This study explored nexus between modern management techniques and employees performance in the public sector having the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) as its case study. The study adopted descriptive research design. A total number of 93 copies of questionnaire were administered to the respondents during the study while 90 copies were properly filled and returned for the analysis. Data analysis was undertaken at five percent (5%) level of significance. Spearman’s Rank Correlation test wasused to test all the stated hypotheses in order to determine the relationship between the dependents and independents variables in each hypothesis. The findings of the study showed empirically that performance appraisal technique enhances employee performance in the public sector, that periodic assessment is significantly related to employees’ commitment in the work place, there is a significant relationship between Management By Objective (MBO) and employee performance in the public sector. The study recommended that the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) should make use modern management techniques such as employee appraise system and management by objective (MBO) to enhance employees’ productivity. The management should therefore utilized targets, accomplishments, organization goals, time management and efficiency for performance measure purposes.
1.1 Background to the Study
The public sector in the 21st century is undergoing dramatic changes, especially in advanced economies, but also in many parts of the developing world. Globalization and the pluralisation of service provision are the driving forces behind these changes. Policy problems faced by governments are increasingly complex, wicked and global, rather than simple, linear, and national in focus. And yet the prevailing paradigms through which public sector reform are designed and implemented in third world countries like Nigeria is relatively static and do not fully encompass the significance or implications of these wider changes in management (UNDP, 2015: 4).
Since the turn of the 21st, enhancing employees’ performance has become essential for companies to survive, whether they are in the public or private sector. Globalization has brought unexpected changes in management of human, capital, processes and because of this, all organizations are looking for modern strategies to increase performance and mechanisms to withstand any crisis particularly in the public sector (Rawan & Zu’bi, 2015).
One of the most popular modern management techniques used in the contemporary performance or productivity enhancement programme is the application of performance appraisal systems. However, since appraising is considered to be a particularly controversial management practice anywhere it is being practiced, its adoption in the public sector in Nigeria faces numerous challenges and obstacles (Musi, 2015).
Appraisal system provides a rational medium or instrument for measuring individual worker contribution to corporate goals achievement and success. It is a complex modern management function which demand for extra-maturity, fairness and objectivity in assessing individual worker’s job performance based on explicit job related criteria (Onyije, 2015).
Appraising performance is important because since it helps to ensure that the organization system will be easily understood by employees and effectively put into action by managers. Appraisal structures that are complex or impractical tend to result in confusion, frustration, and nonuse. Likewise, systems that are not specifically relevant to the job may result in wasted time and resources. Indeed, most successful appraisal programs identify and evaluate only the critical behaviors that contribute to job success. Systems that miss those behaviors are often invalid, inaccurate, and result in discrimination based on nonrelated factors (Mwema & Gachunga, 2014).
Performance appraisal system is a critical component of the overall human resource management function in public sector. The use of performance appraisal systems is generally motivated by the desire to influence employee behaviors, attitudes and subsequently performance. The quest for modern methods to motivate employees and thereby improve efficiency in the organisation has for a long time been influenced by persisting fiscal constraints, declining employee productivity and disenchantment with the delivery of public services (Musi, 2015).
Another modern management technique cover in this study is Management By Objective (MBO). Management by objective also known as management by results (MBR) is a process of defining objectives within an organization so that management and employees agree to the objectives and understand what they need to do in the organization in order to achieve them. The term, management by objective was first popularized by Peter Drucker in his 1954 book, the practice of management (Mwema & Gachunga, 2014).
The essence of management by objective (MBO) is participative goal setting, choosing course of actions and decision making. An important part of management by objective (MBO) is the measurement and the comparison of the employee actual performance with the standards set. Ideally when the employees themselves have been involved with the goal setting and choosing the course of action to be followed by them, they are more likely to fulfill their responsibilities (Odiorne, 2015).
Hence, this research seeks to investigate the nexus between modern management techniques and employees performance in the public sector.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The report by Salaries and Remuneration Commission (2014) shows that the current declining employees’ performance levels experienced in the public sector is as a result of lack of commitment to modern management techniques (such as performance appraisal technique and management byobjective), absence of rigor, objectivity and continuity in the administration of the system, non-linkage of the process to an enforceable reward and sanctions mechanism, non-linkage of the system to staff development, and lack of effective monitoring, annual reporting and feedback mechanisms (Mwema & Gachunga, 2014). The end result of this failure has been the inability of the public sector to measure and evaluate the performance of their employees.
Moreover, the process of applying performance appraisal technique and management byobjective (MBO) in the Nigerian public sector is often vague, the areas of performance for which an employee is responsible are often unclear and evaluations and management are often not based on actual performance but on the perceptions and judgment of an employee’s immediate boss. Therefore, an ill-conceived and ill-considered appraisal system could lead to poor performance in the public sector.
Many of the studies (such as Jamil, & Mohammed, 2011; Armstrong, 2012; Gupta, & Upadhyay, 2012; Smriti, 2014) on modern management techniques and employees performance in the public sectorwere done outside Nigeria. These studies particularly focus on the private sectors. Research on modern management techniques and employees’ performance in the public sector are very few. In Nigeria, most of the available studies (such as Ayanyinka, & Emmanuel, 2013; Musi, 2015; Onyije, 2015) aboutmodern management techniques were also theoretical studies whose findings were subjectively based on the researchers’ personal opinions. It is noted that the past studies did not give adequate attention to the impact of modern management techniques on employees’ performance in the public sector, as well as highlighting effective appraisal strategy that can stimulate better organization performance. Hence, the undertaking of this research work will fill in the gap by critically exploring the nexus between modern management techniques and employees performance in the public sector with a special reference tothe Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to examine the impact of modern management techniques on employees’ performance in the public sector. Other specific objectives shall include:
a) to identify the relationship between performance appraisal technique and employee performance in the public sector.
b) to examine the nexus between periodic assessment and employees commitment in the work place.
c) to examine the effect of management by objective on employee performance in the public sector.
d) to examine the relationship between management by results and organizational productivity in the Nigerian public sector.
1.4 Research Questions
The research project will beam a searchlight on the following research questions:
1.What is the relationship between performance appraisal technique and employee performance in the public sector?
2.How does periodic assessment have effect on employees’ commitment in the work place?
3.What is the effect of management by objective on employee performance in the public sector?
4.To what extent does management by results affect organizational productivity in the Nigerian public sector?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The researcher intends to test the following hypotheses;
Ho: There is no significant relationship between performance appraisal technique and employee performance in the public sector.
H1: There is a significant relationship between performance appraisal technique and employee performance in the public sector.
Ho: There is no significant relationship between periodic assessment and employees’ commitment in the work place.
H1: There is a significant relationship between periodic assessment and employees’ commitment in the work place.
Ho: There is no significant relationship between management by objective andemployee performance in the public sector.
H1: There is a significant relationship between management by objective and employee performance in the public sector.