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EMPLOYEE RELATIONS: AN EXAMINATION OF ITS INFLUENCE ON EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY IN TELECOMMUNICATION FIRMS IN CAMEROON

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EMPLOYEE RELATIONS:  AN EXAMINATION OF ITS INFLUENCE ON EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY IN TELECOMMUNICATION FIRMS IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Globally, organizations aspire to recruit and retain employees who exhibit high potential for productivity. The productivity of employees is intricately linked to the employee relations and motivational factors present in the workplace. On one hand, favorable working conditions naturally cultivate enthusiasm among workers, diminishing concerns about their welfare. On the other hand, unfavorable conditions breed disenchantment, leading to dwindling commitment and elusive productivity (Makinde, 2018). In addition, Employees represent one of the most valuable assets within any organization, directly impacting its productivity and success. Therefore, fostering positive relationships with employees is essential for organizational growth. The concept of employee relations includes various aspects, ranging from collective bargaining to modern considerations like work-life balance and diversity management (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development). This involves practices aimed at ensuring employee satisfaction and productivity, including recognition, policy development, and conflict resolution (Akinwande, 2019). Managing compensation agreements, work conditions, problem-solving, and communication all fall under the umbrella of employee relations. These efforts contribute to maintaining a healthy employer-employee relationship, ultimately enhancing productivity, morale, and motivation. Gone are the days when employee relations merely involved fragmented negotiations; today, HR professionals play a pivotal role in orchestrating fair agreements and fostering cohesive relationships.  In the past, the contract's terms defined the interactions between management, unions, and workers, but today, employee relations encompass a much broader scope. It involves creating and maintaining a work environment that fulfills the needs of both employees and management. This includes boosting employee morale, fostering a corporate culture, and clearly communicating expectations. Additionally, effective employee relations entail cultivating a motivated and productive workforce by understanding the dynamics of the employer-employee relationship (Sheetal, 2019). It encompasses all interactions between employers and employees within the industry, including opportunities for employee involvement in decision-making, communication channels, policies to enhance collaboration, and mechanisms for addressing grievances to minimize conflicts. While individuals are typically internally motivated, human resources and organizations must focus on fostering an environment where employees thrive, leading to improved performance. According to Stangrecka & Bagienska (2021), motivated employees demonstrate higher levels of commitment, lower turnover rates, and better performance compared to their less engaged counterparts. Given that an organization's success is directly linked to its employees' performance, implementing robust employee relationship initiatives can significantly benefit a workforce that is highly motivated to excel (Ugoani, 2020). Hence, managing these relationships becomes crucial for organization success, as strong and healthy connections can result in increased employee satisfaction and ultimately higher productivity. Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to examine the influence  of employee relations on employees’ productivity in telecommunication firms in Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The working conditions for employees in Cameroon have been widely criticized for falling short of expectations (Chipeta, 2020). Many of them find it challenging to carry out their duties effectively due to a lack of essential equipment, shortages of stationery, and ineffective management systems (Bamidele, Neji & Frank, 2018). Additionally, issues such as the absence of a clear career path, inadequate housing, insufficient medical facilities and drugs (especially in state-owned medical facilities), low wages, limited recreational facilities, among others have been identified as factors hindering the productivity of employees (Edoho, Bamidele, Neji & Frank, 2018). On the other hand, Akwash (2021) highlights that employee often face poor working conditions, unsanitary environments, delayed or denied promotions, and inadequate reward systems. Other prevalent issues in the Cameroonian telecommunication firms include insufficient office space, poor lighting, erratic power supply, inadequate ventilation, lack of necessary equipment, refusal to pay overtime benefits, inadequate welfare packages, and inadequate health insurance schemes, forcing workers to bear their medical expenses (Igbe, Okpa & Aniah, 2017; Ipole, Agba, & Okpa, 2018). This neglect by the management of these firms has led to the migration of experienced employees to developed countries (Ipole, 2018). Furthermore, inadequate training, poor reward systems, delays and denials of promotions, insufficient supplies, and other factors have compromised employees' productivity in the firms (Ipole, Agba, & Okpa, 2018). Previous studies have consistently argued that a conducive working environment is crucial for employee productivity (Ushie, Agba, & Agba, 2018; Neji & Frank, 2018; Igbe, Okpa & Aniah, 2017; Ukwayi & Okpa, 2017; Ukwayi, Agba, & Okpa, 2018; Ipole, Agba, & Okpa, 2018; Ukwayi, Okpa & Dike, 2018). They suggest that without quality work environments and a satisfied, committed workforce, telecommunication firms will fail to achieve their intended outcomes. Therefore, developing and maintaining such environments is essential for efficient service delivery. Hence, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to examine the influence  of employee relations on employees’ productivity in telecommunication firms in Cameroon.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine the influence  of employee relations on employees’ productivity in telecommunication firms in Cameroon. Specifically, the study will;

1. Examine the nature of employee relations in telecommunication firms in Cameroon.

2.Assess the impact of employee relations on employee productivity in telecommunication firms in Cameroon.

3.Identify the challenges of maintaining effective employee relations in the telecommunication firms in Cameroon.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

1. What is the nature of employee relations in telecommunication firms in Cameroon?

2. What are the impact of employee relations on employee productivity in telecommunication firms in Cameroon?

3. What are the challenges of maintaining effective employee relations in the telecommunication firms in Cameroon?

1.5  Research Hypotheses

H0: There is no significant impact of employee relations on employees’ productivity in telecommunication firms in Cameroon.

Ha: There is a significant impact of employee relations on employees’ productivity in telecommunication firms in Cameroon.

1.6  Significance of the Study

The study holds benefits for both employees and employers. Employees will gain from the opportunity to express their individual perspectives on employee relations and its impact on productivity. They can offer recommendations for enhancing employee relations in the telecommunication firms. On the other hand, management stands to benefit as well. The study's findings, along with recommendations from the respondents, will be presented to them. This presentation will help them understand the advantages of fostering positive employee relations and its influence on productivity. Additionally, the study will enlighten management across various organizations, industries and firms about the consequences of relationship practices between employers and employees. It will specifically highlight the necessary employee relations practices implemented by companies for their employees' benefit. Moreover,  subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to the influence  of employee relations on employees’ productivity in telecommunication firms in Cameroon.

1.7 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on the influence of employee relations on employees’ productivity in telecommunication firms in Cameroon.  Empirically, this study will examine the nature of employee relations in telecommunication firms in Cameroon, assess the impact of employee relations on employee productivity in telecommunication firms in Cameroon and identify the challenges of maintaining effective employee relations in the telecommunication firms in Cameroon. Geographically, the study will be delimited to staff in telecommunication firms in Douala, Cameroon.

1.8 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. 

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

 1.9 Definition of Terms

Employee Relations: refers to the interactions, dynamics, and relationships among employees within an organization and between employees and management, encompassing communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, and workplace atmosphere (Olaolu, 2019)

Performance: the extent to which an individual, team, or organization successfully achieves predetermined goals, objectives, or standards within a given time frame.

Motivation:  the internal or external factors that drive an individual to initiate, sustain, and direct their behavior towards achieving a particular goal or fulfilling a need.

Employee: an individual employed by an organization or company to perform specific tasks or duties in exchange for compensation. 

Productivity:  the efficiency with which resources (such as labor, time, or capital) are utilized to generate output or achieve desired results.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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