing quite a number of challenges in the recent past, especially with the ongoing socio-political crisis. From high employee turnover, to employees expressing their dissatisfaction through go-slows and even absenteeism. Being a local government institution, KCC has quite a number of opportunities to offer its employees as well as offering quality services to the public but this does not seem to be the case though. The institution without a doubt has surely survived through the tough economic times by trying to navigate itself through the economic downturns and security challenges imposed by the socio-political crisis. It is quite evident that updated equipment, or new technologies or pumping in more money into projects by the government is not enough to enhance productivity of an organization nor maximize service delivery to the public. Better performance can only be achieved when the employees use their unique wits to enhance the productivity of the organization.
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions of this study comprise the general and specific research questions.
1.3.1 General Research Question
The general research question of the study is: What is the impact of workplace environmental conditions such as motivation, job design and management style on the performance of employees of KCC?
1.3.2 Specific Research Questions
The following are the specific research questions of the study:
- How does employee motivation affect employee performance in Kumba City Council?
- What is the effect of job design on employee performance in Kumba City Council?
- In what way does management style affect employee performance in Kumba City Council?
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The research objectives of this study comprise the general and specific research objectives.
1.4.1 General Research Objective
The general research objective of this study is to critically appraise the impact of workplace environmental conditions such as motivation, job design and management style on the performance of employees of KCC.
1.4.2 Specific Research Objectives
The Specific Research Objectives of the Study are:
- To critically assess the effect of employee motivation on employee performance in Kumba City Council.
- To critically examine the effect of job design on employee performance in Kumba City Council.
- To critically appraise the effect of management style on employee performance in Kumba City Council.
FURTHER READING: PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION PROJECT TOPICS WITH MATERIALS